WMO report: World recorded hottest June on record as El Niño starts to develop

WMO report: World recorded hottest June on record as El Niño starts to develop
10 / 07 / 2023
بقلم Marwa Nassar - -

The world just had the hottest June on record at the onset of the development of El Niño, with unprecedented sea surface temperatures and record low Antarctic sea ice extent, according to a new report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

“The exceptional warmth in June and at the start of July occurred at the onset of the development of El Niño, which is expected to further fuel the heat both on land and in the oceans and lead to more extreme temperatures and marine heatwaves,” said Prof. Chris Hewitt, WMO Director of Climate Services.

The heat continues into July – traditionally the hottest month of the year. According to preliminary data from the Copernicus ECMWF ERA5 dataset, the global average 2 meter temperature reached an all-time high of 16.88° C on 3 July, breaking the previous daily record of 16.80°C from August 2016. It then broke this record again on 4 July, with a temperature of 17.03 °C, according to the preliminary data.

Record June temperatures were experienced across northwest Europe, according to Copernicus. Parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Asia, and eastern Australia were significantly warmer than normal.

It was cooler than normal over western Australia, the western United States, and western Russia.

Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent for June since satellite observations began, at 17% below average, breaking the previous June record by a substantial margin.

Throughout the month, the daily Antarctic sea ice extent remained at unprecedented low values for the time of year.

Arctic sea ice extent was slightly below average but well above the June values from the past eight years.

June 2023 was drier than average over much of north America, conditions which favored and sustained severe wildfires. It was also drier in Russia, the Horn of Africa, most of southern Africa, South America, and regions of Australia, according to Copernicus Climate Change Service.

It was wetter than average over most of southern Europe, western Iceland and north-western Russia, with heavy precipitation leading to floods.

Drier-than-average conditions established over a large west-to-east band across central and eastern Europe and Scandinavia, as well as over the western coast of the Black Sea.

Extratropical wetter-than-average regions included western north America, regions of south-western Asia, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, and a large region of Australia; Japan and Pakistan were hit by typhoon Mawar and cyclone Biparjoy, respectively

“We are in uncharted territory and we can expect more records to fall as El Niño develops further and these impacts will extend into 2024,” he said. “This is worrying news for the planet,” Hewitt said.

“Global sea surface temperatures were at record high for the time of the year both in May and June. This comes with a cost. It will impact fisheries distribution and the ocean circulation in general, with knock-on effects on the climate. It is not only the surface temperature, but the whole ocean is becoming warmer and absorbing energy that will remain there for hundreds of years. Alarm bells are ringing especially loudly because of the unprecedented sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic,” said Prof. Hewitt.

Meanwhile, Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said “These exceptional conditions in the north Atlantic highlight the complexity of the Earth system, and remind us of the importance of monitoring the global climate in near real time. The interplay between local and global variability alongside the climate trends is essential to better manage risks and design efficient adaptation policies.”

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