July on course to be hottest month ever recorded: UN
The United Nations and EU monitors said Thursday that July is set to be the hottest month in recorded history and likely "unprecedented" for thousands of years, warning that this was a taste of the world's climate future, News.Az reports citing AFP.
Searing heat intensified by global warming has baked parts of Europe, Asia and North America this month, combining with wildfires that have scorched across Canada and parts of southern Europe.
With the first three weeks of July already registering global average temperatures above any comparative period, the World Meteorological Organization and Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said it is "extremely likely that July 2023 will be the hottest July and also the hottest month on record."
Carlo Buontempo, Director of C3S, said the temperatures in the period had been "remarkable" in records going back to the 1940s, with an anomaly so large that scientists are confident the record has been shattered even before the month ends.
Beyond these official records, he said proxy data records for the climate record – like tree rings, ice cores – suggest the temperatures seen in the period could be "unprecedented in our history in the last few thousand years," he said.
Possibly even longer "on the order of 100,000 years," he said.
About 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming since the late 1800s, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, has made heatwaves, in general, hotter, longer and more frequent, as well as intensifying other weather extremes like storms and floods.
The WMO has said the eight years to 2022 were the warmest on record, despite the cooling effects of the La Nina weather pattern. That has now given way to the warming El Nino, although that is not expected to strengthen until later in the year.
"The extreme weather which has affected many millions of people in July is, unfortunately, the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future," said World Meteorological Organization's Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
The WMO predicts it is more likely than not that global temperatures will temporarily rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial benchmark for at least one of the next five years.
They stress, however, that this would not mark a permanent breach of the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit set out in the Paris Agreement, which refers to long-term warming.
Buontempo said there had never been a month where so many days had exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Temperature records have tumbled across the northern hemisphere this month, with many regions sweltering through weeks of unrelenting heat.