WEATHER

Last month was the planet’s hottest June on record by a huge margin

Jul 6, 2023, 6:44 AM

The San Antonio Fire spreads uphill west of Petaluma, California, on Friday. California experienced...

The San Antonio Fire spreads uphill west of Petaluma, California, on Friday. California experienced a heat wave during the long Fourth of July weekend. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat/AP via CNN)

(Kent Porter/The Press Democrat/AP via CNN)

(CNN) — Earth’s temperature was off the charts last month as an extreme heat wave scorched the Southern U.S. and Mexico and ocean warmth soared to alarming levels, a new report shows.

The analysis from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service found that last month was the planet’s hottest June by a “substantial margin” above the previous record, which was set in 2019.

The nine hottest Junes have all occurred in the last nine years, according to the agency – evidence the human-caused climate crisis is driving temperatures to unprecedented levels.

Copernicus also found that ocean surface temperatures were the warmest on record for June, driven mainly by exceptional warmth in the North Atlantic and a strengthening El Niño in the Pacific.

The analysis came as data from global climate agencies suggested that the planet saw its hottest day on record earlier this week — first on Monday and then again on Tuesday.

“This is alarming,” Jennifer Marlon, a climate scientist at the Yale School of Environment who was not involved with the analysis, told CNN. “It’s hard to imagine what summers will be like for our children and grandchildren in the next 20 years. This is exactly what global warming looks like.”

Scientists have warned that these record temperatures bear the fingerprints of the climate crisis. And to make matters worse, the stars are aligning this year for many more records to be broken as El Niño, which also has a warming impact, pushes temperatures to unprecedented levels.

Northwest Europe experienced record-breaking temperatures last, including the UK, which logged its hottest June on record, according to the UK Met Office. Temperatures in parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Asia and eastern Australia were “significantly” warmer than normal in June, according to the report.

In the U.S., Texas and parts of the South experienced a brutal heat wave late in June, with triple-digit-Fahrenheit temperatures and extreme humidity. The heat, which stretched south to Central America, killed at least 112 people in Mexico since March.

Extremely hot days — what could be considered the hottest days of the summer — are more frequent now than in 1970 in 195 locations across the U.S., according to the research group Climate Central. Of those locations, roughly 71% now face at least seven additional extremely hot days each year.

The oceans continued a remarkable warming trend since the start of 2023, according to Thursday’s report.

The North Atlantic recorded exceptionally warm ocean temperatures in June, with a category 4 marine heat wave — defined as “extreme” — observed around Ireland, the UK and in the Baltic Sea.

While the rise in planet-warming pollution is a major driver of such extreme heat, scientists say El Niño is expected to crank ocean temperatures even higher this year.

“The ocean warming is even more concerning because as the oceans warm, they expand, which means higher sea levels, larger storms surges and more flooding of coastal communities,” Marlon said.

Last month was also wetter than average in most of southern Europe and parts of Iceland and Russia, with heavy rain causing floods in Turkey, Kosovo and Romania. Meanwhile, several parts of the world from eastern Europe and Scandinavia to much of north America saw drier than average conditions in June, with wildfires igniting in the Horn of Africa, Canada and parts of South America and Australia.

Antarctic sea ice also hit its lowest extent for the month of June — at 17% below average — since satellite observations started, shattering the previous June record set just last year.

According to Copernicus, the daily sea ice extent around Antarctica remained at “unprecedented low” levels for this time of year.


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Last month was the planet’s hottest June on record by a huge margin