Breaking heat records: June breaches the 1.5°C global temperature level

There is 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years will be the warmest.
Sejal Sharma
Representational image
Representational image


The European Union’s climate monitoring unit has sounded the alarm that 2023 could be the hottest year on record, after the global-mean surface temperature surpassed the 1.5°C threshold in the month of June.

“The world has just experienced its warmest early June on record, following a month of May that was less than 0.1°C cooler than the warmest May on record. Monitoring our climate is more important than ever to determine how often and for how long global temperatures are exceeding 1.5 degrees,” said C3S Deputy Director Samantha Burgess.

Remember, that the Paris Agreement on climate change has laid out the plan to limit global warming to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. 

The global-mean surface air temperature was more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in early June, which is a first for a summer month, said the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

The World Meteorological Organization published a report in May 2023 which said that the global temperatures are set to reach new records in the next five years. It categorically said that there is a 66% likelihood that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be over 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year.

The report further said that there is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.

The warm period at the beginning of June 2023 is an exception

C3S is of the view that as the current El Niño develops, there is reason to expect that global-mean air temperature will again exceed by more than 1.5⁰C in the next twelve months.

El Nino refers to an abnormal warming of surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

This isn’t the first time that global temperatures higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels have been recorded. The 1.5°C threshold was first breached in December 2015, and then repeatedly in the northern hemisphere winters and springs of 2016 and 2020, said the C3S report.

“Every single fraction of a degree matters to avoid even more severe consequences of the climate crisis,” added Burgess.

As the incidents of global-mean temperature continue to take place more frequently than the 1.5⁰C limit, the repercussions of these excesses will become more serious and challenging.

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