SAN DIEGO — As summers go, this has been one of the hottest, setting records everywhere. For an example, look no further than Phoenix, AZ, which had 31 days in a row over 110 degrees.
Alex Tardy, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says this summer is not just a one-off.
"July  will probably decrease as one of the warmest global temperatures. 2020 - 2021 were the hottest summers on record in California, 2022, last year was right behind it," Tardy explained.
While it may seem that the Southwest has suffered under a Heat Dome that won't let up, much of the Northern Hemisphere has also suffered this summer.
"What we've really been observing is what's really driving global temperatures is these warm pockets. And these warm pockets in the northern latitudes from Japan to the Gulf of Alaska to the North Atlantic," Tardy said.
The two drivers throwing the oceans off are the excessive loss of ice near the North Pole and the overloading of heat absorption into the sea. And because the oceans are not resetting or cooling down, they cannot pull as much heat from the atmosphere.
Alex Tardy says those warm pockets have been around for years, but now they're expanding. Now add to that a developing El Niño.
"But down at the equator, this is brand new," Tardy said. Over the past couple of months, the El Niño is icing on the cake, adding warmth to the globe even though they are not dependent on each other."
According to Tardy, the building of El Niño is expected to become more intense. "It makes the Jet Stream more consolidated, focused, and energetic. So, at the end of the day, it can bring more wind, rain, snow, and active winter."
These much warmer regions of the oceans affect local weather patterns and the entire planet.
"This is a process in the tropics far from us but where the energy for most of our weather is stored," Tardy explained. "All the warming in the northern latitudes where we live is what's resulting in excessive temperatures. Not just in California but globally."