“The world just had the hottest week on record, according to preliminary data,” the WMO said in a statement, after climate change and the early stages of the El Nino weather pattern drove the warmest June on record.
It’s the latest in a series of records halfway through a year that has already seen a drought in Spain and fierce heat waves in China as well the United States.
“We are in uncharted territory and we can expect more records to fall as El Nino develops further and these impacts will extend into 2024,” said Christopher Hewitt, WMO Director of Climate Services.
“This is worrying news for the planet.”
Last week the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources said the number of wildfires in the country—more than 670 on Friday—was “off the charts” with a long and difficult summer ahead.
Smoke from the fires so far this season has fouled the air in Canada and neighboring United States, affecting more than 100 million people.
In the US, Texas is experiencing a prolonged “heat dome” in which warm air is trapped in the atmosphere like a convection oven, while in Europe, Spain is bracing for its second heatwave in a matter of weeks.
In southern Iraq, the fabled marshland is suffering its worst heatwave in the past 40 years, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said on Monday, warning of a “devastating impact” on the ecosystem as well as local farmers and fisheries.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said “the situation we are witnessing now is the demonstration that climate change is out of control”.
The world has warmed an average of nearly 1.2 C since the mid-1800s, unleashing extreme weather including more intense heatwaves, more severe droughts in some areas and storms made fiercer by rising seas.
In June, global sea surface temperatures hit unprecedented levels, while Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest extent for the month since satellite observations began, at 17 percent below average, breaking the previous June record by a substantial margin.