- CLIMATE CHANGE
EU Climate Observatory: July Hottest Month Ever
14:03 JST, August 18, 2023
PARIS (AFP-Jiji) — July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, the European Union’s climate observatory confirmed Aug. 8, warning of dire consequences.
Marked by heat waves and fires all around the world, the previous month was 0.33 C higher than the record set in July 2019 when the average temperature was 16.63 C, it said.
“It has not been this warm, combining observational records and paleoclimate records, for the last 120,000 years,” said Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
“The global average temperature for July 2023 is confirmed to be the highest on record for any month — the month is estimated to have been around 1.5 C warmer than the average for 1850 to 1900,” said Burgess.
The service stated that this July was 0.72 C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for the month.
About 1.2 C of global warming since the late 1800s, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, has made heat waves hotter, longer and more frequent, as well as intensifying other weather extremes like storms and floods.
“Heat waves were experienced in multiple regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including southern Europe. Well-above average temperatures occurred over several South American countries and around much of Antarctica,” according to the observatory.
“The global mean for 2023 is the third highest on record, at 0.43 C relative to 1991-2020, compared with 0.49 C for 2016 and 0.48 C for 2020. The gap between 2023 and 2016 is expected to narrow in the coming months, as the latter months of 2016 were relatively cool … while the remainder of 2023 is expected to be relatively warm as the current El Nino event develops.”
Scientists had warned that July could hit a new record.
The world’s oceans also set a new temperature record, raising concerns about knock-on effects on the planet’s climate, marine life and coastal communities.
The temperature of the oceans’ surface rose to 20.96 C on July 30, according to European Union climate observatory data.
The previous record was 20.95 C in March 2016, a spokeswoman for Copernicus Climate Change Service earlier told AFP.
The samples tested excluded polar regions.
“We just witnessed global air temperatures and global ocean surface temperatures set new all-time records in July. These records have dire consequences for both people and the planet exposed to ever more frequent and intense extreme events,” said Burgess.
“2023 is currently the third warmest year to date at 0.43 C above the recent average, with the average global temperature in July at 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.
“Even if this is only temporary, it shows the urgency for ambitious efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, which are the main driver behind these records,” she said.
Forest fires have ravaged swathes of Greece and burnt 12 million hectares in Canada, while southern Europe, parts of North Africa, the southern United States and pockets of China have been reeling under a punishing heat wave.
Deadly rains that pummeled China’s capital Beijing in recent days were the heaviest since records began 140 years ago.
Carlo Buontempo, Director of Copernicus, had earlier said the temperatures in the period had been “remarkable.”
Beyond these official records, he said proxy data for the climate going back further — like tree rings or ice cores — suggests the temperatures seen in the period could be “unprecedented in our history in the last few thousand years.”
Possibly even longer “on the order of 100,000 years” he said.
“This extreme heat shouldn’t come as a surprise,” said Chris Hewitt, World Meteorological Organization Director of Climate Services.
“[It] really is consistent with what scientists have been predicting for years,” said Hewitt, saying the coming year would unlikely bring any respite.
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