NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) has declared the summer of 2023 as the hottest on record since global observations began in 1880. The months of June, July, and August collectively were 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (0.23 degrees Celsius) warmer than any previous summer in NASA's records, with August alone being 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) above the average.
This record-breaking heat has been responsible for extreme weather events around the world, from devastating wildfires in Canada and Hawaii to blistering heatwaves in South America, Japan, Europe, and the United States. It's also been linked to severe rainfall in Italy, Greece, and Central Europe.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson emphasized the real-world consequences of these record-setting temperatures, highlighting the threats to lives and livelihoods globally. He stressed the urgency of addressing climate change and its impacts.
The exceptional heat during the summer of 2023 can be attributed in part to exceptionally high sea surface temperatures, partly driven by the return of the El Niño phenomenon. El Niño is characterized by warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.