The Earth's hottest days on record

Written by
June 12, 2024
4 min read

As of last week heat records were broken across the planet we explore:

  • What were the previous records broken?
  • What was the cause?
  • Can we stop it? 

Last Thursday it was declared that the past 3 days were the hottest seen in history. From the top of North America to the bottom of the Antarctic temperatures soared. On July 4th the global average temperature reached 17.18°C which may not seem high initially but if you consider the countries which are usually in a permanent state of freezing it is astounding.

People were forced to shield themselves by any means necessary from the vicious sun seen last week. 

What were the previous record temperatures?

This temperature broke the previous record of 17.01°C and exceeded the average temperature on Earth of 13.9°C by almost 4°. 

This year has already been one of the hottest in history with deadly heat waves hitting China, India and Mexico, killing an estimated 112 people in Mexico alone. However, last week the average temperature of the earth reached an all-time high, meaning that every country's temperatures were above the average.

As this was an average it affected some countries more viciously than others for example in the Southern States and the north of Mexico the heat index reached triple digits. Even in Antarctica, sea ice levels plummeted at a record rate. 

What was the cause of this sharp jump in temperatures? 

As you may have guessed, human carbon activity. 

Whilst the earth's warming is a natural occurrence the dramatic rate at which the temperatures have risen since the industrial revolution has been a man-made phenomenon. Temperatures have risen by 1.1°C since the revolution and if it reaches 2°C the effects will be irreversible and the earth inhabitable as we know it.

When greenhouse gasses are released, through the burning of fossil fuels, they remain in the atmosphere and trap heat within the earth's surface. Normally the heat would enter the earth and would exit through the atmosphere by the layering of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane has prevented this process from occurring. Which has led to the increase in temperature and the dramatic changes in the climate we have been seeing more and more frequently. 

What can we do to prevent it?

But the solution to this problem is rather simple. There is a clear cause and effect which means effective changes can be made if we act fast. There needs to be a reduction in the release of greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide in particular and capture of the CO2 which is already present and that which is still to be released. 

By switching to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydropower the amount of greenhouse gasses would inevitably decrease. It is unobtainable to cut using fossil fuels completely so more carbon offsetting and carbon capture needs to be taking place globally to combat the climate crisis.

If we do not make these changes fast we can expect to see more and more heat records broken with them reaching increasingly dangerous levels.

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Written by
June 12, 2024
4 min read