The United Nations weather agency declared that Earth has just endured its hottest three months ever recorded, with dire warnings about the onset of climate breakdown.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a stark message alongside the release of data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), stating, “The dog days of summer are not just barking, they are biting.”
Guterres continued, emphasizing the gravity of the situation: “Our planet has just endured a season of simmering — the hottest summer on record. Climate breakdown has begun.” This urgent assessment was echoed by Petteri Taalas, the WMO’s Secretary-General, who reported that the northern hemisphere experienced a summer characterized by extreme heatwaves, triggering devastating wildfires, health crises, disruptions to daily life, and lasting environmental damage.
In the southern hemisphere, the situation was no less concerning. Taalas noted that the seasonal shrinkage of Antarctic Sea ice was “literally off the charts,” while global sea surface temperatures once again reached new record levels.
The comprehensive WMO report, incorporating data from five global monitoring organizations, revealed that August was the hottest on record, both on land and in terms of global monthly average sea surface temperatures, surpassing previous records by a significant margin. The U.K.’s Met Office, a government weather agency, even warned of a 98% likelihood that one of the next five years will set a new record for warmth.
Furthermore, Copernicus data has placed 2023 on a trajectory to become the hottest year on record. As of now, it closely follows the record set in 2016, with Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (ECMWF), noting that August was approximately 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial levels.
Amidst this alarming news, U.N. Secretary-General Guterres delivered a message of urgency, stating, “We can still avoid the worst of climate chaos. We don’t have a moment to lose.” His plea underscores the critical need for immediate action to mitigate the ongoing climate crisis.