As cities around the world have been experiencing record temperatures, average temperatures for the entire globe in July have been at their highest on record, too.
Global air temperatures 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 climbing, making July 6 the hottest day Earth has experienced since at least 1979 and very likely before that, experts said.
Though global average temperatures dipped during the second week of July, they have remained above the highest temperatures ever recorded before this year. The first two weeks of July were very likely the warmest two-week period on record, according to the analysis by the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Last month was also the warmest June since at least 1850, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The extreme heat and record temperatures are driven by the continued emissions of heat-trapping gases, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, and in part by the return of El Niño, a cyclical weather pattern that tends to be associated with warmer years globally.
Earth has warmed roughly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century and will continue to grow hotter until humans essentially stop burning oil, gas and coal, and halt deforestation, scientists say. The warmer temperatures help make periods of extreme heat more frequent and more intense and exacerbate other extreme weather events like persistent drought, wildfires and torrential rain and flooding.
Because these numbers represent worldwide averages, parts of the globe felt the exceptional bouts of heat more forcefully.
A warmer-than-usual winter across parts of Antarctica contributed to the elevated global temperatures, experts at the University of Maine noted. And many parts of the world sweltered in summer heat, too.
In the United States, the heat has been particularly brutal in the South and Southwest. On Tuesday, the highest recorded temperature 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 consecutive days in which temperatures reached 110 degrees or more.
Elsewhere, central and southern Italy and parts of Spain sweltered under temperatures that spiked well into the triple digits. At Persian Gulf International Airport on Iran’s southwestern coast, the heat index, which measures how hot it feels by taking into account temperature and humidity, reached a life-threatening 152 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend, according to weather data.