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World Records Hottest June in History Amid Historic Heatwaves and Extreme Ocean Temperatures

World Records Hottest June in History Amid Historic Heatwaves and Extreme Ocean Temperatures

The month of June was the hottest ever recorded at just over 0.5C above the 1991-2020 average. It came amid record heatwaves in northern Europe and historic marine heatwaves. 

Last month was the warmest June ever globally, shattering the previous record set in 2019 by a “substantial” margin, a new analysis has revealed.

According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service’s (C3S) monthly bulletin published Thursday, June saw record temperatures both on land and at sea, just over 0.5C higher compared to the same month in the 1991-2020 period.

surface air temperature anomaly for June 2023; copernicus; june was the hottest month ever recorded

Image: Copernicus Climate Change Service.

It came amid a historic heatwave in northwest Europe and above-average temperatures in countries including India, Iran, Canada, Mexico, and China. Beijing, saw its hottest June day late last month, as the mercury hit 106F (41.1C). Northern parts of the country are currently battling with a historic, prolonged heatwave that is threatening energy supplies and has prompted authorities to issue the highest-level heat warning for the first time in nine years. Last month was also the UK’s hottest – and much dried than usual – June on record, according to Met Office scientists who pointed the finger at climate change.

“We found that the chance of observing a June beating the previous joint 1940/1976 record of 14.9C has at least doubled since the 1940s. Alongside natural variability, the background warming of the Earth’s atmosphere due to human-induced climate change has driven up the possibility of reaching record-high temperatures,” said Paul Davies, Met Office Climate Extremes Principal Fellow and Chief Meteorologist. 

Several extreme marine heatwaves were also recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean last month, with temperatures peaking on 21 June at around 1.6C above average. Category 4 (‘Extreme’) marine heatwave conditions occurred around much of the UK, while a marine heatwave hitting the West of Ireland was classified as Category 5 (‘Beyond Extreme’).

Rising ocean temperatures can result in even more catastrophic extreme weather events and unparalleled cascading effects, such as ice melting, sea level rise, marine heatwaves, and ocean acidification, all of which have devastating impacts on marine life, fish stocks, and millions of jobs worldwide

sea surface temperature anomaly for 2023; copernicus; marine heatwaves

Image: Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Experts blame the emerging El Niño, a weather pattern associated with variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, for June’s record heatwaves. Earlier this week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared the onset of El Niño conditions, which scientists believe will push global temperature “off the charts” later this year and in early 2024.

“These exceptional conditions in the North Atlantic highlight the complexity of the Earth system, and remind us of the importance of monitoring the global climate in near real time,” said Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. 

“The interplay between local and global variability alongside the climate trends is essential to better manage risks and design efficient adaptation policies.”

The news comes just days after the world broke its record for hottest day ever for two days consecutively. 

You might also like: World On Track To Warm Above 2C As Greenhouse Gases Surge, UN Report Warns

Tagged: heatwaves

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is the Managing Editor at Earth.Org. She holds two BA degrees, in Translation/Interpreting Studies and Journalism, and a MA in International Development from the University of Vienna. After working at the United Nations Global Communication Department in Vienna, she joined a newspaper in Italy as a reporter before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. Her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection with a focus on developing countries.

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