The planet’s temperature has soared again to levels not seen in the modern record-keeping era, marking the fourth straight day of record temperatures.
These alarming new records are likely the highest temperatures in “at least 100,000 years”, one scientist told CNN.
The global average daily temperature climbed to 17.23-degree Celsius on Thursday, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyser, which uses data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction, CNN reported.
It’s been a week of record-breaking temperatures. On Monday, the average global temperature reached 17.01-degree Celsius, the highest in the NCEP’s data, which goes back to 1979. On Tuesday, it climbed to 17.18-degree Celsius, where it remained on Wednesday.
Before this week, the record in NCEP’s data was 16.92-degree Celsius, which was set in August 2016, CNN reported.
Though this week’s records are not yet official, another global climate tracking agency confirmed several in its own data. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said that Monday’s and Tuesday’s global temperatures were also records in its data, which dates back to 1940.
While the records are based on observational data sets that only go back to the mid-20th century, they are “almost certainly” the warmest temperatures the planet has seen over a much longer time period, according to Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center, CNN reported.
Francis estimated that this week’s temperatures are the warmest “probably going back at least 100,000 years,” calling the records “a huge thing”, CNN reported.
Scientists know this because of the many millennia of climate data extracted from proxies like tree rings, ice cores and coral reefs – data that is a cornerstone to their understanding of the climate system and how humans have contributed to rapid global warming since the industrial revolution.