The summer of 2023 was the hottest on record, according to data from the European Union Climate Change Service released on Wednesday (6 September).
The three-month period from June through August surpassed previous records by a large margin, with an average temperature of 16.8 degrees Celsius (62.2F) – 0.66C above average.
Last month was the also the hottest August on record globally, the third straight month in a row to set such a record following the hottest ever June and July, the EU said on Wednesday.
August is estimated to have been around 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial average for the 1850-1900 period. Pursuing efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a central pledge of the Paris international climate change agreement adopted by 196 countries in 2015.
July 2023 remains the hottest month ever recorded, while August’s record makes the northern hemisphere’s summer the hottest since records began in 1940.
“Global temperature records continue to tumble in 2023,” Copernicus deputy head Samantha Burgess said.
“The scientific evidence is overwhelming, we will continue to see more climate records and more intense and frequent extreme weather events impacting society and ecosystems, until we stop emitting greenhouse gases,” Burgess said.
In Europe, August was wetter than normal last month over large parts of central Europe and Scandinavia leading to flooding, while France, Greece, Italy and Portugal saw droughts that led to wildfires.
Well-above average temperatures also occurred over Australia, several South American countries and around much of Antarctica in August, the institute said.
Meanwhile, the global ocean saw the warmest daily surface temperature on record, and had its warmest month overall.
With four months left in 2023, this year is so far the second-hottest on record, only marginally behind 2016.
“Current trends show 2023 could be the hottest year humanity has witnessed,” commented Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU’s environment commissioner, writing on X (formerly Twitter) that the EU executive is now focusing on “the full implementation of the EU Green Deal”.