Last month was the third-hottest June on record globally, temperature data suggest, confirming 2017 will almost certainly make a hat-trick of annual climate records, with 2015, 2016 and 2017 being the three hottest years since records began, the Guardian reports.
The figures also cement estimations that warming is now at levels not seen for 115,000 years, and leave some experts with little hope for limiting warming to 1.5°C or even 2°C.
According to new figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), June 2017 was the third-hottest June on record, beaten only by the two preceding Junes in 2015 and 2016.
The Noaa data show combined land and sea-surface temperatures for June 2017 were 0.82°C above the 20th century average, making a string of 41 consecutive Junes above that average.
June 2016 still holds the record at 0.92°C above the 20th century average, followed by June 2015 which was 0.89°C above the baseline.
The data line up closely with Nasa figures released last week, which are calculated slightly differently, finding the month was the fourth-hottest on record – with June 1998 also being warmer in their data set.
Based on the Nasa data, climate scientist and director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Gavin Schmidt estimated that 2017 was probably going to be the second-warmest year on record after 2016, but would almost certainly be among the top three hottest years.
The June data see all of the first six months of 2017 sitting among the three warmest months on record, making it the second-hottest first half of a year on record – again, beaten only by the previous year.
The near-record temperatures continued this year despite the passing of El Nino, which normally warms the globe, and its opposite – La Nina – currently suppressing temperatures.
The warming trend is almost certainly caused by greenhouse gas emissions – mostly the result of burning fossil fuels – with many studies showing such warm years would be almost impossible without that effect.