Energy & Environment

Unprecedented summer heat breaks records around globe

This August was the hottest on record, following a similarly unprecedented June and July, according to data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. 

The past month also marked the second-hottest ever recorded, surpassed only by July, according to Copernicus. The global average surface air temperature for the month, 16.82 degrees Celsius, was about 0.71 degrees warmer than the August average for the previous three decades, and it exceeded the August record, from 2016, by 0.31 degrees. 

Copernicus estimated the average for the month was 1.5 degrees hotter than the pre-industrial 1850-1900 average, the temperature threshold that signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement have pledged to avoid.

This year’s boreal summer, defined as the period from June to August, was the hottest ever recorded globally “by a large margin,” according to Copernicus, which noted the average temperature, 16.77 degrees Celsius, was 0.66 degrees hotter than the overall average.

In addition to the wider global record average, much of the United States experienced unprecedented temperatures over the last month, according to Copernicus. New Orleans tied a record of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and the central and southern U.S. overall saw high temperatures, breaking or nearing records in many cases. 

In Europe, meanwhile, the area spanning from Portugal to Italy experienced a heat wave that included a record daily average high of 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in Milan. In northern Africa, Morocco surpassed 50.4 degrees Celsius (122.7 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time. 

The Atlantic Ocean also experienced a heat wave in August, as did the tropical Pacific and the western Indian oceans.

August has been marked by several climate and weather-related disasters, including Hurricane Hilary, a rare tropical storm to hit the Los Angeles area, and Hurricane Idalia, which hit the largely rural region of Florida that connects the Panhandle to the wider peninsula. 

Tags global warming heat record Summer