PARIS, France– The world is on track for its hottest July since measurements began, the European Union's climate observatory told AFP Wednesday, as prolonged heatwaves worsened by climate change roasted three continents.
"The first 15 days of July have been the warmest 15 days on record... July is on track to be the warmest July on record," said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service(C3S).
It was the latest in a series of temperature records to fall after human-caused climate change and the early stages of the El Nino weather pattern drove the warmest June on record. C3S's data series goes back to 1940.
"Climate change is warming up the entire climate system. And this year in particular, on top of this trend we have two phenomena that are likely to play a role," he said: El Nino and unusually high ocean temperatures linked to weaker than normal winds.
Asia, Europe and North America are sweltering through protracted heatwaves, and wildfires have struck Canada and Greece.
As well as withering crops, melting glaciers and raising the risk of wildfires, higher-than-normal temperatures cause health problems ranging from heatstroke and dehydration to cardiovascular stress.
The world has warmed an average of nearly 1.2 C since the mid-1800s, unleashing extreme weather including more intense heatwaves, more severe droughts in some areas and storms made fiercer by rising seas.
El Nino is a naturally occurring pattern that drives increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.