A monkey eats a watermelon in the zoo in Skopje, on July 18, 2023. Due to a heatwave with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius, the workers from Skopje’s zoo prepared and served special frozen food and fruits for the animals.
AFP / Robert Atanasovski
WASHINGTON, United States — July 2023 will probably be the world’s hottest month in “hundreds, if not thousands, of years,” top NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt said Thursday.
This month has already seen daily records shattered according to tools run by the European Union and the University of Maine, which combine ground and satellite data into models to generate preliminary estimates.
Though they differ slightly from one another, the trend of extreme heat is unmistakable and will likely be reflected in the more robust monthly reports issued later by US agencies, said Schmidt in a NASA briefing with reporters.
“We are seeing unprecedented changes all over the world — the heat waves that we’re seeing in the US in Europe and in China are demolishing records, left, right and center,” he added.
What’s more, the effects cannot be attributed solely to the El Nino weather pattern, which “has really only just emerged.”
Though El Nino is playing a small role, “what we’re seeing is the overall warmth, pretty much everywhere, particularly in the oceans. We’ve been seeing record-breaking sea surface temperatures, even outside of the tropics, for many months now.
“And we will anticipate that is going to continue, and the reason why we think that’s going to continue, is because we continue to put greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.”
What is happening right now is increasing the chances that 2023 will be the hottest year on record, which Schmidt currently assigned a “50-50 chance” based on his calculations, though he said other scientists had placed it as high as 80 percent.
“But we anticipate that 2024 will be an even warmer year, because we’re going to be starting off with that El Nino event that’s building now, and that will peak towards the end of this year.”
Schmidt’s warnings come as the world has been buffeted by fires and dire health warnings in the past week, in addition to broken temperature records.