July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, the European Union's climate observatory confirmed Tuesday (Aug 8). Marked by heatwaves and fires all around the world, the previous month was 0.33 degrees Celsius higher than the record set in July 2019 when the average temperature was 16.63C (32 Fahrenheit), it said. "The month was 0.72C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for July," it said.
About 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming since the late 1800s, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, has made heatwaves hotter, longer and more frequent, as well as intensifying other weather extremes like storms and floods.
"Heatwaves were experienced in multiple regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including southern Europe. Well-above average temperatures occurred over several South American countries and around much of Antarctica," the EU climate observatory Copernicus said.
"The global mean for 2023 is the third highest on record, at 0.43C relative to 1991-2020, compared with 0.49C for 2016 and 0.48C for 2020. The gap between 2023 and 2016 is expected to narrow in the coming months, as the latter months of 2016 were relatively cool... while the remainder of 2023 is expected to be relatively warm as the current El Nino event develops."
Scientists had warned that July could hit a new record.
The world's oceans also set a new temperature record, raising concerns about knock-on effects on the planet's climate, marine life and coastal communities. The temperature of the oceans' surface rose to 20.96 degrees Celsius (69.7 degrees Fahrenheit) on Jul 30, according to European Union climate observatory data.
The previous record was 20.95C in March 2016, a spokeswoman for Copernicus Climate Change Service earlier told AFP news agency.
The samples tested excluded polar regions.