Scientists are reporting that this year’s summer was the hottest on record — and by a significant margin. CNN reports: June to August was the planet’s warmest such period since records began in 1940, according to data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. The global average temperature this summer was 16.77 degrees Celsius (62.19 Fahrenheit), according to Copernicus, which is 0.66 degrees Celsius above the 1990 to 2020 average — beating the previous record, set in August 2019, by nearly 0.3 degrees Celsius.
Typically these records, which track the average air temperature across the entire world, are broken by hundredths of a degree. This is the first set of scientific data to confirm what many had believed was inevitable. The planet experienced its hottest June on record, followed by the hottest July — both breaking previous records by large margins. August was also the warmest such month on record, according to the new Copernicus data, and warmer than every other month this year except for July. The global average temperature for the month was 16.82 degrees Celsius — 0.31 degrees warmer than the previous record set in 2016.
Both July and August are estimated to have been 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels, according to Copernicus, a key threshold scientists have long warned the world must stay under to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. With four months of the year remaining, 2023 currently ranks as the second warmest on record, according to Copernicus, only 0.01 degrees Celsius below 2016, which is currently the warmest year on record.