After a record-breaking June, July broke the record for the hottest month in at least 120,000 years, as heatwaves persist around the world and ocean temperatures in some places reach hot tub levels.
Last month, the global mean surface air temperature for the first 23 days of July was 16.95C, well above the 2019 record of 16.63C.
Speaking to reporters from the United Nations headquarters in New York last week, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived.”
July has already seen:
The hottest three-week period ever recorded.
The three hottest days on record.
The highest-ever ocean temperatures for this time of year.
It is still possible to avoid the very worst of climate change, but only with dramatic, immediate #ClimateAction.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 27, 2023
Last month has seen the hottest three-week period in history as well as the three hottest days on record. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), global mean temperature “temporarily” surpassed the 1.5C threshold above pre-industrial levels during the first and third week of the month. Ocean temperatures have also reached an all-time high – in places like Florida, they surpassed the 38C (100F) mark, adding to previous warnings over warming water putting marine life and ecosystems in peril.
“Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures,” said Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), adding that “July’s record is unlikely to remain isolated this year.”
According to WMO predictions, there is a 98% chance that at least one of the next five years will be the hottest on record and a 66% chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5C above the 1850-1900 average for at least one of the five years. This, however, does not mean that the planet will permanently surpass the 1.5C Paris Agreement mark, which instead refers to long-term warming over several years. “It is still possible to limit temperature rise to 1.5C and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action,” said Guterres.
Global temperatures have already risen 1C and predictions for 2.7C warming or more would have catastrophic environmental, social, and economic impacts.
The findings are a clear indication that the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. As Guterres put it: “No more hesitancy, no more excuses, no more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that.”
Featured image: Kseniia Zaitseva/Unsplash.