July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth
2019 could prove to be the second-hottest year on record.
- A new report from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Programme describes how 2019 has already logged several record-hot months.
- Alarmingly, these temperature increases are occurring even though the planet is transitioning into a more neutral El Niño phase.
- This year brought several severe heat waves to Europe, India, and Pakistan, among other areas.
July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, with temperatures narrowly exceeding the previous record of July 2016, according to meteorologists with the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Programme. Alarmingly, 2019 has already logged several record-hot months – April, May, June – and is expected to be the second-hottest year ever, behind 2016.
"With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future," said Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus program.
What's more, 2019 is bringing these scorching temperatures even though the planet is transitioning into a more neutral El Niño phase – a natural climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean that raises temperatures and precipitation levels. People across the globe have suffered from this year's heat, especially during the record-setting heat waves that broiled Europe, India, and Pakistan this summer.
In 2016, Earth's hottest year on record, global temperatures were about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If global temperatures rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the planet will likely see more extreme and destructive weather events and food shortages that would affect millions of people, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Copernicus Climate Change Programme
The Paris Agreement set an international goal of "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C." The difference between a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would be significant: longer heatwaves, increased precipitation, problems with food production, and sea level rise. It would also hit certain parts of the planet much harder than others, particularly coastal cities.
Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said this July has "rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at the local, national and global level."
"This is not science fiction," Taalas said. "It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now, and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action. Time is running out to rein in dangerous temperature increases with multiple impacts on our planet."
Arctic amplification: How the albedo effect speeds up global warming
The pandemic reminds us that our higher education system, with all its flaws, remains a key part of our strategic reserve.
- America's higher education system is under great scrutiny as it adapts to a remote-learning world. These criticisms will only make higher ed more innovative.
- While there are flaws in the system and great challenges ahead, higher education has adapted quickly to allow students to continue learning. John Katzman, CEO of online learning organization Noodle Partners, believes this is cause for optimism not negativity.
- Universities are pillars of scientific research on the COVID-19 frontlines, they bring facts in times of uncertainty and fake news, and, in a bad economy, education is a personal floatation device.
Researchers present what they’ve learned now that they can read the tiny text inside the Antikythera mechanism.
Though it it seemed to be just a corroded lump of some sort when it was found in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece near Antikythera in 1900, in 1902 archaeologist Valerios Stais, looking at the gear embedded in it, guessed that what we now call the “Antikythera mechanism" was some kind of astronomy-based clock. He was in the minority—most agreed that something so sophisticated must have entered the wreck long after its other 2,000-year-old artifacts. Nothing like it was believed to have existed until 1,500 years later.
The institutional barriers that have often held creative teaching back are being knocked down by the coronavirus era.
- Long-held structures in the education system, like classroom confines and schedules, have held back innovation for a long time, says education leader Richard Culatta.
- In the coronavirus era, we have been able to shake some of those rigid structures loose, making way for creativity and, ultimately, a more open mindset.
- When creativity and technology combine, learning can become so much more than delivering content to a student. Culatta gives two stunning examples: one of a biotech class, and another involving a student discovering a star.
We'd like to think that judging people's worth based on the shape of their head is a practice that's behind us.
'Phrenology' has an old-fashioned ring to it. It sounds like it belongs in a history book, filed somewhere between bloodletting and velocipedes.
Maybe you've been wondering if you're seeing one persistent squirrel or a rotating cast of characters.