Reconstructions of summer temperatures across western North America spanning the past 500 years suggest that concurrent heat and drought conditions, known as “hot drought,” have been unprecedented in frequency and severity over the past century. The findings are derived from tree-ring chronologies that show how changing temperatures relate to changes in soil moisture. They add to growing evidence that human-influenced warming has exacerbated climate extremes across the region.
Third graders at Public School 103 in the north Bronx sat on a rug last month while their teacher, Kristy Neumeister, led a book discussion.
The book, “Rain School,” is about children who live in a rural region of Chad, a country in central Africa. Every year, their school must be rebuilt because storms wash it away.
“And what’s causing all these rains and storms and floods?” asked Ms. Neumeister.
“Carbon,” said Aiden, a serious-looking 8-year-old.
From a climate perspective, 2024 is beginning in uncharted territory. Temperatures last year broke records not by small intervals but by big leaps; 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded, and each month in the second half of the year was the hottest—the hottest June, the hottest July, all the way through to December. July was in fact the hottest month in recorded history.