Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Map of temperature anomalies across parts of Africa, Europe and Asia on July 6, 2018. Credit: Climate Reanalyzer.

The Sahara Desert community of Ouargla, Algeria likely set a new record on Thursday for the hottest temperature in Africa: 124 degrees Fahrenheit (51 degrees Celsius).

Why it matters: Africa is already Earth's hottest continent, and as a series of heat waves shatter longstanding records around the world this summer, it's a reminder that one of the clearest effects of global climate change is more heat extremes.

Between the lines: The record is not yet official, since experts from the World Meteorological Organization need to examine the thermometer that registered the record to make sure it was functioning properly. Also, the sensor needs to be situated away from pavement or other influences that would have artificially elevated the temperature.

However, there is supporting evidence suggesting that record high temperatures were set in Algeria on Thursday. The area was under the influence of a sprawling area of high pressure, or a heat dome, that forced the air to sink and warm as it did so. Temperatures were about 25 degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year.

The big picture: The Africa heat record only adds to the record heat seen around the Northern Hemisphere during the past two weeks, with a deadly heat wave in Quebec and much of the U.S., record warmth in Siberia as well as other parts of the globe. Intense, long-lasting heat waves are one of the most robust signs of global warming, according to numerous scientific studies.

Reality check: As the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog notes, there have been hotter temperatures recorded in Africa before, but they have turned out to be unreliable readings. Currently, a temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit, or 55 degrees Celsius, observed in Tunisia, on July 7, 1931 is Africa's official high temperature record. But that observation has come under criticism by meteorologists.

French meteorologist Etienne Kapikian, as well as the Weather Underground's records experts, consider the most reliable previous Africa high temperature record to be 50.3 degrees Celsius, or 122.5 degrees Fahrenheit, set in Morocco in 1961.

However, in order for Thursday's high temperature to be certified as official, the previous record in Tunisia would need to be declared invalid, and the new one would have to be deemed accurate.

Go deeper: By the numbers: The heat records broken across the world this week

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.