On Monday, meteorologists documented the hottest day in recorded history, according to US National Centers for Environmental Prediction (via ). July 3rd, 2023 saw average global temperatures edge past 17-degrees Celsius (62.62 Fahrenheit) for the first time since satellite monitoring of global temperatures began in 1979. Scientists believe Monday is also the hottest day on record since humans began using instruments to measure daily temperatures in the late 19th century. The previous record was set in August 2016 when the world’s average temperature climbed to 16.92C (62.45 Fahrenheit).

This week, the southern US is sweltering under a heat dome that has sent local temperatures (43C). Even places that normally aren’t known for their warm weather have been unseasonably hot in recent days and weeks, with the Vernadsky Research Base in Antarctica recording a July high of 8.7C.

Scientists attribute the recent heat to a combination of El Niño and ongoing human-driven emissions of greenhouse gases. have shown that climate change is contributing to heat waves that are more frequent, last longer and hotter than ever. “The average global surface air temperature reaching 17C for the first time since we have reliable records available is a significant symbolic milestone in our warming world,” climate researcher Leon Simons told . “Now that the warmer phase of El Niño is starting we can expect a lot more daily, monthly and annual records breaking in the next 1.5 years.”

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