According to the American space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Earth experienced the warmest June-August period on record this year. It was the hottest summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
The months of June, July and August were 0.23 degrees Celsius warmer than any previous summer in NASA’s record and 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980. In addition, the temperature in August was 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than normal. It should be noted that in the Northern Hemisphere meteorological summer lasts from June to August.
This new record comes as a global heat wave has intensified wildfires in Canada and Hawaii and fueled intense heat in South America, Japan, Europe and the US, according to NASA.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement: “The record summer temperatures of 2023 are not just a series of numbers – they are resulting in serious real-world consequences. From sweltering temperatures in Arizona and across the country, to wildfires across Canada, and extreme flooding in Europe and Asia, extreme weather threatens lives and livelihoods around the world.”
Greenhouse gas emissions have been identified as a major driver of climate change and the global warming trend that has led to such a sweltering summer. NOAA Chief Scientist Sarah Kapnick said, “Last month was not only the warmest August on record, it was also the world’s 45th consecutive August and the 534th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. Global sea heat waves and a Growing El Nino are driving additional warming this year, but as long as emissions continue to cause a steady march of background warming, we expect more records to be broken in the coming years.
The tropical Pacific Ocean is experiencing El Nino, a natural climate trend characterized by higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures. The phenomenon could have far-reaching consequences, often causing colder and wetter weather in the southwestern US and droughts in western Pacific countries such as Australia and Indonesia, NASA said.
“Unfortunately, climate change is happening. Things we said would happen are coming to pass. And it’s going to get worse if we continue to release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at the space agency.