Summer 2023 was hotter than ever – and a climate phenomenon is only just beginning – knowledge

From a global perspective, the summer of 2023 was by far the hottest since records began in 1940 EU climate change service Copernicus on Wednesday with The global average temperature in the three months of June to August, i.e. in the northern hemisphere or boreal summer, was 16.77 degrees Celsius and thus again 0.66 degrees above the average of the years 1991-2020, which were already clearly influenced by climate change – significantly higher than in the previous record year 2019 with 16.48 degrees. This means that in each of the nine northern hemisphere summers since 2015 it has been warmer worldwide than at any time before 2015, with the summer of 1998 only coming in tenth.

In August it was warmer than ever in the month, Copernicus said. The average temperature of 16.82 degrees Celsius over land was 0.71 degrees higher than the average for the years 1991 to 2020 and an estimated 1.5 degrees higher than the pre-industrial era of 1850 to 1900. This made August the second warmest on record Month. Only in July was it even warmer at 16.95 degrees.

“Global temperature records will continue to tumble in 2023,” said Copernicus Vice Director Samantha Burgess. “The warmest August follows the warmest July and June and leads to the warmest boreal summer in our world Record extending to 1940.“There have also been record-breaking sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic and the global ocean in recent months,” the service said in a statement.

Normally, the sea temperature in the world’s mid-latitudes peaks at the end of southern summer in March, when the great oceans of the southern hemisphere have warmed, and then falls again. This year, however, is different: the temperature has been well above the usual values ​​since May and kept rising until the end of August. Only recently has it finally started to drop, but it is still absurdly far above the values ​​of previous years.

In Europe, the summer was 0.83 degrees Celsius above the average for the reference period from 1991 to 2020, making it the fifth warmest European summer since measurements began. The temperatures in and above the sea were also unusual here. Marine heatwaves occurred around Ireland and the UK in June and in the Mediterranean in July and August. Large parts of Western Europe experienced above-average precipitation, in some cases local records were broken and flooding occurred. On the other hand, it was too dry in Iceland, over the Alpine arc and in central Europe, as well as in large parts of Asia, Canada, southern North America and most of South America, which led to extensive forest fires in some regions.

The year to date (January to August) is the second warmest on record after 2016, when there was a strong warming El Niño event. The climate phenomenon is currently building up again, and at the moment it looks like a strong El Niño again – which has climate experts worried about the coming time.

“Our climate is imploding faster than we can handle extreme weather events that hit every corner of the planet,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said of the Copernicus data. He called on the heads of state and government to act. “We can still prevent the worst of climate chaos – and we don’t have a moment to lose.”

The scientific evidence is overwhelming, said Copernicus Deputy Director Burgess. “We will continue to see climate records and more intense and frequent extreme weather events impacting society and ecosystems until we stop emitting greenhouse gases.” The year 2023 is currently only 0.01 degrees Celsius behind the current record holder of 2016.

The results are based on computer-generated analyzes using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, airplanes and weather stations around the world. Climate researchers can reconstruct the historical climate from tree rings, air bubbles in glaciers and corals, among other things.

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