With another week still go to in the month, dozens of climate experts are already predicting that heat waves covering North America, Europe, and the Arctic will make July 2019 the hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880.
“It’s part of a worrisome pattern of streaks of broken records, which we have shown simply would not be occurring in the absence of climate change,” said Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann. “This is just one additional confirmation, along with the spate of unprecedented extreme weather events we’ve seen in recent years, of the fact that the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle. They are staring us in the face.”
“July is the warmest month of the year globally. If this July turns out to be the warmest July (it has a good shot at it), it will be the warmest month we have measured on Earth!” Mann tweeted in mid-July.
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“It’s looking like there’s a strong likelihood that we will end up with the warmest month ever,” agreed University of Alaska Fairbanks climate scientist Brian Brettschneider. “There’s internal fluctuations in the climate system that cause the needle to metaphorically bounce around from year to year, but the trend is unmistakable.”
“Of course, we won’t know until all the tallies are in, but we’re on a good pace right now to beat that record,” said Jack Williams, director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“The climate system right now is like a [baseball] batter on steroids,” he added. “Heat waves of today are going to be the normal events of tomorrow.”
“This summer has been a scorcher for much of the world, with Europe suffering through an intense heat wave in late June that saw the highest temperature ever recorded in France,” NBC notes. “This past weekend, about 169 million people across the United States were under heat alerts as temperatures in cities such as New York City; Little Rock, AR; and Memphis, TN, climbed into the triple digits (Fahrenheit). And this week, another heat wave is expected to hit parts of Western Europe.”
Williams said the impending new temperature record adds to his sense of urgency to sound the alarm on the climate crisis.
“It’s tough being a climate scientist and seeing the trends that we’re heading towards and trying to raise awareness,” he told NBC. “It feels like an uphill battle. At the same time, I feel like this is the defining issue of my generation, and it’s a fight and conversation worth having. It’s important work, so we just keep at it.”