A Hot Record: July 2023’s Global Temperatures Highlight Progress Needed
August 7, 2023
July 2023 has entered the history books as a record-breaking month for global temperatures, but these numbers aren’t just a warning; they’re a challenge and an opportunity. With data from the European Centre for Medium–Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the world reached a global daily mean surface air temperature of 17.08°C on 6th July. We surpassed July 2019’s mean of 16.63°C, reaching 16.95°C for the first 23 days of this month.
Rather than symbols of doom, these figures are powerful reminders of how much we have learned about our planet’s complex climate system. We have an understanding like never before, and with that knowledge comes the ability to effect real change.
These increased temperatures are not solely the product of human activity; they coincide with El Niño conditions and record-high sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean. Carlo Buontempo, Director of C3S, comments that we’re in the midst of a trend, and what we’re experiencing now “is unlikely to remain isolated this year.” These observations shouldn’t lead to despair but should energize our collective efforts to face the challenge head-on.
Our response to these temperatures is key. We’ve seen heatwaves across Europe, North America, Asia, and wildfires in Canada and Greece. They are stark reminders of the need for resilience and adaptation, areas where many communities are making strides and showing the way forward.
World Meteorological Organization’s Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said, “The extreme weather which has affected millions of people in July is, unfortunately, the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future.” However, this reality also showcases our capacity to learn, adapt, and innovate.
The upcoming C3S monthly climate bulletin and the World Meteorological Organization’s provisional State of the Global Climate 2023 report, to be presented at COP28 in December, will provide further insights and guide international efforts. Far from being mere statistics, they are tools to empower global action.
This July’s record-breaking temperatures are a rallying cry. They emphasize the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and the boundless opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and transformation that lie ahead.
Climate action is no longer merely an ideal; it’s an exciting frontier filled with possibilities. The temperatures of July 2023 invite us to look beyond the challenges to the vast potential for progress. The time is ripe for bold, constructive measures that harness human ingenuity and determination. Acknowledging the warnings, we must also embrace the opportunities and face the future with resolve and optimism.
On the COP28 Radar Screen
COP Health Day is December 3, 2023, during the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The objective is to raise awareness about climate change’s health impacts and discuss potential responses to these effects. Appoint a team, have a plan and engage!