July 4th was Earth’s Hottest Day on Record

July 5, 2023

With an average global temperature of 62.92 degrees Fahrenheit (17.18 degrees Celsius), July 4th was the hottest day since records were first collected 44 years ago.  

It took just 24 hours to break the previous hottest-day record on July 3. 

Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, called the milestone, “Totally unprecedented and terrifying.”

Meanwhile, climate scientists warn that this record is not expected to hold for long. Citing a combination of climate change and El Niño—a weakening of trade winds that causes northern U.S. and Canada to be dryer and warmer than usual—July 4th’s record is expected to be the first of many in the coming months.

Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, posted on Twitter that Earth “may well see a few even warmer days over the next 6 weeks.”

The United States has already experienced the consequences of the rising temperatures just this year.

In Texas and the South, a heat wave in late June sent Fahrenheit temperatures into the triple digits, with the heat index making it feel hotter than 110 degrees in some of the region’s most populous cities. 

Emergency room visits surged in Texas during the heat event, and at least nine people died amid the sweltering temperatures.

Friederike Otto, senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment in the United Kingdom, told CNN the record heat should be a wake-up call. 

“It just shows we have to stop burning fossil fuels, not in decades, now. This day is just a number, but for many people and ecosystems it’s a loss of life and livelihood,” he said.

Heat is the deadliest natural disaster known to humans, killing more people on average every year than other extreme weather events, including flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning.

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