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European scientists make it official. July was by far the hottest month ever recorded.

Now that the blistering figures from July are all in, the European climate monitoring organization has made it official: July 2023 was the hottest month on Earth by a wide margin.

The global average temperature of 16.95 degrees Celsius (62.51 degrees Fahrenheit) in July was a third of a degree Celsius (six-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit) higher than the previous record set in 2019, Copernicus Climate Change Service, a division of the European Union’s space program, announced Tuesday. Normally, global temperature records are broken by hundredths or one-tenth of a degree, so this margin is unusual.

“These records have dire consequences for both humans and the planet exposed to increasingly frequent and intense extreme events,” says Copernicus Deputy Director Samantha Burgess. There have been deadly heat waves in the southwestern United States and Mexico, Europe and Asia. studies blame human-induced climate change from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The days in July were hotter than previously measured from July 2. It has been so extra warm that Copernicus and the World Meteorological Organization made the unusual early announcement that it was probably the hottest month of the month before it ended. Tuesday’s calculations made it official.

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The month was 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial times. In 2015, the world’s countries agreed to try to avoid long-term warming — not individual months or even years, but decades — that’s 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial times.

Last month was so hot, it was 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.3 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the July average from 1991 to 2020, Copernicus said. The world’s oceans were half a degree Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the previous 30 years, and the North Atlantic was 1.05 degrees Celsius (1.9 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than average. Antarctica reached record sea ice depths, 15% below average for this time of year.

The Copernicus data goes back to 1940. That temperature would be hotter than any month the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recorded and their data goes back to 1850. But scientists say it’s actually the hottest in a much longer period of time .

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“It’s an astonishing record and clearly makes it the hottest month on Earth for ten thousand years,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany. He was not part of the Copernicus team.

Rahmstorf cited studies using tree rings and other proxies showing that current times are the warmest since the beginning of the Holocene, about 10,000 years ago. And before the Holocene began, there was an ice age, so it would make sense to even say that this is the warmest on record in 120,000 years, he said.

“We shouldn’t worry about July because it’s a record, but because it won’t be a record for long,” said climate scientist Friederike Otto of Imperial College London. “It is an indication of how much we have changed the climate. We live in a very different world, a world our societies are not adapted to live in.”


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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears


The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. Read more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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