Record-Breaking Heat Continues: Thousands in Pakistan Suffer Heatstroke

Global Temperatures Soar for 13th Consecutive Month

According to the European climate service Copernicus, the Earth has been experiencing record-breaking heat for over a year. In June, global temperatures remained at record highs for the 13th month in a row. This persistent heatwave has raised concerns among scientists about climate change and its long-term effects.

The Paris Agreement and the 1.5-Degree Threshold

Scientists warn that the Earth is approaching a crucial temperature limit set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. The global temperature in June was 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial levels. Copernicus senior climate scientist Nicolas Julien emphasized that this increase is happening at a rapid pace. However, Julien and other meteorologists believe that the 1.5-degree threshold won’t be permanently crossed until there are 20 to 30 years of extended heat.

Extreme Climate Events on the Rise

Copernicus Director Carlo Buontempo highlighted that the continuous rise in global temperatures indicates a significant shift in our climate. This shift has led to more frequent and severe climate events, such as floods, storms, droughts, and heatwaves. In June, temperatures hit hard in regions like Southeast Europe, Turkiye, eastern Canada, the western United States, Mexico, Brazil, northern Siberia, the Middle East, northern Africa, and western Antarctica.

Heatwave Impact in Pakistan

In Pakistan, thousands of people suffered from heatstroke as temperatures soared to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius). The extreme heat forced doctors to treat numerous victims, highlighting the severe impact of the ongoing heatwave on vulnerable populations.

Oceans Also Breaking Heat Records

June marked the 15th consecutive month that the world’s oceans, covering more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, have broken heat records. Most of this heat comes from long-term warming due to greenhouse gases emitted by burning coal, oil, and natural gas. These greenhouse gases trap heat, causing the oceans to warm slowly but steadily.

Role of El Nino and Other Factors

The natural cycles of El Nino and La Nina, which involve the warming and cooling of the central Pacific Ocean, also play a role in global temperature changes. The strong El Nino that formed last year ended in June. Additionally, cleaner air over Atlantic shipping channels, due to marine shipping regulations, has reduced traditional air pollution particles that cause a slight cooling effect. This reduction has temporarily increased the rate of warming caused by greenhouse gases.

Predictions for the Future

Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather from the tech company Stripes and the Berkeley Earth climate-monitoring group predicts a 95 percent chance that 2024 will be the warmest year on record since the mid-1800s. However, Julien from Copernicus noted that global daily average temperatures in late June and early July were not as warm as last year, suggesting that the streak of record hot months might end soon.

Urgent Need for Emission Reductions

Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria, warned that the Earth is on track for 3 degrees Celsius of warming if emissions are not urgently reduced. He fears that people might forget about the dangers of climate change once the streak of record hot months ends and winter arrives. University of Wisconsin climate scientist Andrea Dutton echoed these concerns, stating that each temperature record increases the likelihood of climate change bringing crises to people’s doorsteps.

Copernicus Climate Monitoring

Copernicus uses billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft, and weather stations worldwide. These measurements are reanalyzed using computer simulations to monitor climate changes. Other science agencies, such as NOAA and NASA, also provide monthly climate calculations, though they take longer and do not use computer simulations.

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, the need for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions becomes increasingly urgent. The record-breaking heatwaves and extreme climate events serve as stark reminders of the challenges ahead.