The planet has recently experienced its hottest day on record (July 6th), its hottest June on record, marine heatwaves that are classified by NOAA as “beyond extreme,” and Antarctic sea ice has melted an area about 10 times the size of the United Kingdom.
While some El Niño heat is emerging, as expected, the Northern Atlantic is also far hotter than usual, and according to Professor Daniela Schmidt, “We’ve never ever had a marine heatwave in this part of the Atlantic.” And in the Antarctic, Dr. Caroline Holms of the British Antarctic Survey told the BBC the record low sea ice “is nothing like anything we’ve seen before in July. It’s 10% lower than the previous low, which is huge… You can say that we’ve fallen off a cliff, but we don’t know what’s at the bottom of the cliff here.”
Air temperatures are no less worrying, with 80 million Americans under heat warnings and the entire country facing above-average temperatures, some southern cities experiencing Temps over 100F for a full month, Sanbo China setting the record for highest temperature (126°F) north of 40N latitude, and, not to be outshined, Europe’s unrelenting “summer of hell” turning into wildfires and tennis ball-sized hail.
‘We are damned fools’
“We quite possibly are already living in a climate that no human has lived through before and we are certainly living in a climate that no human has lived in since before the birth of agriculture,” according to Rutgers climate scientist Bob Kopp. “It means we are damned fools,” said James Hansen, whose prescient climate warnings in a 1988 US Senate testimony are both coming true and still vigorously denied. And as Russell Vose of NOAA told the AP, “it’s not like we take great joy in saying it was the warmest year on record. Again.” But by reducing the fossil fuel pollution driving climate change, “we still have time to secure a livable future for many,” Dr. Friederike Otto reminded the BBC.
Another record set this weekend? The first three-day weekend where one movie (Barbie) earned over $100 million ($155m, the most for any movie directed by a woman), and another (Oppenheimer) earned over $50 million. (BBC, Guardian, Washington Post, AP, Hollywood Reporter)