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heat map

The temperature in a Pakistani city may have broken world records for the month of April. (Photo: @EKMeteo/Twitter)

On Sweltering Planet, Hottest April Temperature Ever Recorded on Earth Hits Pakistan

"We need to dramatically increase our ambitions" in terms of combatting global warming, the UN climate chief said this week

Jessica Corbett

While climate scientists worldwide continue to issue urgent warnings that human-caused global warming will make heat waves "hotter, longer, and more frequent," a city in Pakistan on Monday may have set a record for the highest April temperature ever recorded on Earth.

As highlighted by French meteorologist Etienne Kapikian on Twitter, the city of Nawabshah hit 50.2°C (122.36°F) on Monday, which "caused dozens of people to faint" from heatstroke, according to the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn.

Kapikian claimed it is the hottest April temperature ever recorded not only in Pakistan but across Asia. Extreme weather expert and historian Christopher Burt not only backed up that assertion—he told told the Earther that it is likely "the hottest April temperature yet reliably observed on Earth in modern records."

"There was a 51.0°C reading reported from Santa Rosa, Mexico in April 2011," Burt acknowledged, "but this figure is considered of dubious reliability."

This is the second straight month that Nawabshah has broken an extreme heat record. The city hit 45.5°C (113.9°F) in March, Pakistan's highest ever for that month.

And, as Kapikian and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben pointed out, it's also the second year in a row that Pakistan set a record for the month. On April 19, 2017, the temperature in Lakarna soared to 50°C (122°F).

The potential new record temperature even surpasses the highest that was recorded during an "unbelievable" heat wave that struck the region in June of 2015, killing hundreds of people and forcing Pakistani officials to declare a state of emergency for hospitals.

As the Washington Post noted, the "reading in Nawabshah adds to a long list of international hot weather extremes since 2017, which includes Spain's and Iran's highest temperatures ever recorded last summer" and Pakistan breaking the monthly world record when the temperature reached 53.5°C (128.3°F) in Turbat last May.

"The recent eye-popping temperatures in Pakistan fall in line with a growing body of research showing how climate change is making heat waves more common and intense nearly everywhere," which is "particularly dire news for what's already one of the hottest parts of the world," Earther concluded.

A study published last summer by the journal Nature Climate Change found that half the world could experience deadly heat waves by the end of the century. The research, combined with the record-breaking temperatures, boslters calls to ramp up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling global warming.

Speaking at press conference on Monday, UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said, "We are witnessing the severe impacts of climate change throughout the world."

"Every credible scientific source is telling us that these impacts will only get worse if we do not address climate change, and it also tells us that our window of time for addressing it is closing very soon," Espinosa added. "We need to dramatically increase our ambitions."


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