Global record: Last month was the world's hottest ever June

Global record: Last month was the world's hottest ever June
Credit: US Air Force / Wikimedia Commons

Global average temperatures in June were the warmest ever recorded in this period by the European Copernicus service, surpassing previous records by a "substantial margin", it announced in a statement on Thursday.

"June was the warmest globally, just over 0.5°C above the 1991-2020 average, far surpassing the previous record set in June 2019", said the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Observatory (C3S), whose data, dating back to 1950, is among the most reliable and widely used in the world, along with that of the American NOAA. The previous record, in June 2019, was just 0.37°C above the average.

Temperatures broke records in northwestern Europe, while parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Asia and Eastern Australia "were significantly warmer than normal", Copernicus noted. The month was also drier than average in many parts of the world, sustaining severe wildfires in Russia, the Horn of Africa, most of Southern Africa, South America and regions of Australia.

A meteorological anomaly

For the past 15 years, the month of June has been consistently above average, but "June 2023 is well above the others, a kind of anomaly that we are not used to", Copernicus scientist Julien Nicolas told AFP.

These figures come at the same time as the beginning of the El Niño weather phenomenon, generally associated with a rise in global temperatures, Copernicus points out.

The climate service also announced that ocean surfaces experienced their warmest June on record too. The North Atlantic Ocean had exceptionally high temperatures, with extreme marine heatwaves occurring in the Baltic Sea and around Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Copernicus said that at the beginning of June global temperatures exceeded pre-industrial levels by more than 1.5°C, which is the most ambitious warming limit in the 2015 Paris Agreement. This is the first time this limit has been crossed in June, but it has been crossed several times in winter and spring in recent years.

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"Every fraction of a degree counts to avoid even more serious consequences of the climate crisis," said Deputy Director of Copernicus Samantha Burgess.

Copernicus is based in Bonn, Germany: the very location where international climate negotiations are currently being held under the aegis of the UN, ahead of COP28 which scheduled to take place in Dubai at the end of the year.

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