It’s Official: This June Was the Hottest Ever Recorded on Earth

NASA called the soaring heat "part of a pattern of increasing global temperatures, as a result of human activities, mainly carbon dioxide emissions."

By Brett Wilkins | 13 July 2023
Common Dreams

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

As people in much of North America, Europe, and Africa suffer sweltering heatwaves, a pair of U.S. government agencies that track and record weather joined international counterparts Thursday in confirming that last month was the hottest June ever recorded, based on global average temperature.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that the average surface temperature—that includes water and land—in June was 1.89°F above average, a “174-year global climate record.”

“Additionally,” the agency said, “Earth’s ocean surface temperature anomaly—which indicates how much warmer or cooler temperatures are from the long-term average—were the highest ever recorded, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.”

“For the third consecutive month, the global ocean surface temperature hit a record high as weak El Niño conditions that emerged in May continued to strengthen in June,” NOAA added. “Globally, June 2023 set a record for the highest monthly sea surface temperature anomaly of any month in NOAA’s climate record.”

Conversely, NOAA said Thursday that global sea ice coverage receded last month to the lowest level in any June ever observed.

“This primarily was a result of the record-low sea ice in the Antarctic that occurred for the second consecutive month,” the agency explained. “Earth’s global sea ice extent in June 2023 was 330,000 square miles less than the previous record low from June 2019.”

Meanwhile, surface temperature analysis by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies said Thursday that last month was the hottest June in its record book, which dates back to 1880.

“This month is part of a pattern of increasing global temperatures, as a result of human activities, mainly carbon dioxide emissions,” the agency said on Twitter.

The U.S. announcements come after the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service also called last month the hottest June ever recorded.

The trend looks to continue. As Common Dreams reported last week, July has already unofficially recorded several of the hottest days of any month since records were first kept. Preliminary WMO data published last week also showed the first week of July as the hottest seven-day period ever.

WMO Director of Climate Services Christopher Hewitt said that the new data show that “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.”

“This is worrying news for the planet,” he added.

Right now in southern Europe and northern Africa, the Cerberus heatwave—named after the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to the underworld in Greek mythology—has sent the mercury soaring over 110°F.

Last summer, which was the hottest on record in Europe, more than 60,000 people across the continent were killed by extreme heat, a study published earlier this week revealed.

In the United States, a transcontinental heat dome has more than 130 million people in 15 states under extreme weather alerts this week. Deadly heatwaves are also gripping large swaths of the Middle East and Asia.

This month’s record temperatures, deadly flooding, and other extreme weather around the world driven by human-caused global heating have sparked renewed calls in the United States for President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency.

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