July 2023 was on track to be the hottest month on record, but scientists have now confirmed this, following the hottest June on record and a series of extreme weather events, including heatwaves in Europe, North America and Asia, and wildfires in Canada and Greece.
According to a press release from the Copernicus Climate Change Service on 8 August, the month was 0.72°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for July, and 0.33°C warmer than the previous warmest month, July 2019.
July 2023 is also estimated to have been around 1.5°C warmer than the average for 1850-1900. C3S data now confirm that July 2023 has been the hottest July and hottest month in the ERA5 data record, which goes back to 1940. The ERA5 dataset, which is produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), provides hourly estimates of a large number of atmospheric, land and oceanic climate variables.
The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by ECMWF on behalf of the European Commission with funding from the European Union, routinely publishes monthly climate bulletins reporting on the changes observed in global surface air temperature, sea ice cover and hydrological variables. According to C3S, all the reported findings are based on computer-generated analyses using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.
A Bloomberg report on the development said this is the first time global July temperatures have exceeded the 1.5C preindustrial threshold set in the Paris Agreement, spurring the Antarctic’s sea ice to drop 15% below average, “by far the lowest July extent since satellite observations began,” the Copernicus report added.
July 2023 was a critical month. Heatwaves were experienced in multiple regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including southern Europe, while well-above average temperatures occurred over several South American countries and around much of Antarctica.
"We just witnessed global air temperatures and global ocean surface temperatures set new all-time records in July. These records have dire consequences for both people and the planet exposed to ever more frequent and intense extreme events,” Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in the release. “2023 is currently the third warmest year to date at 0.43ºC above the recent average, with the average global temperature in July at 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. Even if this is only temporary, it shows the urgency for ambitious efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, which are the main driver behind these records,” said Burgess.
(With inputs from agencies)