The United Nations weather agency announced on Wednesday that Earth has just experienced its hottest three months ever recorded. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement alongside the release of the latest data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) by the World Meteorological Organization, warning that the scorching summer is a clear sign of climate breakdown.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the WMO, urgently assessed the data and highlighted the northern hemisphere’s summer of extreme heatwaves, which led to devastating wildfires, health issues, disruptions to daily life, and long-lasting environmental damage. In the southern hemisphere, the shrinking of Antarctic Sea ice reached unprecedented levels, and global sea surface temperatures hit a new record.
The WMO report, combining Copernicus data and information from five other global monitoring organizations, confirmed that August was the hottest on record by a significant margin, both on land and in global monthly average sea surface temperatures. The U.K.’s Met Office also warned of a 98% likelihood that one of the next five years will be the warmest on record.
According to Copernicus data, 2023 is on track to become the hottest year on record, currently trailing only behind 2016 in temperature records. Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, noted that as of August, 2023 is only slightly cooler than 2016, with August being approximately 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial levels.
U.N. Secretary-General Guterres stressed the urgency of the situation, stating, “We can still avoid the worst consequences of climate chaos, but we must act without delay.”