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World Set for Hottest Month Ever as Climate Change Sears Planet

World Set for Hottest Month Ever as Climate Change Sears Planet
FURNACE CREEK, CALIFORNIA - JULY 15: A car passes a sign warning of extreme heat danger on the eve of a day that could set a new world heat record in Death Valley National Park on July 15, 2023 near Furnace Creek, California. Weather forecasts for tomorrow call for a high temperature of 129º Fahrenheit and possibly as high as 131. Previously, the highest temperature reliably recorded on Earth was 129.2F (54C) in Death Valley in 2013. A century earlier a high temperature in Death Valley reportedly reached 134F but many modern weather experts have rejected that claim along with other high summer temperatures reported in the region that year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

July is set to become the world’s hottest month on record, as fossil fuel emissions drive climate change and the increasing intensity of heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere.

The first 21 days of the month were the hottest three-week period on record, with July 6 seeing the highest ever global average temperature, according to the European Union’s Earth observation agency Copernicus.

Following the hottest ever June, that puts 2023 on course to be the warmest year. Heat waves have baked North America, Asia and Europe this summer, with a record temperature for China recorded last week and California’s Death Valley approaching the global high of 56.7C set 110 years ago. That’s threatening the health of millions, while triggering thousands of wildfires from Greece to Canada.

“Humanity is in the hot seat,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday. “Climate change is here, it is terrifying, and it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended, the era of global boiling has arrived.”

World's Hottest Ever Month | Copernicus says July is on track to be the hottest ever after earth's average temperature topped 17C for the first time

Copernicus, which tracks data going back to 1940, said Thursday that average global sea temperatures well above normal have contributed to rising heat since May. The average global mean surface air temperature went above 17C for the first time this month.

“Climate-wise, the last few weeks have been rather remarkable,” Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change, Service told reporters on Thursday. “If we look at the top 21 hottest days, in terms of the global mean temperature, they have all occurred this month.”

Greece Fights Wildfires as Wind Raises Risk Across Mediterranean

The extreme weather has also included flooding from Delhi to New York and violent storms with hailstones larger than tennis balls in northern Italy. It’s also contributing to turmoil in global food markets after India banned key rice exports amid drought fears.

“The extreme weather which has affected many millions of people in July is unfortunately the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future,” said Petteri Taalas, the World Meteorological Organization’s secretary general. “The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. Climate action is not a luxury but a must.”

World Sees Hottest June on Record as Oceans Heat Up

The development of the first El Niño weather pattern in almost four years is expected to intensify the climate crisis into 2024. The warmest year on record is 2016, when there was a strong El Niño event.

“Typically we see increases in global temperatures which peak in the year following the El Niño event,” said Christopher Hewitt, director of WMO climate services. “So in this case we would expect to see a peak in temperatures in 2024.”

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