After the official declaration of the emerging El Niño and last month’s record sea-surface temperatures, the first eleven days of this month registered the highest temperatures on record for this time of the year. Moreover, this has been the first time that global surface air temperatures have exceeded the pre-industrial level by more than 1.5⁰C during the month of June. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) monitors how often daily global temperatures have exceeded this limit, given that it is a good indicator of how fast we are approaching the 1.5⁰C threshold set in the Paris Agreement.
(a) Global-mean temperature (⁰C) averaged for each day of ERA5 from 1 January 1940 to 11June 2023, plotted as time series for each year, with years from 2015 onwards distinguished by colour. The dashed and dotted lines denote values that are respectively 1.5⁰C and 2⁰C above the 1850-1900 reference values taken to represent pre-industrial levels. (b) Global-mean temperatures for 2016, 2020 and parts of 2015 and 2023 expressed as differences (⁰C) from 1850-1900 levels.
Despite being the first time this limit has been surpassed in June, this is not the first time that the daily global average temperature rise has been above the 1.5⁰C level. This threshold was first exceeded during December 2015, and exceeded repeatedly in the winters and springs of 2016 and 2020. Additionally, it is important to note that the 1.5⁰C limit established by the Paris Agreement is not yet surpassed, as it was set for changes in twenty or thirty-year averages, not for brief periods of time such as days or months. A deeper analysis of the placement of early June temperatures within the historical record can be found in this article. C3S will publish an analysis for the whole month of June in its upcoming monthly bulletin.
Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), comments: “The world has just experienced its warmest early June on record, following a month of May that was less than 0.1°C cooler than the warmest May on record. Monitoring our climate is more important than ever to determine how often and for how long rises in global temperatures are exceeding 1.5°C. Every single fraction of a degree matters to avoid even more severe consequences of the climate crisis”.