June warmest on record, 12th consecutive month that breached 1.5 deg C threshold: EU agency

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) With millions of people across five continents experiencing scorching heat last month, the European Union's climate agency, Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), confirmed on Monday that June was the warmest on record.

It also marked the 12th consecutive month of global temperatures reaching or breaking the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.

According to C3S ERA5 data, every month since June last year has been the warmest such month on record.

In January, the world completed an entire year with the mean surface air temperature exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold. June was the 12th consecutive month with monthly average temperatures above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average.

At the 2015 UN climate talks in Paris, world leaders committed to limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. However, a permanent breach of the 1.5-degree Celsius limit specified in the Paris Agreement refers to long-term warming over a 20- or 30-year period.

Earth's global surface temperature has already increased by around 1.2 degrees Celsius compared to the average in 1850-1900 due to the rapidly-increasing concentration of greenhouse gases -- primarily carbon dioxide and methane -- in the atmosphere. This warming is considered to be the reason behind record droughts, wildfires and floods worldwide.

According to the EU's climate agency data, June 2024 was the warmest on record, with an average surface air temperature of 16.66 degrees Celsius, 0.67 degree Celsius above the 1991-2020 average for the month and 0.14 degree Celsius above the previous high set in June 2023.

"The month was 1.5 degrees Celsius above the estimated June average for 1850-1900, the designated pre-industrial reference period, making it the 12th consecutive month to reach or break the 1.5-degree threshold," C3S said in a statement.

It was also the 13th consecutive month of record-high temperatures, a result of the combined effect of the 2023-24 El Nino event and human-caused climate change. While unusual, a similar streak of monthly global temperature records happened previously in 2015-16.

"This is more than a statistical oddity and highlights a large and continuing shift in our climate. Even if this specific streak of extremes ends at some point, we are bound to see new records being broken as the climate continues to warm. This is inevitable, unless we stop adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the oceans," said Carlo Buontempo, the director of C3S.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said the latest figures from the C3S unfortunately highlight that "we will be exceeding the 1.5 degrees Celsius level on a temporary basis" with increasing frequency, on a monthly basis. "However, it is important to stress that temporary breaches do not mean that the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal is permanently lost because this refers to long-term warming over at least two decades," she said.

The EU climate agency said the global average temperature for the last 12 months (July 2023-June 2024) is the highest on record, at 0.76 degree Celsius above the 1991-2020 average and 1.64 degrees Celsius above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average.

The world's sea surface temperature (SST) in June was also the highest ever recorded for the month. This is the fifteenth month in a row that the SST has been the warmest in the ERA5 data record for the respective month of the year.

Several countries experienced record-breaking heat and devastating floods and storms in June.

According to an analysis by Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and communicators based in the United States, more than 60 per cent of the world population faced extreme heat that was made at least three times more likely by climate change during June 16-24.

Climate Central said the blistering heat in June impacted 619 million (61.9 crore) people in India, 579 million (57.9 crore) in China, 231 million (23.1 crore) in Indonesia, 206 million (20.6 crore) in Nigeria, 176 million (17.6 crore) in Brazil, 171 million (17.1 crore) in Bangladesh, 165 million (16.5 crore) in the US, 152 million (15.2 crore) in Europe, 123 million (12.3 crore) in Mexico, 121 million (12.1 crore) in Ethiopia and 103 million (10.3 crore) in Egypt.

“June witnessed widespread and prolonged heat waves in many countries, with major impacts on all aspects of people’s life. This was even before the traditional peak of the northern hemisphere summer, which will undoubtedly see more extreme heat. The record sea surface temperatures are of great concern to vital marine ecosystems and they also provide energy to super-charge tropical cyclones – as we saw with Hurricane Beryl,” said WMO Secretary-General Saulo.

Temperatures were mostly above average over eastern Canada, the western United States and Mexico, Brazil, northern Siberia, the Middle East, northern Africa, and western Antarctica.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), northwest India recorded its warmest June since 1901.

India, which experienced one of its longest heatwaves, recorded more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases and over 100 heat-related deaths.

According to the IMD, 11 states recorded 20 to 38 heatwave days -- up to four times the usual number of such days -- during the April-June period. The mercury breached 50 degrees Celsius in parts of Rajasthan, with night temperatures hovering around 35 degrees Celsius in many places. PTI GVS GVS KVK KVK

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