Summer 2023 Sets A New Global Temperature Record
As heat waves continue to bake parts of the world, scientists are reporting that summer 2023 sets a new global temperature record – and by a significant margin.
From June to August, the planet experienced its warmest summer since records began in 1940, according to data from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.
This alarming trend has far-reaching consequences, from extreme weather events to rising sea levels, and underscores the urgent need for global action to combat climate change.
The global average temperature during the summer of 2023 stood at 16.77 degrees Celsius (62.19 Fahrenheit), a staggering 0.66 degrees Celsius above the 1990 to 2020 average.
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This surpasses the previous record, set in August 2019, by nearly 0.3 degrees Celsius. Typically, these records are broken by mere hundredths of a degree, highlighting the severity of this summer's heat.
Swaths of the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of the United States, Europe, and Japan, bore the brunt of this scorching summer.
Record-breaking heatwaves and unprecedented ocean temperatures created a grim reality for millions.
August, in particular, emerged as the warmest month on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 by 0.31 degrees Celsius.
Both July and August saw temperatures estimated to be 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels, a key threshold that scientists have long warned against breaching to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
These temporary breaches offer a sobering preview of what the world can expect as temperatures continue to rise.
While much attention has been focused on the Northern Hemisphere, countries in the Southern Hemisphere also experienced unusually warm winters.
Australia, several South American countries, and even Antarctica recorded well-above-average temperatures. This global trend underscores the far-reaching implications of climate change.
Global average ocean temperatures have also reached unprecedented levels, contributing to the strengthening of major hurricanes in the Atlantic and typhoons in the Pacific.
Marine heatwaves off the coast of Florida and the North Atlantic further illustrate the extent of oceanic warming.
Each day from the end of July to the end of August witnessed ocean temperatures exceeding the previous record set in 2016, according to Copernicus.
While it remains uncertain whether 2023 will become the hottest year on record, it is on track to come extremely close.
With four months left in the year, 2023 currently ranks as the second warmest on record, just 0.01 degrees Celsius below the record set in 2016.
The impending arrival of El Niño, a natural climate fluctuation characterized by warmer sea-surface temperatures, may push temperatures even higher in the coming year.
Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, emphasizes that the summer of 2023 has been marked by tumbling temperature records.
She underscores the importance of curbing greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the intensification of extreme weather events and the ongoing climate crisis.
The release of the Copernicus data coincided with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's State of the Climate report for 2022.
The report revealed record ocean heat, rising global sea levels, and unprecedented concentrations of planet-heating pollution in the atmosphere. Carbon pollution levels have reached their highest point in at least 800,000 years.
The World Meteorological Organization reported that Earth has sweltered through its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer ever measured, and this alarming trend is expected to continue.
Governments and global leaders are facing increasing pressure to address climate change with the urgency it demands.
Climatologist Andrew Weaver urges leaders to tell the truth about the consequences of global warming, emphasizing the need to prevent a catastrophic 3.0°C global warming scenario.
The summer of 2023 has set alarming records for global temperatures, pushing our planet into uncharted territory. From scorching heatwaves to rising ocean temperatures, the effects of climate change are evident across the globe.
Urgent and decisive action is needed to mitigate the impacts of climate change, transition to renewable energy sources, and protect the future of our planet. The summer of 2023 serves as a stark reminder that the time to act is now.