2023 on track to be the hottest year as September shatters heat records

CNNThe Northern Hemisphere may be transitioning into fall, but there has been no let up from extreme heat. New data shows last month was the hottest September – the fourth consecutive month of such unprecedented heat – putting 2023 firmly on track to be the hottest year in recorded history.

September beat the previous monthly record set in 2020 by a staggering 0.5 degrees Celsius, according to data released Wednesday by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. There has never been a month so abnormally hot since Copernicus’ records began in 1940.

“The unprecedented temperatures for the time of year observed in September – following a record summer – have broken records by an extraordinary amount,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, in a statement.

September felt more like an abnormally hot July with an average global air temperature of 16.38 degrees Celsius (61.45 Fahrenheit), making the month 0.93 degrees Celsius hotter than the 1991 to 2020 average, and 1.75 degrees Celsius hotter than the September average for the pre-industrial era, before the world started burning large amounts of fossil fuels.

That’s well above the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold to which countries aim to limit global warming under the Paris Climate Agreement. While that agreement focuses on longterm average temperatures, September’s abnormal heat – which followed the hottest summer ever recorded – has given a preview of what the world can expect as soaring temperatures supercharge extreme weather.

September alone brought devastating flooding that killed thousands in Libya and dozens across Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. Canada grappled with its unprecedented wildfire season, parts of South America were scorched by record-breaking heat and record rainfall deluged New York.