Earth has sweltered through its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer ever measured, with a record warm August capping a season of brutal and deadly temperatures, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
Last month was not only the hottest August scientists ever recorded by far with modern equipment, it was also the second hottest month measured, behind only July 2023, WMO and the European climate service Copernicus announced Wednesday.
August was about 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial averages. That is the threshold that the world is trying not to pass, though scientists are more concerned about rises in temperatures over decades, not merely a blip over a month’s time.
The world’s oceans — more than 70% of the Earth’s surface — were the hottest ever recorded, nearly 21 C (69.8 F), and have set high temperature marks for three consecutive months, the WMO and Copernicus said.
“The dog days of summer are not just barking, they are biting,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “Climate breakdown has begun.”
So far, 2023 is the second hottest year on record, behind 2016, according to Copernicus.
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