1 of 3 | The European Union's climate monitor confirmed Tuesday that July was the hottest month on record. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 8 (UPI) -- July 2023 was officially the hottest month ever on planet Earth, punctuated by numerous new heat records across the globe and following a record-setting June, according to research by the European Union's climate monitor.
The study, published Tuesday by Copernicus Climate Change Service, determined that July comprised 29 of the hottest days ever recorded.
The July sizzler began with global surface air temperatures that set new records four days in a row, while all the remaining days of the month were hotter than the previous monthly record of 62.24 degrees set in August 2016, the report said.
Copernicus, which tracks climate data across the globe for the EU, said daily surface air temperatures had risen drastically since 1940, with 2023 outpacing all other years in what's now considered the hottest summer ever on record.
According to the study, the hottest day of the month was July 6, when the average global temperature reached 62.74 degrees, followed by several days of equivalent heat.
While that average temperature may seem relatively balmy, when taken as the global average it indicates the planet is quite warm.
The global average temperature has been elevated since April, and began to reach unprecedented levels around May, leading to a series of alarming reports from the world's climate watchers in the past month.
Scientists attribute the extreme heat to a long period of unusually high sea surface temperatures, echoing a recent report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which blamed carbon emissions for warming the planet continuously for more than half a century.
Another concerning climate report released last week by Copernicus Marine Service called attention to the rapid warming of the Mediterranean Sea, which has caused ocean temperatures in the region to soar to record levels over the past year.
Marine heat waves, which are characterized by prolonged periods of higher-than-normal ocean temperatures, have been occurring more frequently in the 21st century, scientists say.
"Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures," said Copernicus Director Carlo Buontempo. "Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures."
Sweltering conditions around the world are expected to continue for the foreseeable future -- potentially into late fall and the start of winter, according to meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Meteorologists warned previously that an El Nino event was likely to prolong extreme temperatures into the coming months, raising the potential for even more heat records.
Extreme temperatures were still being felt during the first week in August, including in the Southwest United States, Mexico, Southern Europe, China, the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean, with temperatures soaring above 122 degrees in some places.
World temperatures in July also rose above the 1.5-degree threshold put in place by the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set tangible goals for hundreds of nations to lower global warming levels over the next decade.
A recent analysis by World Weather Attribution says extreme world temperatures in July were a likely sign of worsening climate change, and that heat waves were no longer rare but at least 50 times more likely in the modern world.
"The extreme weather which has affected many millions of people in July is, unfortunately, the harsh reality of climate change and a foretaste of the future," said Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. "The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever before. Climate action is not a luxury but a must."