By Antonio Broto
Geneva/New York, Jul 27 (EFE).- July is set to become the world’s warmest month on record, the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations specialized agency, said on Thursday.
Based on provisional data from the European Union-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service, the WMO said the average global mean surface air temperature for the first 23 days of this month was 16.95 C (62.5 F), or far higher than the average temperature of 16.63 C registered for all of July 2019.
July 6 also was the warmest day on record with an average global mean surface air temperature of 17.08 C, while all of the days between July 3 and July 23 were hotter than the previous record temperature of 16.8 C registered on Aug. 13, 2016.
“The extreme weather which has affected many millions of people in July is unfortunately the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas was quoted as saying on that agency’s website.
“The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. Climate action is not a luxury but a must.”
For his part, the WMO’s director of climate services, Chris Hewitt, said at a press conference that 2023 is on pace to become the warmest year in history, eclipsing the mark set in 2016.
These records are being set at a time of severe heat waves in North America, Asia and the Mediterranean region.
High temperatures and parched earth, meanwhile, have triggered wildfires in that latter region, as well as in North Africa and Canada.
And record-setting high temperatures have been registered in China (52.2 C on July 16 in the remote Sanbao township in Xinjiang’s Turpan Depression) and other countries.
“Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures,” Copernicus Climate Change Service Director Carlo Buontempo said, predicting more record temperatures in the coming months of 2023.
CRITICAL CLIMATE THRESHOLDS EXCEEDED
The WMO also warned that global mean temperatures during the first and third weeks of July temporarily exceeded the 1.5 C threshold above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900), a key target of the Paris Agreement.
By comparison, the global mean temperature during the previous warmest year on record, 2016, was 1.26 C above pre-industrial levels.
Based on current trends, the WMO says there is a 98 percent chance that at least one of the next five years will be the warmest on record and a 66 percent likelihood of temporarily exceeding 1.5 C above the 1850-1900 average for at least one of the five years.
The record temperatures in July, which were announced shortly after the previous month was declared the warmest June on record, come at a time when the global climate is being affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon, when the warm ocean surface in the eastern Pacific warms the atmosphere.
By contrast, in the previous three years, the La Niña phenomenon resulted in cooler than normal ocean surface temperatures.
‘ERA OF GLOBAL BOILING HAS ARRIVED’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in New York after the release of the July data that the “the era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.”
“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,” the UN chief said, adding that although the month has not yet ended, “short of a mini-Ice Age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board.”
Noting that scientists place blame for the rapid pace of warming squarely on human beings, he said it is still possible to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels and thereby avoid the worst of climate change.
Doing so, however, will require “dramatic, immediate climate action.”
Guterres called for new national emissions targets from G20 members and urged developed countries to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and for developing nations to do so by 2050.
He said all actors must unite to ensure a just and equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.