Feel Like It Was Hotter Than Ever This Summer? It Was

July and August were the 2 hottest months globally on record
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2023 8:26 AM CDT
Globally, July and August Were Hottest Months Ever
Israelis and Palestinians bathe in a cool natural spring in the Judean Desert, West Bank, Aug 1, 2023.   (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

Just how hot was it this summer? The hottest, according to the World Meteorological Organization. July 2023 was the hottest month ever measured globally, while August 2023 is the second hottest month, according to data shared Wednesday by the WMO and European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, which has records going back to 1940, per the AP. Last month is thought to have been 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) warmer than the pre-industrial average. "It also saw the highest global monthly average sea surface temperature on record" at 69.5 degrees (21 degrees Celsius), per Al Jazeera.

Experts blame climate change triggered by the burning of fossil fuels combined with El Niño, a natural phenomenon that sees the temporary warming of ocean surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and increases global temperatures. El Niño occurs every two to seven years on average. The last El Niño coincided with the world's hottest year on record, 2016. So far, this year is the second hottest year on record. WMO's secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, noted Antarctica was seeing record low amounts of sea ice. "It is worth noting that this is happening BEFORE we see the full warming impact of the El Niño event, which typically plays out in the second year after it develops," he said, per the AP.

The WMO also released its annual bulletin on air quality and climate, which noted heatwaves were accompanied by wildfires in North America and desert dust intrusions in Europe in 2022, causing dangerous air quality, per the Guardian. "The dog days of summer are not just barking, they are biting," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. "Climate breakdown has begun." Climatologist Andrew Weaver said it's time for global leaders to admit we will not limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in line with targets. "It's all hands on deck now" to limit global warming to 3 degrees Celsius—"a level of warming that will wreak havoc worldwide," he said, per the AP. (More global warming stories.)

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