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Last month was the hottest June ever recorded — as climate groups warn of an 'ecological emergency'

Key Points
  • Data provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), showed global average temperatures for June 2019 were the highest on record for the month.
  • The C3S team said summer had "barely begun" but temperature records were already being broken.
  • They added it was "difficult" to directly attribute the record-breaking warm weather to climate change but did warn that such extreme weather events were expected to become more common.
VIDEO2:0502:05
Summer heatwaves show climate change impact is already here: Academic

Soaring temperatures worldwide made last month the hottest June ever recorded, according to data collected by the EU's satellite agency.

Data provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), which is tasked with providing comprehensive climate information for the EU, showed global average temperatures for June 2019 were the highest on record for the month.

In Europe, average continental temperatures ranged approximately 1 degree Celsius (33.8 Fahrenheit) above the previous record for June, set in 1999.

The data also showed European average temperatures were around 2 degrees Celsius hotter than normal and temperatures were 6 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius above normal over most of France, Germany and northern Spain during the final days of June.

The global average temperature was 0.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous June record, set in 2016.

Heatwave

The C3S team said summer had "barely begun" but temperature records were already being broken. They added it was "difficult" to directly attribute the record-breaking warm weather to climate change but did warn that such extreme weather events were expected to become more common.

Jean-Noel Thepaut, head of C3S, said that while local temperatures may have been lower or higher than those forecast, temperatures across the southwestern region of Europe during the last week of June were "unusually high."

Much of Europe was engulfed in a sweltering heatwave during the final few days of June, with the mercury climbing to 44.3 degrees Celsius in France's southern Vaucluse region. It marked the highest temperature in France since records began, with the previous record of 44.1 degrees Celsius coming after the deadly heatwave of 2003.

Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic also recorded their highest temperatures for June last week.

Although the continental heatwave was "exceptional," Thepaut said in a statement that "we are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change."

Climate crisis

The record-breaking heatwave that struck France and other European countries last month was made at least five times more likely by climate change, scientists at the World Weather Attribution group said in a separate report published Tuesday.

Such heatwaves are estimated to be about 4 degrees Celsius hotter than a century ago, the same report added.

"The record-breaking high temperatures for June 2019 in Europe and Asia are examples of frightening trends that are indicative of the present global heating. The evidence couldn't be more clear — we are in a climate and ecological emergency," a spokesperson from British climate group Extinction Rebellion told CNBC via email on Wednesday.

"Action by people and governments is needed right now if we are to steer ourselves towards a sustainable future. It is time to emphasize our common humanity, set aside differences and act to save a habitable earth for our children and all of nature," they added.

People cool down in the fountains of Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower during a heatwave in Paris, France on June 29, 2019.
Mustafa Yalcin | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Looking ahead, as U.S. citizens prepare to celebrate Independence Day on Thursday, the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information said that July is usually "the hottest month of the year for the contiguous United States."

The month is also the second month of the North Atlantic hurricane season and is the fourth most active month for tornadoes.

The July temperature for the contiguous United States has warmed at an average rate of 1.1 Fahrenheit per century since 1895, the national information centers said. Since 1950, the rate of change is just more than double that at 2.3 Fahrenheit per century.