July is set to be hottest month on record, according to WMO, EU data

25 July 2023, Greece, Gennadi: A relief worker, who has been on duty for days, has laid down on a piece of cardboard by the side of the road to rest, in the background the plume of smoke from a newly erupted forest fire in the village of Gennadi. Mediterranean heat – thousands of people flee forest fires on Rhodes. In Greece, forest fires are raging in numerous regions. Popular vacation resorts such as the islands of Rhodes and Corfu are also affected. Photo: Christoph Reichwein/dpa

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July is set to be the hottest month on record.

That’s according to data released Thursday that was collected by Copernicus, the Earth observation component of the European Union’s space program, and supported by the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nation’s agency for weather, climate and water.

The first three weeks of July have been the hottest three-week period on record, according to a joint statement published by the Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organization.

This month’s record-breaking heat surpasses July 2019, the previous hottest month, and comes on the heels of June setting the record for the hottest June ever.

It’s primarily due to climate change.

“Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures,” Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement published alongside the announcement.

Also, the El Nino weather pattern is active for the first time in seven years, and earlier in July, the WMO said there is a 90% chance that El Nino will continue on for the second half of 2023, pushing weather extremes even further than they would be otherwise.

“The onset of El Niño will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean,” Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the WMO, said in a statement earlier in July.

This month has included heat waves that have baked much of North America, Asia and Europe, and wildfires that are ravaging Canada and Greece, Copernicus and the WMO said.

Phoenix Firefighters with Engine 18 check the vital signs of a resident called for help at a laundromat during a heat wave in Phoenix, Arizona, US, on Thursday, July 20, 2023. Phoenix extended its record streak of days above 110F to 20 on Wednesday with a high of 119F.

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July 6 was collectively the hottest day on record, meaning the daily average global mean surface air temperature was the highest.

“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 Taalas in a written statement published alongside the announcement. “The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. Climate action is not a luxury but a must.”

The analysis is based on Copernicus’ ERA5 data set of global climate and weather that dates back to 1940.

The WMO estimates there’s a 98% chance that one of the next five years will be the hottest on record and a 66% chance that, in one of the next five years, the global average temperature will at least temporarily exceed the goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above preindustrial levels.

While the WMO predicts the global average temperature will temporarily exceed the 1.5 degree Celsius mark in the next five years, that does not mean the global average temperature will necessarily remain permanently above this threshold, the WMO says.

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