People are being exposed to ever more frequent and intense extreme events, the Copernicus Climate Change Service has warned.
July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, according to the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
Last month, average temperatures were roughly a third of a degree higher than the previous record set in 2019. Records are usually only broken by tenths or hundredths of a degree.
South America and much of Antarctica experienced temperatures well above average while countries across the northern hemisphere - including in southern Europe - saw sweltering heatwaves.
"2023 is currently the third warmest year to date at 0.43ºC above the recent average, with the average global temperature in July at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels," says Samantha Burgess, deputy director of C3S.
She adds that, while it doesn't yet mean a breach of the Paris Agreement target, "it shows the urgency for ambitious efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, which are the main driver behind these records."
C3S and the World Meteorological Organization made the unusual decision to announce that July was set to be the hottest month ever before it ended.
Tuesday's calculations confirm that the 29 days from 3 to 31 July saw the highest temperatures since the EU started recording in 1940.
Last month also saw the world's hottest day on 6 July when temperatures reached an average of 17.08°C - smashing a previous record set in August 2016.
Record air and ocean temperatures could have 'dire consequences'
Records were also broken for global sea surface temperatures.
After "unusually high" temperatures in April, the ocean surface warmed to over 0.51°C above the 1991-2020 average in July.
Marine heatwaves were seen in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and waters south of Greenland last month.
"We just witnessed global air temperatures and global ocean surface temperatures set new all-time records in July," says Burgess.
"These records have dire consequences for both people and the planet exposed to ever more frequent and intense extreme events.”
Antarctic sea ice levels were also 15 per cent below average, the lowest seen in July since satellite observations began. In June, the daily Antarctic sea ice levels remained below the monthly average for most of the month.
C3S warns that warming is expected to get worse in the coming months as the El Niño weather phenomenon exacerbates the effects of human-caused climate change.
"Record-breaking temperatures are part of the trend of drastic increases in global temperatures. Anthropogenic emissions are ultimately the main driver of these rising temperatures," explains Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S.
"July’s record is unlikely to remain isolated this year."