July 2023 was the hottest month on record, with severe heatwaves and wildfires observed in the Northern Hemisphere, the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service said Aug. 8.
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Global average surface air temperatures for July 2023 are estimated to have been around 1.5 C warmer than the average for years 1850-1900, according to the EU's climate monitor.
This comes a few months before the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, where global leaders are under pressure to accelerate climate action.
"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 preindustrial levels," said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. "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."
Heatwaves like those in Southern Europe were prevalent in July, and several South American countries and much of Antarctica also experienced well-above average temperatures.
Gas and power demand spiked in patches amid scorching temperatures in countries like Italy, Spain and Greece in mid-July.
July was 0.72 C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for July and 0.33 C warmer than the previous warmest month, July 2019, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said in a statement, referring to surface air temperatures.
Global average sea surface temperatures also reached record high levels in July, averaging 0.51 C above the 1991-2020 average.
"The North Atlantic was 1.05 C above average in July, as temperatures in the northeastern part of the basin remained above average, and unusually high temperatures developed in the northwestern Atlantic," it said.
This data is based on computer-generated analyses using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world, the EU's climate observatory said.
The intensity and numbers of wildfires have also been unprecedented this year with Canada, Russia, China all experiencing severe ones.
From Australia to Canada, wildfires have become a regular occurrence, posing major risks to farmlands, grasslands and rangelands, and spreading toward cities and towns.
El Niño phase
This comes as the World Meteorological Organization recently warned that global temperatures are likely to surge to exceed 1.5 C above preindustrial levels for at least one year between 2023-2027 due to heat-trapping greenhouse gases and an El Niño event.
In a recent report, the UN agency warned that temperatures are likely to surge to record-high levels in the next five years, which will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment.
WMO has said a warming El Niño weather event is expected to develop in the coming months, which along with human-induced climate change will push global temperatures into uncharted territory.
El Niño is widely used to describe the warming of sea surface temperature that occurs every few years, typically concentrated in the central-east equatorial Pacific Ocean.