For the Third Time This Week, Earth Sets an Unofficial Heat Record

Lucas Harrington, age 7, cools off in a mister at Kauffman Stadium as temperatures approach 100 degrees fahrenheit before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Guardians, Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in Kansas City, (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Earth’s average temperature set a new unofficial record high on Thursday, the third such milestone in a week that already rated as the hottest on record.

The planetary average hit 63 degrees Fahrenheit, 17.23 degrees Celsius, surpassing the 62.9 and 17.18-degree marks set Tuesday and equaled Wednesday, according to data from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, a tool that uses satellite data and computer simulations to measure the world’s condition.

Children wearing sun hats and carrying an umbrella pose for a souvenir photo near the Forbidden City on a sweltering day in Beijing, Friday, July 7, 2023.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

That average includes places that are sweltering under dangerous heat — like Jingxing, China, which checked in almost 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) — and the merely unusually warm, like Antarctica, where temperatures across much of the continent were as much as 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius) above normal this week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday issued a note of caution about the Maine tool’s findings, saying it could not confirm data that results in part from computer modeling.

Tubers float the cool Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas, Thursday, June 29, 2023. The unofficial heat records come after months of unusually hot conditions due to climate change and a strong El Nino event. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
People enjoy high tide waves on the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, India, Thursday, July 6, 2023.(AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

“Although NOAA cannot validate the methodology or conclusion of the University of Maine analysis, we recognize that we are in a warm period due to climate change,” NOAA said.

Still, the Maine data has been widely regarded as another troubling sign of climate change around the globe. Some climate scientists said this week they weren’t surprised to see the unofficial records.

Robert Watson, a scientist and former chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said governments and the private sector “are not truly committed to address climate change.” Nor are citizens, he said.

“They demand cheap energy, cheap food and do not want to pay the true cost of food and energy,” Watson said.

The San Antonio Fire spreads uphill west of Petaluma, Ca., Friday, June 30, 2023.(Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)


Seth Borenstein reported from Washington, and Isabella O’Malley from Philadelphia.