Before July has even ended, scientists from two international climate agencies are projecting that this month will be the planet’s warmest on record by a wide margin. This is due to broad swathes of three continents baking under scorching temperatures and the oceans heating to historic levels.
According to a report released on Thursday last week by the World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the heat in July has already been so intense that it is “virtually certain” this month will exceed records “by a significant margin.”
The last three weeks have been the hottest on record, and perhaps in more than a hundred thousand years.
These data, which reflect the global average air temperature, are typically only off by a few hundredths of a degree. However, the average temperature for the first 23 days of July was 16.95 degrees Celsius (62.51 degrees Fahrenheit), which is significantly higher than the previous record of 16.63 degrees Celsius (61.93 degrees Fahrenheit), which was achieved in July 2019.
Given what we know from centuries’ worth of climate data gleaned from tree rings, coral reefs, and deep sea sediment cores, many scientists, including those at Copernicus, say it is almost certain that these temperatures are the warmest the planet has seen in 120,000 years.
Samantha Burgess, deputy director at Copernicus, declared that they are the warmest temperatures in recorded human history.
All in all, the Northern Hemisphere is in for a scorching summer that may be historically rare. Carlo Buontempo, the director of Copernicus, stated that “the odds are definitely in favor of a record-breaking summer,” although he added that it is too early to make that declaration with certainty.
The impact of the heat on people is severe. People are suffering life-threatening burns after falling into extremely hot ground as temperatures have reached above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) in several parts of the US.
More than 40 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean as wildfires spread around the area, fanned by scorching temperatures. Long-lasting, extreme heat waves are killing people and jeopardizing food security throughout Asia.
According to Burgess, the primary reason of this extreme heat is human-caused climate change. “The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere directly relates to the global air temperature.”
According to a recent study, climate warming was “absolutely overwhelming” responsible for this summer’s heat waves in the US, China, and southern Europe.
Burgess said that because El Nio is still developing, it has not had a significant impact on temperatures. However, she continued, El Nio will play a much larger role next year and is likely to cause temperatures to rise even further.
With a number of worrisome records already broken this summer and then broken again, the news that July will be the warmest month comes as no surprise.
By a “substantial margin,” Copernicus claims that last month was the warmest June on record.
The world then endured its warmest day on record in July. According to Copernicus data, on July 6, the world’s average temperature increased to 17.08 degrees Celsius (62.74 degrees Fahrenheit), breaking the previous record of 16.8 degrees Celsius (62.24 degrees Fahrenheit) set in August 2016.
Since July 3, every day has been hotter than the previous record.
Burgess stated, “We are seven months into 2023 and almost every month this year has been in the top five hottest on record,” adding that if the trends continue through the fall and winter, 2023 is likely to be among the warmest years ever recorded.
There has never been more heat in the ocean. Global ocean surface temperatures “unprecedented levels” for the time of year in the middle of May.
Burgess declared, “What we’re seeing right now, we haven’t seen before.
The new July temperature record was described as “eye-popping” by Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at Brown University who was not involved in the investigation. However, she cautioned that it would soon be surpassed once more.
She added, “If people don’t like what they’re seeing this summer, they will be in for quite a shock at the greater warming levels we’re heading for. It is alarming to realize that this will be viewed as a comparatively cold year, most certainly, in another decade.
The WMO’s Petteri Taalas stated that the intense weather in July shows “the harsh reality of climate change.”
He declared in a statement that “the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever.” “Climate action is not an option; it is a necessity.”