An already warming Earth reached its hottest June on record, smashing the former global mark by almost a quarter of a degree (0.13 degrees Celsius), with global oceans setting temperature records for the third month in a row, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced. THURSDAY.
The global average of 61.79 degrees (16.55 degrees Celsius) in June was 1.89 degrees (1.05 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average, the first time a summer month around the world was warmer than normal by more than a degree Celsius, according to NOAA. Other weather monitoring systems, such as NASA, Berkeley Earth and Copernicus in Europe, had already called last month the hottest June on record, but NOAA is the benchmark for record keeping with data going back 174 years to 1850.
The increase from last June’s record is “a dramatically large jump” because global monthly records are typically so wide they often jump hundredths, not quarters of a degree, said climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo. NOAA.
“The recent record high temperatures, along with the extreme fires, pollution and flooding we’re seeing this year are what we’d expect to see in a warmer climate,” said Natalie Mahowald, a climatologist at Cornell University. “We’re just starting to get a little glimpse of the kinds of impacts we expect to worsen with climate change.”
The land and ocean were the hottest June has ever seen. But the globe’s sea surface – which makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – set monthly high temperature records in April, May and June and the North Atlantic has been off the charts since mid-March, according to the scientists. The Caribbean region broke previous records, as did the UK.
The first half of 2023 was the third hottest January to June on record, behind 2016 and 2020, according to NOAA.
NOAA says there’s a 20% chance 2023 will be the hottest year on record, with next year more likely, but the likelihood of a record is rising and outside scientists such as Kim Cobb of the Brown University predict a “photo finish” with 2016 and 2020 for the hottest year on record. Berkeley Earth’s Robert Rohde said his group estimates there is an 80% chance that 2023 will be the hottest year on record.
This is because it is likely to get hotter. July is generally the hottest month of the year, and the record for July and the hottest month of any year is 62.08 degrees (16.71 degrees Celsius) set in both July 2019 and July 2021. Eleven of the first twelve days of July were warmer than ever recorded, according to an unofficial and preliminary analysis by the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer. The Japan Meteorological Agency and the World Meteorological Organization said the world had just gone through its hottest week on record.
NOAA recorded water temperatures around Florida of 98 degrees (36.7 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday near the Everglades and 97 degrees (36.1 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday near the Florida Keys, while some forecasters predict near world record temperatures in Death Valley of around 130 degrees (54.4 degrees Celsius) this weekend.
NOAA’s global analysis chief Russ Vose said the record-breaking June was down to two main reasons: long-term warming caused by heat-trapping gases spewed out by burning coal, oil and natural gas, which is then boosted by a natural El Niño, which warms parts of the Pacific and changes the weather around the world, adding additional heat to already rising global temperatures. He said it’s likely most of June’s warming is due to long-term human causes, because so far this new El Niño is still considered weak to moderate. It is expected to peak in winter, which is why NOAA and other forecasters predict 2024 to be even warmer than this year.
While El Nino and its cooling flipside, La Nina, “have a big impact on year-over-year temperatures, their long-term effects are much weaker than human-caused warming,” said said climatologist Zeke Hausfather of Berkeley Earth and technology company Stripe. “In 1998 the world experienced a super El Nino event with record global temperatures; today the temperatures of 1998 would be an unusually cool year. Human-caused climate change adds a permanent super El Nino value of heat to the atmosphere every decade.
Global and Antarctic sea ice levels reached record highs in June, NOAA also said.
“Until we stop burning fossil fuels it will only get worse,” climatologist Friederike Otto of Imperial College London said in an email. “Heat records will continue to be broken, people and ecosystems are already in many cases beyond what they are able to handle.”
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