June Breaks Heat Record Amidst Year of Climate Extremes, Reports EU Climate Monitor

Last month marked the hottest June on record globally, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). This milestone concludes a half-year characterized by severe and destructive weather, including floods and heatwaves. Each month since June 2023 has shattered its own temperature record in a 13-month streak of unprecedented global heat, highlighting an ongoing shift in our climate.

“This is more than a statistical oddity,” said C3S Director Carlo Buontempo. “Even if this streak ends, new records will inevitably be set as long as heat-trapping gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere.”

The global average temperature last month surpassed the previous June record set in 2023, marking the midway point of a year defined by climate extremes. Scorching heat has affected regions from India to the United States, while relentless rain, linked to a warming planet, caused extensive flooding in countries like Kenya, China, and Brazil. Wildfires ravaged Greece and Canada, and Hurricane Beryl became the earliest Category 5 Atlantic hurricane on record, impacting several Caribbean islands.

Julien Nicolas, a senior scientist at C3S, noted that the streak of record-breaking temperatures coincided with El Niño, a natural phenomenon contributing to global heat. However, ocean temperatures have also been hitting new highs, further exacerbating global temperatures.

The oceans, which cover 70% of Earth’s surface, play a crucial role in climate regulation, absorbing 90% of the extra heat from rising emissions. Sea surface temperatures have hit a milestone of 15 consecutive months of new highs, impacting air temperatures and global averages.

The world is transitioning into a La Niña phase, which has a cooling effect. “Global air temperatures may decrease in the next few months,” said Nicolas. “However, persistent high sea surface temperatures could make 2024 even warmer than 2023, but it’s too early to tell.”

Global air temperatures in the 12 months to June 2024 were the highest on record, averaging 1.64°C above pre-industrial levels. Although this does not mean the 1.5°C warming limit set by the Paris Agreement has been breached, Copernicus estimates an 80% chance that Earth’s annual average temperatures could temporarily exceed this mark in the next five years.