Global temperatures have accelerated to record-setting levels this month, an ominous sign in the climate crisis ahead of a gathering El Nino that could potentially propel 2023 to become the hottest year ever recorded.
Preliminary global average temperatures taken so far in June are nearly 1 degree Celsius above levels previously recorded for the same month, going back to 1979, the Guardian reported.
While the month is not yet complete and may not set a new June record, climate scientists say it follows a pattern of strengthening global heating that could see this year named the hottest ever recorded, topping 2016.
The long-term warming conditions caused by the burning of fossil fuels will likely receive a further pulse of heat via El Nino, a naturally reoccurring phenomenon where sections of the Pacific Ocean heat up, typically causing temperatures to spike across the world.
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said El Nino conditions are now present and will “gradually strengthen” into early next year.
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said human-caused warming will be exacerbated by an event that typically adds between 0.1-0.2 degrees to the overall global temperature.
“The global surface temperature anomaly is at or near record levels right now, and 2023 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record,” the Guardian quoted Mann as saying.
“That is likely to be true for just about every El Nino year in the future as well, as long as we continue to warm the planet with fossil fuel burning and carbon pollution.”
Mika Rantanen, a Finnish meteorologist, said that the spiking heat so far this month is “extraordinary” and that it is “pretty certain” it will result in a record warm June, the Guardian reported.