This July has been the hottest in our recorded history and, most likely, over the last 120,000 years. Four “Heat Domes” across the northern hemisphere—over West Asia, North America, North Africa and Southern Europe—contributed to soaring temperatures, not just breaking but shattering records by several degrees. High up in the Andes, winter has turned to a blazing summer. The sun has been blotted out by Canada’s enormous fires.
Together with deadly heat came unprecedented rains and flooding, most notably in Delhi and Beijing. It’s not just the carbon cycle but the water cycle that’s been supercharged by fossil-fueled modernity. We should never have called it Earth; ours is an oceanic planet, and most of the extra heat is being absorbed by oceans now hotter than ever before. Their warmed currents have meant that a Mexico-sized chunk of Antarctica failed to refreeze this year.