As temperatures in cities around the world hit record highs, average temperatures for the entire globe in July were also at record highs.
Global air temperature reached a new high on July 3, surpassing the record set in 2016 and tied in 2022, according to multiple recent analyses, including from the University of Maine and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Since then, global air temperatures have continued to rise, making July 6 the hottest day on Earth since at least 1979 and likely before, experts said.
Although global average temperatures fell during the second week of July, they remained above the highest temperatures ever recorded previously this year. The first two weeks of July were probably the hottest two-week period on record, according to analysis by the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Last month was also the hottest June since at least 1850according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The extreme heat and higher temperatures are being driven by continued emissions of heat-trapping gases, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, and partly by the return of El Niño, a cyclical weather pattern associated with warmer years around the world.
The Earth has warmed about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century and will continue to grow warmer until people basically stop burning oil, gas and coal, and stop deforestation, scientists say. The warmer temperatures help make extreme heat spells more frequent and severe and contribute to other extreme events such as persistent drought, wildfires and heavy rains and floods.
Because these numbers represent global averages, parts of the world felt the exceptional heatwaves more strongly.
A warmer-than-usual winter across parts of Antarctica has contributed to rising global temperatures, experts at the University of Maine have noted. And many parts of the world sweltered in the summer heat, too.
In the United States, the heat is particularly brutal in the South and Southwest. On Tuesday, the highest temperature recorded in the United States was 122 degrees Fahrenheit at Death Valley in California, according to the National Weather Service. Phoenix, for the first time since 1974, hit 19 days in a row when the temperature reached 110 degrees or more.
Elsewhere, central and southern Italy and parts of Spain moved into temperatures well into the triple digits. At the Persian Gulf International Airport on Iran’s southwest coast, the heat index, which measures how hot it feels by taking temperature and humidity into account, reached a life-threatening 152 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend, according to weather data.