On the Site:


July is the planet’s hottest on record by far, scientists say

Jul 27, 2023, 2:23 PM

Italy heat wave...

A person cools off during the heat wave at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome on July 18. (Remo Casilli/Reuters)

(Remo Casilli/Reuters)

(CNN) — As vast swaths of three continents bake under blistering temperatures and the oceans heat to unprecedented levels, scientists from two global climate authorities are reporting before July has even ended that this month will be the planet’s hottest on record by far.

The heat in July has already been so extreme that it is “virtually certain” this month will break records “by a significant margin,” the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organization said in a report published Thursday.

We have just lived through the hottest three-week period on record – and almost certainly in more than a hundred thousand years.

Typically these records, which track the average air temperature across the entire world, are broken by hundredths of a degree. But the temperature for the first 23 days of July averaged 16.95 degrees Celsius (62.51 Fahrenheit), well above the previous record of 16.63 degrees Celsius (61.93 Fahrenheit) set in July 2019, according to the report.

The data used to track these records goes back to 1940, but many scientists – including those at Copernicus – say it’s almost certain that these temperatures are the warmest the planet has seen in 120,000 years, given what we know from millennia of climate data extracted from tree rings, coral reefs, and deep-sea sediment cores.

“These are the hottest temperatures in human history,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director at Copernicus.

It all adds up to a blistering Northern Hemisphere summer – potentially an unprecedented one. “The odds are certainly in favor of a record-breaking summer,” said Carlo Buontempo, the director of Copernicus, although he cautioned that it’s too early to state that with confidence.

The human toll of the heat is stark. As temperatures have risen above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) in parts of the US, heat-related deaths have mounted and people are suffering life-threatening burns from falling onto scorching hot ground.

In the Mediterranean, more than 40 people have died as wildfires rage across the region, fueled by high temperatures. In Asia, prolonged, intense heat waves are claiming lives and threatening food security.

Human-caused climate change is the main driver of this extraordinary heat, Burgess said. “The global air temperature is directly proportional to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

A recent study found that climate change played an “absolutely overwhelming” role in the heat waves in the US, China and southern Europe this summer.

The arrival of El Niño, a natural climate fluctuation with a warming impact, has not had a huge impact on the temperatures as it is still in its developmental phase, Burgess said, but it will play much more of a role next year, she added, and will likely drive temperatures even higher.

The news that July will be the hottest month comes amid a slew of alarming records that have already been broken – and then broken again – this summer.

Last month was the hottest June on record by a “substantial margin,” according to Copernicus.

Then in July, the world experienced its hottest day on record. On July 6, the global average temperature rose to 17.08 degrees Celsius (62.74 Fahrenheit), according to Copernicus data, beating the previous temperature record of 16.8 degrees Celsius (62.24 Fahrenheit) set in August 2016.

Every day since July 3 has been hotter than the 2016 record.

“We are seven months into 2023 and almost every month this year has been in the top five hottest on record,” said Burgess, adding that if the trends continue into the fall and winter, 2023 is likely to be among the warmest years ever recorded.

Ocean heat is also at record levels. In mid-May, global ocean surface temperatures reached “unprecedented levels” for the time of year.

“What we’re seeing right now, we’ve not seen before,” said Burgess.

Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at Brown University who was not involved in the report, called the new July temperature record “eye-popping,” but warned that it will be broken again.

“It is scary to remember that in another decade, this will be viewed as a relatively cool year, most likely,” she said, adding, “if people don’t like what they’re seeing this summer, they will be in for quite a shock at the higher warming levels we’re heading for.”

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the WMO, said July’s extreme weather reveals “the harsh reality of climate change.”

“The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before” he said in a statement. “Climate action is not a luxury but a must.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


(Frank Klein, National Park Service)...

Luke Seaver

Rockfall in Canyonlands closes White Rim Road

A large rockfall over the weekend in Canyonlands National Park has resulted in the closure of a section of the White Rim Road.

1 day ago

(KSL TV)...

Mike Anderson

Northern Utah community comes together to help shelter the homeless

Local leaders and volunteers in Cache and Box Elder Counties come together to provide shelter to the homeless as temperatures fall

1 day ago

Inversion over Salt Lake City...

Eliza Pace

Smoggy skies in the valley, what we can expect for air quality this week

Utahns along the Wasatch Front were greeted on their Monday morning commute with thick smog. 

3 days ago

A majority of Utah counties were in Code Blue status Sunday, according to the Department of Health ...

Shelby Lofton

Utah shelters prepare to take in more people under Code Blue protocol

A majority of Utah counties were in Code Blue status Sunday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

3 days ago

FILE - This photo provided by the Alaska Department of Public Safety shows the landslide that occur...

Associated Press

Girl, 11, confirmed as fourth victim of Alaska landslide, two people still missing

Authorities recovered the body of an 11-year-old girl Saturday evening from the debris of a landslide in southeast Alaska that tore down a wooded mountainside days earlier, smashing into homes in a remote fishing village.

3 days ago

( As winter weather approaches Utah later this week, a good tires on a vehicle will help keep trave...

Alex Cabrero

Good tires will keep drivers safe this winter season

With winter weather expected to hit Utah Thursday night into Friday, when many people might be driving to and from Thanksgiving, a vehicle with good tires will keep people safe.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

July is the planet’s hottest on record by far, scientists say