Summer 2024 Will Be Hottest in History

by Ziv Golan ’26

Over the past few years, the effects of climate change have become more of a real-life problem rather than a scary possibility in the far-off future. The scorching heat in recent summers, coupled with unseasonably warm temperatures in winter and fall, has made climate change a much more noticeable reality for people around the globe. Even in Montgomery County, this is true with snow days increasingly disappearing along with summer temperatures stretching into Fall. Every single month since June 2023 has set a record for the hottest of that month in recorded history. This is yet another very concerning statistic showing that our planet is trekking closer and closer to being permanently damaged due to climate change.

This upcoming summer is expected to be no different, with an increasingly grim prediction for the vast majority of the continental United States. Scientists are predicting above-average temperatures for most of the country with the Mid-Atlantic region expected to be one of the most affected in the nation. For this summer scientists are predicting hot, muggy conditions with temperatures set to soar to some of the warmest temperatures in recorded history locally.

High temperatures this summer will also be impacted heavily by the El Niño weather pattern. This is a 9-12 month weather phenomenon in which ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean heat up. El Niño with climate change is a deadly combination that has driven a sharp rise in global temperatures since last summer. The Southwest, Plains, and Northwest regions of the country are expected to be plagued with drought conditions for much of this upcoming summer, heavily impacting agriculture along with outdoor activities in many states. Good news about this summer is few and far between; however, the hurricane season outlook reflects relatively positive. El Niño suppresses the strength of major hurricanes in the Atlantic causing hurricane season to not be as active. Despite this in the short term, hurricane season is expected to worsen overall in the future due to rising ocean temperatures. Furthermore, as sea levels rise, flooding will become more prevalent in major cities like New York and Washington D.C.

Last spring air quality warnings were issued across the Mid-Atlantic region after smoke from wildfires in Canada engulfed the region. This is expected again this spring and summer as many of the same forests are still smoldering due to temperatures remaining high. This is yet another example of how climate change is affecting daily lives with vulnerable people possibly having to stay indoors this summer due to the unsafe air quality. This summer may only be a precursor of what’s to come as climate change will increasingly impact everyday life.