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Summer 2023: the hottest year in the world

Summer 2023: the hottest year in the world

Global mean surface air temperatures of the 30 warmest Arctic summers (June-July-August) in the ERA5 dataset, ordered from lowest to highest temperature – Data: ERA5. Source: C3S/ECMWF.

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Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)carried out by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission, routinely publishes monthly climate bulletins containing reports on observed changes in the world surface air temperature, sea ​​ice And hydrological variables. All reported results are based on computer-generated analyzes using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

Important events during June-July-August 2023:

  • The 2023 June-July-August (JJA) season was the warmest season globally by a wide margin, with an average temperature of 16.77°C, 0.66°C above average.
  • The average European temperature for the summer of 2023 was 19.63°C, and it was 0.83°C above average for the fifth-warmest summer.
  • The period June-July-August 2023 showed record high sea surface temperatures (SST) in the North Atlantic and the world.
  • The summer of 2023 saw marine heat waves in several regions around Europe, such as Ireland and the United Kingdom in June and in the Mediterranean in July and August.
  • June-July-August 2023 saw above-average rainfall across much of Western Europe and Turkey, where local rainfall records triggered flooding. This was also the case in western and northeastern North America, parts of Asia, Chile and Brazil, and northwestern Australia
  • In contrast, Iceland, the Alps, northern Scandinavia, central Europe, most of Asia, Canada, southern North America, and most of South America experienced drier-than-average conditions. In some areas, this has led to major fires

Surface air temperatures in August 2023:


Global average surface air temperature anomalies compared to August 1991-2020 for the months of 1940 to 2023. Data: ERA5. Source: C3S/ECMWF.

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  • August 2023 was the warmest August on record globally, warmer than all other months except July 2023.
  • The global mean surface air temperature of 16.82°C for August 2023 was 0.71°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for August and 0.31°C warmer than the previous warmest month of August 2016.
  • It is estimated that August was about 1.5 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average from 1850 to 1900.
  • Several regions of the northern hemisphere experienced heat waves, especially southern Europe, the southern United States and Japan.
  • And temperatures well above average occurred in Australia, several South American countries, and around large parts of Antarctica.
  • Marine air temperatures were well above average in several other regions.
  • The global temperature anomaly during the first eight months of 2023 (January-August) ranks as the second warmest temperature on record, measuring only 0.01°C compared to 2016, which holds the record.
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Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), commented: “Global temperature records continue to be broken in 2023, with the warmest month in August following the warmest recorded months of July and June, resulting in the warmest Arctic summer in our record dating back to 1940. 2023 is currently the second warmest month, with only 0.01°C behind 2016 and with four months left until the end of the year.August meanwhile saw the world’s oceans record the highest daily surface temperature on record and the warmest month on record.Scientific Evidence IMPRESSIVE – We will continue to see climate records and more frequent and intense extreme weather events impact society and ecosystems until we stop emitting greenhouse gases.

Sea surface temperatures in August 2023:


The global mean daily sea surface temperature (°C) in the region 60°S – 60°N plotted as a time series for each year from January 1, 1979 to August 31, 2023. The years 2023 and 2016 are shown by light red and dark red shaded thick lines on respectively. Other years are shown in thin lines and shaded by knots, from blue (1970s and 1980s) to brick red (1920s). Data: ERA5. Author: C3S/ECMWF.

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  • Global mean sea surface temperatures continued to rise in August, after a prolonged period of unusually high temperatures since April 2023.
  • The daily global mean sea surface temperature exceeded the previous highs recorded in March 2016 every day from July 31 to August 31, 2023.
  • The month of August as a whole saw the highest monthly global mean sea surface temperature on record at 20.98°C, well above the August average, with an anomaly of 0.55°C.
  • Surface temperatures in the North Atlantic on Aug. 5 were higher than the previous record of 24.81°C, which was measured in September 2022, and have remained above that level nearly every day since. A new high of 25.19°C was measured on August 31.
  • Marine heat waves developed in the North Atlantic Ocean west of the Iberian Peninsula, but have receded across most of the Mediterranean.
  • The El Niño effect continued to develop over the eastern equatorial Pacific.

State of sea ice in August 2023

  • Antarctic sea ice volume remained at a record low for the season, with its monthly value 12 percent below average, the largest negative deviation ever for the month of August since satellite observations began.
  • Sea ice concentrations showed the largest below-average deviations in the northern Ross Sea and in the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans, while higher-than-average concentrations predominated in the Bellingshausen-Amundsen Sea sector.
  • Arctic sea ice extent has been below average for longer than it was in July, 10 percent below average, but well above the record low set in August 2012.
  • While most of the central Arctic Ocean had below-average concentrations of sea ice, an area of ​​above-average concentrations remained north of the Kara and Laptev Seas.
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Hydrological Highlights for August 2023:

  • August 2023 was wetter than average across much of Central Europe and Scandinavia, often with heavy rains that lead to flooding. The weather was also wetter than average over the longitudinal term in Eastern Europe.
  • In the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, Iceland and most of eastern Europe, including the southern Balkans, the weather was drier than usual, with fires raging in France, Greece, Italy and Portugal.
  • The weather was wetter than usual in northeastern and western North America, as Hurricane Hillary battered California and western Mexico, causing flooding. The weather was also wetter than average across much of Asia, with rain causing landslides in Tajikistan and parts of Chile and Brazil.
  • The weather was drier than normal in the southern United States, northern Mexico, latitudes across Asia, and large parts of South America.

More information on sea surface temperatures in August 2023 is available here.

More information about weather changes in August, climate updates from previous months, and downloadable HD graphics and video here.

Answers to frequently asked questions about temperature monitoring are available here.

* The global sea surface temperature (SST) results presented here are based on ERA5 SST data averaged over a range of 60°S to 60°N. Note that the ERA5 SSTs are estimates of the ocean temperature at a depth of about 10 meters (known as the core temperature). Results, for example. The peak date in 2023 may differ from other SST services that provide temperature estimates at different depths, such as NOAA’s OISST 20 cm deep.

Information about the C3S dataset and how it is compiled:

Temperature and hydrology maps and data are from ERA5 data of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Sea ice maps and data drawn from a combination of information from ERA5, as well as from EUMETSAT OSI SAF Sea Ice Index v2.1, Sea Ice Concentration CDR/ICDR v2 and fast-track data provided on request by OSI SAF.

The listed regional averages have the following latitude/longitude limits: Whole Earth, 180W-180E, 90S-90N. Total Europe, 25W-40E, 34N-72N, Overland only.

More information is available here.

Information on national data and their impact

Information on national data and impact is based on national and regional reports. For more details see the temperature and hydrology of the respective month C3S Climate Bulletin.

The C3S Committee followed the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommendation to use the last 30 years for calculating climate averages and changed it to the 1991-2020 reference period for its C3S climate bulletins covering January 2021 onwards. Figures and graphics for both the new and previous period (1981-2010) have been provided for transparency.

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More information is available on the reference period used here.

About Copernicus and the ECMWF

Copernicus is part of the European Union’s space program, which is funded by the European Union and is its main program for Earth observation. The company operates through six thematic services: atmospheric, marine, terrestrial, climate change, security, and emergencies. It provides freely available operational data and services that provide users with reliable and up-to-date information about our planet and its environment. The program is coordinated and managed by the European Commission and implemented in partnership with Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). EU Agencies, Mercator Ocean and others.

The ECMWF operates two services of the European Union’s Copernicus Earth observation programme: the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They also contribute to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS), which is implemented by the European Union’s Joint Research Council (JRC). The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organization supported by 35 countries. It is a 24/7 research institute and operational service that produces and disseminates numerical weather forecasts to its member states. This data is fully available to the National Meteorological Services of the Member States. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archive) at the ECMWF is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and member states can use 25 percent of its capacity for their own purposes..

ECMWF has expanded the number of locations in which it operates. In addition to the UK headquarters and computing center in Italy, new offices focusing on activities carried out in partnership with the European Union, such as Copernicus, will be based in Bonn, Germany.

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Copernicus Climate Change Service Network
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