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World breaches 1.5°C mark for 12th consecutive month in June

This year is on track to become the warmest on record as temperatures across the globe exceed the highest-ever global average

World breaches 1.5°C mark for 12th consecutive month in June
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

With record-breaking global temperatures, the world saw its hottest June in 2024, making it the 12th consecutive month to either reach or break the 1.5°C threshold, according to a report by the European Union’s (EU) climate monitoring agency.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), in its monthly bulletin, reported that the average surface air temperature hit 16.66°C in June, which was 0.67°C above the average from the past couple of decades for the month, and 0.14°C higher than June 2023.

This marks an addition to the thirteen-month streak of the highest global temperatures for the respective months of the year.

“This is more than a statistical oddity and it highlights a large and continuing shift in our climate,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the C3S.

“Even if this specific streak of extremes ends at some point, we are bound to see new records being broken as the climate continues to warm. This is inevitable, unless we stop adding GHG into the atmosphere and the oceans,” he added.

Temperatures across the globe exceeded the highest ever global-average from July 2023 to June 2024, 0.76°C above the average from 1991-2020 and 1.64°C higher than pre-industrial times.

For Europe, June 2024 was the joint-second warmest recorded June, with temperatures soaring 1.57°C above the 1991-2020 norm. 

The heat wasn’t evenly distributed though, with southern European countries like Turkey feeling the hottest, while western European nations of Iceland and northwestern Russia observed cooler temperatures.

Globally, the heat wasn’t confined to Europe. Eastern Canada, the western US and Mexico, Brazil, northern Siberia, the Middle East, northern Africa, and even western Antarctica all experienced above-average temperatures.

Air temperatures over many ocean regions also remained unusually high, despite a developing La Niña weather pattern in the eastern equatorial Pacific region which is supposed to bring relief and cool global temperatures.

It is important to note that while the Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst climate impacts, a “permanent breach” of this limit entails a sustained period of warming exceeding 1.5°C, averaged over the next 20 or 30 years.

“These latest figures from the Copernicus Climate Change Service unfortunately highlight that we will be exceeding the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency, on a monthly basis,” said Celeste Saulo, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

“However, it is important to stress that temporary breaches do not mean that the 1.5°C goal is permanently lost because this refers to long-term warming over at least two decades,” she added.

The Paris Agreement took effect in 2016 after discussions at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in 2015, where world leaders formally endorsed efforts to limit global average surface temperature increase to 1.5°C by the end of the century. 

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