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July to be hottest month on record as UN warns of ‘global boiling’

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July is on track to be the hottest month in recorded history, scientists confirmed on Thursday, as UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Earth has moved into an “era of global boiling”.

Searing heat intensified by global warming has affected tens of millions of people in parts of Europe, Asia and North America this month, combined with fierce wildfires that have scorched across Canada and parts of southern Europe.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,” said Guterres, urging immediate and bold action to cut planet-heating emissions.

“The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.”

With the first three weeks of July already registering global average temperatures above any comparative period, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said it is “extremely likely” that July 2023 will be the hottest month on records going back to the 1940s.

Carlo Buontempo, Director of C3S, said the temperatures in the period had been “remarkable”, with an anomaly so large that scientists are confident the record has been shattered even before the month ends.

Beyond these official records, he said proxy data for the climate going back further — like tree rings or ice cores — suggests the temperatures seen in the period could be “unprecedented in our history in the last few thousand years”.

Possibly even longer “on the order of 100,000 years”, he said.

About 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming since the late 1800s, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, has made heatwaves hotter, longer and more frequent, as well as intensifying other weather extremes like storms and floods.

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