The world had its warmest August in at least 174 years, increasing the odds that 2023 will go down as one of the hottest years on record.
(Bloomberg) — The world had its warmest August in at least 174 years, increasing the odds that 2023 will go down as one of the hottest years on record.
Asia, Africa, North America and South America each had their warmest August in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s data. Last month also set a new benchmark for the highest monthly sea-surface temperatures, extending a string of record highs for the world’s oceans to five months, the US agency said Thursday in a statement. Widespread heat meant 13% of the Earth’s surface sweltered in record warmth in August, the highest percentage going back to 1951.
Global surface temperatures from January to August rank as the second-warmest on record for the period, and NOAA now predicts a 95% chance that 2023 will rank among the two warmest years on record.
The heat has taxed power grids and agriculture the world over and led to deadly heat waves. Higher temperatures fueled extreme weather events, including a spate of hurricanes and typhoons that ravaged China and the US in recent weeks. Eight of the 19 storms that formed in August had winds that touched 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more, matching 2015 for the most on record for the month.
This year’s heat is getting a boost from a growing El Niño in the Pacific, but the long-term trend has seen the last 44 years post temperatures higher than the 20th-century average.
“As long as emissions continue driving a steady march of background warming, we expect further records to be broken in years to come,” said Sarah Kapnick, one of NOAA’s chief scientists.
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