EU's Copernicus Sentinel mission records land surface temperature of 140F (60C) in Spain as global temperatures soar

Temperatures around the world continue to reach record levels as scientists issue more heat warnings.
Shubhangi Dua
The Land Surface Temperature (LST) in some areas of Extremadura (Spain) exceeded 60°C,
The Land Surface Temperature (LST) in some areas of Extremadura (Spain) exceeded 60°C,

European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-3 imagery

Scientists have predicted a record-breaking event that is bound to turbocharge the sweltering climatic conditions already being experienced around the world. 

Governments have issues warnings in parts of Europe where temperatures are expected to hit well in excess of 104F (40C) in Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey, BBC reported.

EU's Copernicus Sentinel mission records land surface temperature of 140F (60C) in Spain as global temperatures soar
Satellite imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel mission

Italy feels the heat

Scorching weather conditions have led to locals and tourists collapsing from heatstroke in Italy.

A red alert warning was issued across 10 cities, including Rome, Bologna and Florence as temperatures were expected to reach as high as 119.8F (48.8C).

The Guardian has further reported that mild El Niño temperatures are appearing in the Pacific Ocean and will continue to bolster through the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2023-24. 

Heatwaves in Europe last year led to the death of sixty thousand people which may be an underestimation.

It also saw record temperatures hit 107.6F (42C) in traditionally temperate London, which even experienced some wildfires.

Due to this, the United Nations and the science community have issued severe weather warnings and are accelerating research to tackle the crisis as early July recorded the hottest days on Earth since 1850 - when presumably instruments were not as accurate as they are today.

Weak El Niño

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), El Niño refers to a warming of the ocean surface, or above-average sea surface temperatures, in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Climate Prediction Center reports that El Niño was associated with above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Additionally, El Niño /Southern Oscillation (ENSO) report by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said, “nearly all of the weekly Niño indices were at or in excess of +1.0°C: Niño-3.4 was +1.0°C, Niño-3 was +1.5°C, and Niño1+2 was +3.3°C.”

Researchers ascertained that the current Niño which replaced a three-year period of reverse condition – La Niña (when Earth is cooling) will continue likely strengthen this year with an 81 percent probability of it peaking. 

The Guardian says that it could peak with a moderate to strong intensity between November and January.

With NOAA scientists expressing a one-in-five chance of the event becoming “historic”, it is likely to rival the famously powerful and deadly Niño of 1997.

Michelle L’Heureux, a NOAA meteorologist said that it might not challenge past records, but still stands to negatively impact the environment.

“El Niños tends to elevate global mean temperatures, so I would not expect this event to be an exception,” he said. 

US heatwave

Furthermore, the US has declared blistering heat warnings to 100 million people as severe heatwaves have continued across Texas and the south-west since early July.

The impact of heatwaves has been experienced in many parts of the world including China, India, parts of Europe and the Arctic.

Watch The Guardian's explainer video below

Fossil fuels

Scientists have been on alert ever since June's temperatures crossed the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.

The Guardian said that researchers have been monitoring the weather closely because it is compounding the excess heat spurred by human activity, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels.

On Thursday, the NOAA said that the heat is not confined to land but to the ocean as well.

Ocean surface temperatures were at a record high for a third consecutive month in June, with marine heatwaves sweeping the North Atlantic to the UK, as well as endangering the coral reefs off Florida.

Ocean color changes

A study published in Nature on Wednesday detected changes in ocean color over the past two decades that cannot be explained by natural, year-to-year variability alone, MIT news reported.

EU's Copernicus Sentinel mission records land surface temperature of 140F (60C) in Spain as global temperatures soar
To track the changes in ocean color, scientists analyzed measurements of ocean color taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite, which has been monitoring ocean color for 21 years.

Color shifts have affected 56 percent of the world’s oceans — an expanse larger than the total land area on Earth.

Emily Becker, NOAA’s blog writer refers to the scientists’ latest El Niño data and reports that other parts of the globe may see impacts before Northern Hemisphere winters.

She said, “June-August dryness is common for India, the Maritime Continent, eastern Australia, and the Caribbean. Warmth is common in the Caribbean and parts of South America. And then there’s the hurricane seasons in both the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.”

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania also signals towards a major El Niño event to occur which will certainly continue to develop, and will almost certainly contribute to 2023 being the hottest year on record.

“The combination of human-caused warming and this emerging event is already wreaking havoc across the northern hemisphere this summer in the form of record heat, drought, wildfires and floods,” Michael said.

And we still have August to come.

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