Earth has experienced its warmest August on record, says NOAA
Several continents simultaneously saw record-high temperatures last month.
Earth experienced its warmest August on record, in a continuation of extreme heat records being broken in 2023, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Record-warm temperatures covered nearly 13% of the world's surface last month, the highest percentage since records began in 1951, NOAA announced in its monthly global climate advisory. Asia, Africa, North America and South America each saw their warmest August on record, while Europe and Oceania, the latter encompassing Australia and neighboring island nations, each had their second-warmest August on record.
The August global surface temperature was 2.25 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 60.1 degrees, which is .52 degrees above the previous record set in August 2016 and the third-highest monthly temperature anomaly of any month on record, according to NOAA.
Additionally, last month was the 45th-consecutive August and the 534th-consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.
August 2023 also set a record for the highest monthly sea surface temperature anomaly, about a 1.85-degree Fahrenheit increase, according to NOAA.
Nineteen named storms, eight of which reached major tropical cyclone strength with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph, occurred across the globe in August, which is tied for the third most for August since 1981, according to NOAA.
While global marine heat waves and a growing El Nino are driving additional warming this year, greenhouse gas emissions are the culprit behind a steady march of background warming, NOAA chief scientist Sarah Kapnick said in a statement.
"We expect further records to be broken in the years to come," Kapnick said.
Earth was hot for the entire summer season, with the period of June through August also the warmest on record for the planet, according to NOAA.
Antarctica has also seen its fourth consecutive month with the lowest sea ice extent, or coverage, on record.
Global sea ice extent was also at a record low in August, according to NOAA. Globally, sea ice extent in August 2023 was about 550,000 square miles less than the previous record low, seen in August 2019.