The World Meteorological Organization released data on Wednesday indicating that June-August 2023 was the hottest three-month period in recorded history across the Earth.
The WMO added that last month was "by far" the hottest August on record, and the second-hottest month ever recorded behind July 2023. The WMO estimated that August 2023 was about 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial era (1850-1900) averages.
Leaders from the United Nations placed blame on the rising consumption of carbon fuels, which emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, locking in heat and energy from the sun. They also said this year's El Niño had an impact on rising temperatures across the world.
"Our planet has just endured a season of simmering — the hottest summer on record. Climate breakdown has begun. Scientists have long warned what our fossil fuel addiction will unleash. Surging temperatures demand a surge in action. Leaders must turn up the heat now for climate solutions. We can still avoid the worst of climate chaos – and we don’t have a moment to lose," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.
Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has shown a number of global weather extremes this year. NOAA recorded the hottest average global temperature ever on July 6. NOAA also recorded the hottest average temperature ever for the Northern Hemisphere in July.
Sea-surface temperatures also reached record levels in August, NOAA's data indicates.
The World Meteorological Organization said it is likely that the world will at least temporarily exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels for at least one of the next five years. The U.N. set the target of keeping global temperatures below a 1.5-degree increase by 2030. But officials said they believe the world can still avoid permanently exceeding that threshold.
“Eight months into 2023, so far we are experiencing the second warmest year to date, only fractionally cooler than 2016, and August was estimated to be around 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels. What we are observing, not only new extremes but the persistence of these record-breaking conditions, and the impacts these have on both people and planet, are a clear consequence of the warming of the climate system,” commented Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Also on Wednesday, the WMO issued a bulletin indicating that added heat waves have worsened air quality and pollution.
“Wildfires have roared through huge swathes of Canada, caused tragic devastation and death in Hawaii, and also inflicted major damage and casualties in the Mediterranean region. This has caused dangerous air quality levels for many millions of people, and sent plumes of smoke across the Atlantic and into the Arctic,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
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