Story on BBC website by
Almost 400 all-time high temperatures were set in the northern hemisphere over the summer, according to an analysis of temperature records. The records were broken in 29 countries for the period from 1 May to 30 August 2019.
A third of the all-time high temperatures were in Germany, followed by France and the Netherlands.
People cooling off during the heatwave in France
The analysis was carried out by the California-based climate institute Berkeley Earth.
Over the summer, there were 1,200 instances of places in the northern hemisphere being the hottest they’d ever been in a given month. The data included measurements from weather stations in the northern hemisphere that had at least 40 years of observations. Some of this data has not yet been subjected to formal review by weather agencies. These reviews, to check for problems that might have produced false readings, sometimes cause a small fraction of the records to be discounted.
Heatwaves in Europe in June and July sent temperatures soaring, smashing a number of local and national records.
France set an all-time high-temperature of 46C, while the UK, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands also reported new highs.
This summer was notable for the very large number of all-time temperature records set in Europe, according to Dr Robert Rohde, Lead Scientist at Berkeley Earth.
“Some places in Europe have histories of weather observations going back more than 150 years, and yet still saw new all-time record highs,” he told the BBC.
The extent of the hot spells on the continent is clearly visible when looking at a breakdown of when the most temperature records were broken. In late July, all-time temperature records were set in a number of European countries including the UK.
Elsewhere, more than 30 all-time records were broken in the US, according to the Berkeley Earth data. In Japan, where 11 people who died as a result of the summer heatwave, 10 all-time temperature record highs were set.
The summer saw 396 all-time high temperatures in total.
Most all-time temperature records in measuring stations covered by the data were broken in 2010, followed by 2003.
The increasing number of record high temperatures are a part of the long-term trend of global warming, said Dr Rohde.
“As the Earth warms, it has become easier for weather stations to set new all-time records. In the past, we would usually only see about 2% of weather stations recording a new record high in any given year,” he explained.
“But, recently, we sometimes see years, like 2019, with 5% or more of the weather stations recording a new all-time record high.”
Further data and charts can be found on the BBC website cited at the beginning of this article.
This chart of global weather hot spots from Jan-June 2019 was produced by Climate Central:
Europe was not the only place to experience extremely hot weather during the year. The following came from Vietnam:
And another bar chart from NASA showing increasing temperatures over the last century:
And yet more broken records in 2020
Reports are coming in of more heat waves in 2020 – and high records being broken too.
Death Valley, USA 17th August 2020
Temperatures in America’s Death Valley reached 54.4C – possibly highest ever reliably recorded temperature. If verified, it will be the hottest temperature officially verified since July 1913, also at Death Valley.
The extreme temperature was noted by the United States National Weather Service’s automated weather station at Furnace Creek
Temperatures in California’s Death Valley reached 54.4C (130F) on Sunday, possibly the highest ever reliably recorded on the planet.
The extreme temperature was noted by the United States National Weather Service’s automated weather station at Furnace Creek, near the border with Nevada, at 3.41pm.
“This observed high temperature is considered preliminary and not yet official,” a statement from NWS Las Vegas said.
“If verified, this will be the hottest temperature officially verified since July of 1913, also at Death Valley.”
Greenland Ranch hit 56.7C (134F) on 10 July 1913, but some experts question the accuracy of old temperature reports.
The 1913 reading became the planet’s hottest in 2013 after a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) investigation dismissed a 58C (136.4F) temperature thought to have been recorded in Libya in September 1922.
A committee reported the Libya reading was likely incorrect due to human-error, as well as the type of thermometer used. This, along with inconsistencies with other temperatures in the region, meant the temperature was removed.
The only other WMO-verified temperature higher than those taken at Death Valley are from July 1931 in Tunisia, where a reading of 55C (131F) was recorded. This too has been challenged over its accuracy.
Sunday’s reading will now be investigated by the National Center for Environmental Information and the WMO.
If verified, it would be the hottest August day ever recorded in the US, and the third highest temperature ever recorded, after the 1913 and 1931 readings.
But some extreme weather watchers believe it could end up being verified as the hottest ever reliably recorded on the planet if the historical figures are questioned.
Bob Henson, a meteorologist, said: “It’s quite possible the Death Valley high set a new global heat record.
“The extreme nature of the surrounding weather pattern makes such a reading plausible, so the case deserves a solid review.
“There are nagging questions about the validity of even hotter reports from Death Valley in 1913 and Tunisia in 1931.
“What we can say with high confidence is that, if confirmed, this is the highest temperature observed on Earth in almost a century.”
From Richard Bruce, Future First:
NASA satellite images of fires in eastern Siberia depict an inferno of monstrous proportions, nothing in modern history compares. And, as of July, it’s intensifying. Should people be concerned? Answer: Yes, and double yes.
According to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts: “What has been surprising is the rapid increase in the scale and intensity of the fires through July, largely driven by a large cluster of active fires in the northern Sakha Republic.” (Source: Kasha Patel, NASA/NOAA Satellites Observe Surprisingly Rapid Increase in Scale and Intensity of Fires in Siberia, SciTechDaily, August 9, 2020)
The problem: “Abnormally warm temperatures have spawned an intense fire season in the eastern Siberian this summer,” Ibid.
Is this global warming on steroids?
For further color on “the problem”: As of June 23rd, a SciTechDaily headline read: “Meteorologists Shocked as Heat and Fire Scorches Siberia.” At last count, meteorologists are hard-core scientists with vast exposure to disaster scenarios, not easily “shocked.”
As it happens, the very region of the planet that’s famous for the coldest temps of all time is now recording Miami-type summer temps like 100°F. Due to this unheard-of, unprecedented state of affairs, should this real-time, happening now, catastrophic scenario be included in U.S. presidential NSA briefings? No, the president doesn’t read. Then, should NSA verbalize the catastrophe to the president? Y0u’ve gotta be kidding and risk being fired!
All of above is a powerful unconditional signal, especially for the Paris ’15 commitment group, excluding the USA, that global warming is rampaging, running amuck. Maybe the Paris ’15 assemble needs to reassemble for an emergency ad hoc meeting to take a tally of how well individual nation/states are handling their voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the planet’s scorecard is looking like a big fat F.
And while at it, maybe check in with Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service and NASA on recent CO2 and CH4 spewing into the atmosphere. Brace yourself. We now have direct evidence of how important it is to cut fossil fuel emissions to zero, as soon as yesterday.
Here’s more about this mind-blowing threat to the well-being of the world:
(1) Arctic fires in Russia in June and July alone released “more CO2 than any complete fire season” since records have been kept and more CO2 than all of Scandinavia, happening in only two months time. That’s beyond shocking, and it represents country-wide-scale CO2 emissions emitted by nature itself now competing head-on with every aspect of Paris ’15.
(2) The fires are double trouble as one half of the fires are on peatlands, which, once started, can burn almost forever if the heat is intense enough (which it is) emitting both CO2 and CH4 in unheralded competition with the dictates of Paris ’15.
“Peat fires can burn longer than forest fires and release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.” (Source: Kasha Patel, NASA/NOAA Satellites Observe Surprisingly Rapid Increase in Scale and Intensity of Fires in Siberia, SciTechDaily, August 9, 2020)
“The destruction of peat by fire is troubling for so many reasons,’ said Dorothy Peteet of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. ‘As the fires burn off the top layers of peat, the permafrost depth may deepen, further oxidizing the underlying peat,” Ibid.
Oh by the way, only recently it was reported that the amount of carbon stored in northern peatlands is double previous estimates. (Source: Jonathan Nichols, et al, Holocene Ecohydrological Variability on the East Coast of Kamchtka, Frontiers in Earth Science, May 15, 2019)
It goes without saying that raging firestorms in a heat-induced global warming environment that releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than several countries combined darkens the epithet “Black Swan” almost beyond recognition.
But, is it really a Black Swan? Well, no, it is not a Black Swan because human-generated (anthropogenic) carbon emissions, like exhaust from fossil-fueled SUV engines, have been on a tear, especially since the turn of the new century (doubling on a per annum basis) blanketing the atmosphere (holding in heat), thus causing extraordinary readings of heat in the upper latitudes. So, yes, more fires were expected, no Black Swan.
But, the intensity of the fires hands down, no doubt about it, easily meets that criterion. Therefore, yes, it is a Black Swan, as the intensity is so overwhelmingly powerful that nobody could have possibly expected it to happen this way, and therein lies the risk to the “great hope” of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to minimize global temperatures to 2°C above baseline, or all hell breaks loose.
Get serious! It’s already breaking loose!