Person in the heat
Person in the heat Via Pexels

SEATTLE - If you though that 2023 was warm, temperatures all across the planet are expected to go beyond that and make 2024 the warmest year on record. This past month of June, global average temperatures were 0.67°C (1.2°F) above the 1991-2020 average, exceeding last year's June reading by 0.14°C (0.25°F) and making it the warmest month on record worldwide.

The global average temperature for the last 12 months has been the highest on record and, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, June was an indication that the heat streak could go even longer, making 2024 even warmer than last year's record temperatures. June was the 13th month in a row to rank as the warmest respective month in Copernicus' database which dates back to 1940. Global ocean temperatures also hit a record high in June, extending its own streak to 15 straight months.

Recent reports have shown that current climate actions are taking place too slowly with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chair Hoesung Lee saying last year that "we are walking when we should be sprinting."

Signed by almost 200 country members in 2015, the Paris Agreement was an initiative that started with the goal to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, according to the United Nation's 2023 Emissions Gap Report, the globe is headed for nearly 3°C (5.4°F) of warming compared with preindustrial levels through 2100, despite multiple efforts to reduce planet-warming emissions.

If last year wasn't an eye-opening moment for people to start pushing for stricter rules revolving climate change, 2024 is set to be even worse. Last year, for the first time in instrument records, some daily global average temperatures went well above the other threshold of the Paris Agreement of 2°C, making 2023 the hottest seen in at least 125,000 years.

So far, the first week of July has continued that trend with roughly 130 million Americans dealing with a long-running heat wave that has already set records across the Southwest. Jacob Asherman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said that oppressive heat and humidity could spike temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the Pacific Northwest, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

As always, the National Weather Service recommends people to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned areas, stay out of the sun and to check up on relatives and neighbors as heat remains as the number one weather killer in the United States, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. Each year, approximately 1,300 people in the U.S. die from exposure to extreme heat and that figure is just expected to increase thanks to the accelerating effects of climate change.

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