July has been so hot scientists are already confident it is the warmest month ever


July has been so hot scientists are already confident it is the warmest month ever

Scientists are virtually certain that July will be the hottest month ever recorded, even with four days still to go.

Hot off the heels of the warmest-ever June globally, this month is set to be both the warmest-ever July and warmest month of any kind.

“Scientists have been warning us about this for a very long time,” Chris Hewitt, director of Climate Services at the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told Sky News. And now “we are seeing this trend”, he said.

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The WMO said the increased global average was closely linked with the fierce heatwaves that baked swathes of North America, China and Europe, which inflicted “major” impacts on people’s health.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings.

“The only surprise is the speed of the change. Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning.”

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President Joe Biden said that according to experts, extreme heat is “already costing America $100bn a year”.

He has asked Acting Labour Secretary Julie Su to issue a heat hazard alert, while the US Forest Service will award $1bn in grants to help towns and cities plant trees to repel heat.

July has been so hot scientists are already confident it is the warmest month ever

The heatwaves in Europe and the US would have been “virtually impossible” without human-induced climate change, according to scientific data released on Tuesday.

July 2023 is likely to be around 16.9C on average, based on provisional figures from the EU’s Copernicus service, far above the previous record of around 16.6C.

Mr Hewitt said: “A few tenths of a degree is quite a lot in a global average surface temperature.”

It is the “quite big difference” between this month and previous records that makes the scientists so confident we are on course for a new hottest month ever.

Even if temperatures plummeted, which they aren’t forecast to, the average will still likely remain above 16.6C.

A glimpse into the future

July has been so hot scientists are already confident it is the warmest month ever

Tom Clarke

Science and technology editor


It took a moment for this news to sink in.

This isn’t just the hottest July ever recorded, it’s the hottest month ever recorded.

In a way, it should come as no surprise, with the three consecutive heatwaves going on in North America, Europe and China in recent weeks, as well as record-breaking temperatures in the world’s oceans.

But it might not make much sense to those of us living in the UK where we’re certainly not experiencing a record warm month.

The reason for that is the way weather patterns move the planet’s heat around.

Today’s record is a global average temperature, that includes the southern hemisphere where it’s currently winter.

And it’s a significant increase on the previous record. By about 0.3 degrees centigrade. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s sufficient for the World Meteorological Organisation to provisionally declare this record.

Even if there was a significant cooling of the atmosphere over the next five days, it wouldn’t be enough to rob July 2023 of this most dubious title.

What territory are we entering into? Well this July was about 1.5 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average for July.

So it’s a foretaste of what the climate might feel like in a few more decades when the annual average global temperature is expected to pass 1.5 degrees.

A point we will inevitably get to, and then exceed, unless we start to reduce greenhouse gas emissions far more rapidly than we currently are.

July has already seen the hottest three-week period ever recorded; the three hottest days on record; and the highest-ever ocean temperatures for this time of year.

Global average is a useful measure because it smooths out local fluctuations in the weather to give an over-arching view of how the climate has warmed since humans began burning fossil fuels at scale.

Mr Hewitt added: “The weather will continue to vary between hot and cold, wet and dry, windy and not windy. But as the climate warms, you’ll be shifting towards more likelihood for the hot days and warmer conditions.”

This year could bring further individual monthly heat records, he said.

“Over the next few months and throughout this year, we don’t see any respite in this warming at the moment.”

“It looks like the warming for the whole planet will continue this year.”

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Meanwhile, in the UK recent weather has fairly cool.

But the Met Office has now warned the staggering heat of last year, at the time considered extraordinary, will become normal by 2060.

Watch The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 7.30pm on Sky News, on the Sky News website and app, and on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.


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