Q COSTA RICA – July 2023, ending today, is on track to be the hottest month ever recorded in meteorological history. According to data from the ERA5, the fifth generation ECMWF atmospheric reanalysis of the global climate covering the period from January 1940 to the present, funded by the European Union, the first three weeks of July have already been the hottest three-week period for which data is available, as published by theWorld Meteorological Organization (WMO).
These temperatures have been linked to heat waves in large parts of North America, Asia and Europe. Also forest fires in countries like Canada and Greece, which have had significant repercussions on people’s health, the environment and economies.
“We don’t have to wait until the end of the month to find out. In the absence of a mini Ice Age in the coming days, July 2023 will break records in all areas”, declared the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres.
July has already seen the three hottest weeks in history, the three hottest days ever recorded and the highest ocean temperatures in history for this time of year,” Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters in NY.
“For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe, it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it’s a disaster. And for scientists, it is unequivocal: humans are to blame. All of this is fully consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of change,” Guterres said.
On July 6, the global mean daily surface air temperature surpassed the record set in August 2016, becoming the hottest day ever recorded, closely followed by July 5 and July 7.
The first three weeks of July have been the warmest three-week period on record. The global mean temperature temporarily exceeded the threshold of 1.5° Celsius above the pre-industrial level during the first and third weeks of the month.
The WMO experts explained that since May the global average temperature of the sea surface was well above the values previously observed for the time of year. This has contributed to the fact that the month of July has been exceptionally warm.
Full ERA5 data for July 2023 i will be available and published by C3S in its next monthly newsletter on August 8.
Carlo Buontempo, Director of the ECMWF’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), commented: “Record temperatures are part of the trend of dramatically increasing global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of this increase in temperatures.
He added: “It is unlikely that the July record will remain isolated this year, the seasonal forecasts of the C3S indicate that over land areas temperatures will probably be well above the average, exceeding the 80th percentile of the weather for the time of the year.”
“The extreme weather that has affected many millions of people in July is, unfortunately, the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future,” said the Secretary-General of the WMO, Professor Petteri Taalas.
“The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever. Climate action is not a luxury, but an obligation.”
Extreme temperatures have their impact on health, from heat stroke to increased risk of heart attacks. Recently, a scientific study, which was done on data from 43 countries and published in Nature Climate Change, estimated that 37% of heat-related deaths are attributable to climate change induced by human activities.
The Lancet Countdown Report on Climate Change and Health also found that heat-related mortality among people aged 65 and older increased by almost 70% in the past two decades.