This year’s record-breaking temperatures across the globe

The text 'This year’s record-breaking temperatures across the globe' is in white text in a circle around a central graphic of the globe. The background is grey and the globe is shades of grey and orange.

Scientists say that this year’s record-breaking temperatures across the globe are no coincidence. The warmest eight years in history have all taken place since 2015 with 2016, 2019, and 2020 taking the top three spots up until now. Global temperatures are rising, and this is a clear sign of climate change.

While we don’t know exactly what will happen in the future, scientists say that if we continue to emit greenhouse gases into our atmosphere at current rates, global warming will continue to rise to a dangerous temperature, which will have catastrophic consequences.  

If greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, scientists predict that by 2100 annual global average surface temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Currently, we’re on track to surpass +1.5oc of warming in coming years, which is the target set by scientists that would allow us to avoid the worst effects on our ecosystems, food production and infrastructure.

Extreme weather events

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. This year, countries around the world have experienced extreme weather patterns, from record-breaking droughts to wildfires.

  • Droughts can cause significant damage to crops, leading to food shortages for millions of people around the world.
  • Hurricanes destroy homes and businesses, leaving behind debris that prevents cities from functioning properly.
  • Floods destroy roads and bridges while contaminating drinking water supplies.
  • Wildfires cause havoc on residents’ health and homes, as well as momentous damage to wildlife.

Record breaking temperatures in 2023

We’ve seen massive increases in temperatures across the globe so far this year, with June 2023 being the hottest June on record, according to NASA.

A map of the world highlighting areas in which the temperature anomaly is up to +3oc. Most of the map is covered in different shades of red with minimal pale blue areas.

As July goes on, we’ve seen some of the hottest days since records began, with even hotter days expected to come over summer. The Chief of Climate Monitoring at WMO has said that the first week in July could be considered the warmed period ever recorded, as the average temperature for the week sat at above 17oc, hotter than last year’s record of 16.9oc.

Highest ever sea temperature

As well as temperatures surpassing records almost day-on-day, one thing many scientists are particularly concerned about is the rate the sea temperature is rising. Parts of Europe saw the median surface temperature of the Mediterranean reach 28.7oc, potentially a massive threat to marine life. Across the globe, sea temperatures of up to 38.4oc were recorded this month in the US, a massive jump from the expected 23-32oc average.

Climate scientists are concerned about the increasing frequency of record-breaking heat, which they say could be an indication that the climate emergency is already taking place. If carbon emissions aren’t cut back drastically, they fear that there could be more extreme weather events in the future.