The Earth, already experiencing the effects of global warming, witnessed an unprecedented event as June blazed its way into the history books as the hottest on record.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that the global average temperature for June soared to 61.79 degrees Fahrenheit (16.55 degrees Celsius), surpassing the 20th Century average by a staggering 1.89 degrees F (1.05 degrees Celsius). This marked the first time a summer month globally recorded a temperature more than a degree Celsius above normal.
Notably, the temperature increase of 0.13 degrees Celsius over the previous June’s record was a significant leap, considering that global monthly records typically show smaller fluctuations. NOAA climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo characterised this surge as a “considerably big jump.”
“The recent record temperatures, as well as extreme fires, pollution and flooding we are seeing this year are what we expect to see in a warmer climate,” said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald. “We are just getting a small taste for the types of impacts that we expect to worsen under climate change.”
The rising temperatures affected both land and oceans, with the sea surface, covering 70% of the Earth’s area, setting temperature records for the third consecutive month in April, May, and June. Particularly alarming was the unprecedented warmth observed in the North Atlantic since mid-March. The Caribbean region and the United Kingdom also experienced record-breaking temperatures.
Adding to the concerning trend, the first half of 2023 ranked as the third hottest January through June on record, trailing behind 2016 and 2020. NOAA predicts a 20% chance that 2023 will become the hottest year on record, with next year potentially taking that title.
However, many experts, including Brown University’s Kim Cobb and Berkeley Earth’s Robert Rohde, foresee a close competition between 2023, 2016, and 2020 for the hottest year accolade, with an 80% chance that 2023 will ultimately secure that distinction.
The alarming trajectory of rising temperatures and the frequency of record-breaking events underscore the urgency of addressing climate change. NOAA’s extensive record-keeping, dating back 174 years, serves as a crucial indicator of the planet’s changing climate. The consequences of unchecked global warming demand collective efforts to mitigate its impact and preserve the planet for future generations. As the world grapples with this critical challenge, the need for sustainable practices and climate action has never been more evident.
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