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We’ve just had a year in which every month was a record-setter

A red and orange background, with a thermometer representing extreme heat in the center.

Enlarge (credit: Uma Shankar sharma)

June 2023 did not seem like an exceptional month at the time. It was the warmest June in the instrumental temperature record, but monthly records haven’t exactly been unusual in a period where the top 10 warmest years on record have all occurred within the last 15 years. And monthly records have often occurred in years that are otherwise unexceptional; at the time, the warmest July on record had occurred in 2019, a year that doesn’t stand out much from the rest of the past decade.

But July 2023 set another monthly record, easily eclipsing 2019’s high temperatures. Then August set yet another monthly record. And so has every single month since, a string of records that propelled 2023 to the warmest year since we started keeping track.

Yesterday, the European Union’s Copernicus Earth-monitoring service announced that we’ve now gone a full year where every single month has been the warmest version of that month since we’ve had enough instruments in place to track global temperatures.

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