Breakdown: Why heat records keep increasing

Why heat records keep increasing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The National Centers for Environmental Information named this past July the hottest on record, confirming statements from the World Meteorological Association and Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The past five years have been the warmest on record globally, leading to unprecedented heat that is projected to intensify as the climate warms. Here in Memphis, some of the hottest record highs have been recorded in the past decade outnumbering the record lows.

Hottest Years since 1880
Hottest Years since 1880 (Source: Climate Central)

According to Climate Central, the recent warming has been the sharpest in the Arctic. Temperatures this past July in Alaska shattered records by several degrees and hundreds of wildfires burned in Alaska, Siberia and Greenland.

The arctic sea ice extent also reached a new record low for July and Greenland lost 12.5 billion tons of ice in just one day. This polar warmth was followed by a heat wave in Western Europe, which the World Weather Attribution explains that this heat wave would have been “extremely unlikely without climate change”.

2019 Global Temps
2019 Global Temps (Source: Climate Central)

Extreme heat is known as the deadliest form of weather in the United States, but its far from the only issue. Warming temperatures can also increase the frequency and intensity of other extreme weather.

According to Climate Central, this extreme weather could harm health, stress food and water supplies, shifts our seasons and ecosystems, elevate sea levels, damage infrastructure and economies and threaten ways of life.

Memphis Records Set By Decade
Memphis Records Set By Decade (Source: Climate Central)

Climate Central explains curbing these hazards may be the greatest challenge of our time, but mitigating solutions exist from renewable energy to more efficient transportation and agriculture.

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