September 21, 2023

Meteorologists say Earth hissed to a global heat record in June and July continues to get hotter

An already warming Earth steamed into the hottest June on record, beating the old world figure by nearly a quarter of a degree (0.13 degrees Celsius) as the oceans set temperature records for the third straight month, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced. to 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 globally was more than a degree Celsius warmer was than normal, according to NOAA. Other weather monitoring systems, such as NASA, Berkeley Earth and Europa’s Copernicus, had already called the warmest June on record last month, but NOAA is the gold standard for tracking with data going back 174 years to 1850.

The increase from last June’s record is “quite a big jump” because global monthly records tend to be so broadly based that they often jump by hundredths rather than a quarter of a degree, said climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo of the NOAA.

“The recent record temperatures, as well as extreme fires, pollution and flooding we’re seeing this year, are what we expect to see in a warmer climate,” said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald. “We’re just getting a small taste of the types of impacts we expect to be exacerbated by climate change.”

Both land and ocean were the hottest June has ever seen. But the world’s sea surface — which covers 70% of the Earth’s surface — set monthly high temperature records in April, May and June, and the North Atlantic has been warm off the charts since mid-March, scientists say. The Caribbean broke previous records, as did the United Kingdom.

According to NOAA, the first half of 2023 was the third warmest January through June on record, behind 2016 and 2020.

NOAA says there’s a 20% chance 2023 will be the hottest year on record, with next year more likely, but the odds of a record are growing and outside scientists like Kim Cobb of Brown University predict a “photo finish” with 2016 and 2020 ahead the warmest year ever recorded. Berkeley Earth’s Robert Rohde said his group thinks there’s an 80% chance that 2023 will be the hottest year on record.

That’s because it’s probably just going to get hotter. July is usually the hottest month of the year, and the record for July and 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 in July were hotter 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 say the world has just experienced 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, as some forecasters predict near-world record temperatures in Death Valley from around 130 degrees (54.4 degrees Celsius) this weekend.

Russ Vose, NOAA’s head of global analysis, said the record hot June has two main reasons: prolonged warming caused by heat-trapping gases emitted from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, which is then stimulated by a natural El Nino, which is warming parts of the Pacific Ocean and changing weather worldwide, adding additional warmth to already rising global temperatures. He said it’s likely most of June’s warming is due to long-term human causes, as this new El Nino is still considered weak to moderate so far. It is predicted to peak in winter, which is why NOAA and other forecasters predict 2024 to be even hotter than this year.

While El Nino and its cooling flip side, La Nina, “have a major impact on year-over-year temperatures, their long-term effects are much smaller than human-induced warming,” said Berkeley Earth and Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather. the technology company Stripe. “In 1998, the world had a super El Nino event with record global temperatures; today, 1998 temperatures would be an unusually cool year. Human-induced climate change adds permanent super El Nino warmth to the atmosphere every decade.”

Sea ice levels worldwide and Antarctica were at record lows in June, NOAA also said.

“Until we stop burning fossil fuels, this is only going to get worse,” Imperial College of London climate scientist Friederike Otto said in an email. “Heat records will continue to be broken, people and ecosystems are in many cases beyond their capacity to cope.”


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