Record-breaking global temperatures
updated 11 July 2023
Global temperatures set a record, with June 2023 the hottest month ever, and three consecutive hottest days ever in early July. The global ocean temperature has suddenly jumped by 0.7°C (see https://climatereanalyzer.org/clim/sst_daily/ updated daily), even before a gathering El Niño could potentially propel 2023 to become the hottest year ever recorded, topping 2016.
There has been “remarkable global warmth” in June, confirmed Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation arm, which said that the first few days of the month even breached a 1.5°C increase compared with pre-industrial times. This is probably the first time this has happened since industrialization, the agency said.
The long-term warming conditions caused by the burning of fossil fuels will probably receive more heat via El Niño, a naturally recurring phenomenon where sections of the Pacific Ocean heat up, typically causing temperatures to increase across the world. Another contributing factor was the eruption of the underwater volcano in Tonga on 15 January 2022, which injected unusually large quantities of water vapour into the stratosphere with a warming effect, unlike most volcanic eruptions that produce temporary cooling.
“The global surface temperature anomaly is at or near record levels right now, and 2023 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. “That is likely to be true for just about every El Niño year in the future as well, as long as we continue to warm the planet with fossil fuel burning and carbon pollution.”
In May, the World Meteorological Organization warned that global temperatures will probably soar over the next five years, fueled by El Niño as well as emissions, with a new record hot year almost guaranteed during this period.
There is also a good chance the average temperature will exceed 1.5°C (2.7F) beyond pre-industrial levels, a key threshold agreed by governments at which point heatwaves, droughts, flooding and other climate impacts become significantly worse.
NOAA confirmed a second consecutive month of record high ocean surface temperatures in May. Excess heat in the oceans, which cover 70% of the globe’s surface, influences overall global temperatures, as well as displacing fish populations, bleaching coral reefs and driving coastal sea level rises. Severe coral reef bleaching in Belize started in June.
Regardless of whether 2023 ends up the hottest ever recorded, scientists caution that the escalating impacts of the climate crisis are now starkly evident and will not be slowed until greenhouse gas emissions are radically cut.
SOURCE: Original article by Oliver Milman in https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/15/record-temperatures… with later updates
Last updated 11 July 2023