July 2023 is likely to be the hottest month the world has experienced in hundreds, if not thousands, of years, according to NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt. Daily temperature records have already been shattered this month, as reported by the European Union and the University of Maine, which analyse ground and satellite data to provide preliminary estimates.
The trend of extreme heat is unmistakable, with the US agencies’ more comprehensive monthly reports expected to confirm this soon, as stated by Schmidt during a NASA briefing with reporters. Unprecedented heat waves are being witnessed in the US, Europe, and China, smashing records left, right, and center.
While the El Niño weather pattern is playing a small role, Schmidt emphasised that the overall warming is evident worldwide, particularly in the oceans. Sea surface temperatures have been breaking records for several months now, even outside the tropics. The primary cause behind these changes is the continuous release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The current situation is raising the likelihood of 2023 becoming the hottest year on record, with Schmidt estimating a 50-50 chance, though other scientists have placed the probability as high as 80%. However, the outlook for 2024 is even more concerning, as it is expected to be an even warmer year, with an El Nino event building up and peaking toward the year’s end.
Amidst Schmidt’s warnings, the world has been experiencing devastating wildfires, health concerns, and broken temperature records in the past week. The urgency to address the issue of climate change has never been more apparent.