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Extreme Climate Roundup: Global Temperatures Break Records, Endanger Lives

Welcome to the hottest year on Earth. We are living through the highest temperatures ever recorded for the planet. And the impacts of that are being seen across the world this week.

“Earth’s global average temperature of more than 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 Fahrenheit) may well have been the hottest it has gotten in the last 125,000 years,” The Washington Post reported. The article also pointed specifically to 4 July, which this year was the hottest day on Earth since at least 1979.

“No country can solve climate crisis alone,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry In his opening statement during a hearing in front of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability on 13 July. An effective and meaningful solution will instead require multilateral and multinational cooperation. “Countless countries need to step up.”

Here are some of the climate stories happening this week:

United States

Also during his opening statement on 13 July, Kerry said that climate crisis presents the largest threat to the United States.

Beyond everyday impacts on Americans, Kerry also pointed to the threats that extreme weather borne of climate change poses to national security and military operations.

“(Extreme weather events) require our military to increasingly support humanitarian efforts around the world,” Kerry said. These events pull military personnel from other operations that may be of equal importance.

Kerry added that beyond immediate response efforts, such as search and rescue, the U.S. government is financially impacted by natural disasters. “Every single extreme weather event comes with a big bill that we pay…just to clean up the mess.”

“Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense if we were avoiding or minimizing the damage?” Kerry asked later during the hearing.

Flooding. The rain started on Sunday in parts of New York and Vermont, and by the time it stopped on Tuesday, 11 July, area residents saw roughly the equivalent of two months’ worth of rainfall come down. The resulting floods swept away thousands of homes and businesses, washed out roads, and had authorities working to rescue more than 100 people. In Ludlow, Vermont, the flash flood swept away the ground below train tracks and left them hanging more than 100 feet in the air.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned that more flash floods could be on the way for the area this week, with a flood watch in effect for 13 July.

Excessive heat. Heat waves have been rolling over areas of the southern continental United States, including California, Florida, and Texas. While the NWS issued excessive heat advisories, watches, and warnings, things are expected to get worse over the weekend and persist into next week.

Some notable mentions include Phoenix, Arizona, with a chance of setting a new record for the longest number of 110 degree or greater days; Las Vegas, Nevada, possibly setting a new record for a high temperature; and temperatures in Death Valley, California, possibly reaching up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

The extreme heat is also being reflected in the Atlantic Ocean; water temperatures between North America and Europe are running up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) higher than normal.


Wildfires. Wildfires continue to rage in Canada during a historic fire season for the nation. Record-high temperatures are contributing to already hot and dry conditions, resulting in 22.7 million acres of burned territory to date.

The fires have also impacted air quality throughout huge swaths of North America, with a Stanford analysis citing 2023 as the worst year since 2006 for smoke exposure in the United States. And with fire season in Canada still underway, parts of the United States “could be in for a summer of smoke,” according to the Post.

Severe air quality alerts for much of the Eastern United States in June were due to significant smoke from Canadian wildfires drifting across the continent.


Excessive heat. Heat wave Cerberus has taken hold of southern Europe, and it has so far left one person dead in Italy—a construction worker was pronounced dead in a hospital on 11 July after collapsing by the side of the road, according to CNN. Several tourists in Rome were reported to have collapsed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The current heat wave is expected to feature temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), caused by a heat dome.

The heat wave arrived at the same time as a Nature article detailing that heat waves in 2022 killed more than 61,000 people in Europe.


Flooding. Part of India were hit with heavy rains, which caused floods and landslides in the northern regions. At least 22 people have been reported dead as of Monday. Rescue efforts are ongoing.

“The Indian Meteorological Department said New Delhi received 153 millimeters (6 inches) of rain on Sunday, making it the city’s wettest July day since 1982,” CNN reported.

The country is currently in the midst of its monsoon season, and the bad weather is expected to continue into 14 July, according to BBC News.


Excessive heat. Israel’s Meteorological Service issued a severe heat stress warning on 12 July, warning that expected high temperatures could result in dehydration and stroke.


Flooding. Southwestern parts of the nation were battered by significant rain, which, like India, resulted in flooding and landslides on Monday. At least four people from the Fukuoka prefecture were reported dead while several more were listed as missing in other areas.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned residents on the island of Kyushu that heavy rainfall in the area meant they should be alert for more landslides, according to The Guardian.


Wildfires and floods. Southern Russia saw flash floods, which left at least four people dead and at least two more missing. In the nation’s Urals region, another person died in a wildfire.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, a returning El Niño weather pattern is expected to further push the mercury upwards. Back after four years, the infamous climate pattern involves a weakening of trade winds, with warm water in the Pacific Ocean pushed back east toward the west coast of the Americas, according to the U.S. National Ocean Service. This shift in turn has unpredictable effects on weather worldwide as its ripples collide with other weather and factors.