Smoke from wildfires in Canada worsen air quality in Manhattan, New York. (06/30/2023) Photo: Ed Jones/AFP

According to the report of Copernicus Climate Change Service, supported by the European Union, the month of June 2023 was the warmest on record worldwide. Air and sea temperatures controlled alarming levels, with an increase of just over 0.5°C over the 1991-2020 average. This amount surpassed the previous record, recorded in June 2019, by a substantial margin.

The analyzes performed by Copernicus are based on billions of data from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the globe. According to the report, Europe saw record temperatures during the month, while parts of North America, Asia and eastern Australia also experienced significantly higher than normal temperatures for the time of year.

Global warming also had an impact on sea temperatures, which reached a new record high in June. Long-term changes and the El Niño weather phenomenon compounded this increase, which resulted in extreme marine heatwaves in the North Atlantic, affecting regions such as Ireland, the UK and the Baltic Sea. Additionally, Antarctic sea ice reached the lowest extent ever observed since the satellite teams began, at 17% below average.

Death from Intense Heat in the United States and Mexico

Unfortunately, the consequences of these extreme events are not just limited to temperature records. In the United States, at least 13 people lost their lives due to the heat wave that has consumed the country in recent weeks. The south of the state of Texas, on the border with Mexico, was especially affected, with 11 of the victims being from this region.

Additionally, air quality has deteriorated due to wildfires in Canada, which experts attribute to climate change. The thermal sensation reached 45ºC in some areas of the south of the country.

In Mexico, more than a hundred people died between June 12 and 25 due to the extreme heat that affects the northern regions of the country. During this period, more than a thousand emergencies were reported that could be linked to high temperatures. Of these, 104 caused deaths, according to a report by the health department published on June 28.

Authorities had already reported another eight deaths from April 14 to May 31, adding up to 112 deaths, among 1,559 cases registered since the start of the hot season on March 19.

This week the maximum temperature was recorded in Aconchi, Sonora, with 49º Celsius, according to the Secretary of Health.

Weather conditions are out of control

Faced with this worrying scenario, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, said that climate change is out of control and that “we are heading towards a catastrophic situation”. He confirmed the consecutive temperature records achieved recently and warned of the need for fundamental measures to be adopted immediately. The global average temperature recorded in June was 16.51 degrees Celsius, 0.53 degrees above the last three decades, surpassing the previous record set in 2019.

Scientists have been warning for months that 2023 will be a year of record heat, with a tendency to worsen in 2024. The high temperatures of the surface of the oceans are one of the main factors for these alarming records, being influenced both by climate change and by the El Niño, which has global and regional effects and is responsible for years considered dry or very dry.

The UN confirmed the return of El Niño on Tuesday (4), a phenomenon that was responsible for the hottest year on record in 2016.

The concern with climate change is evident, since the impacts are felt not only in terms of temperature, but also in air quality, the occurrence of natural disasters and the loss of human lives. The need for urgent actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change is becoming increasingly evident in order to avoid a catastrophic future for the planet.


with agencies


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