Global temps exceed climate-change benchmark for first time as El Nino builds

This is the first time the +1.5C limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement has been surpassed in June, and it happened around the time a current El Niño continues to develop, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

A study by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) found that the global-mean air temperature for the first 11 days of June were the highest temperatures for this time of year in at least 83 years.

The C3S added this is the first time that global surface air temperatures have exceeded the pre-industrial level, or reference values from 1850 to 1900, by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius during the month of June. 

The threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, along with 2 degrees Celsius, were adopted in the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 as the target limit for climate change over 20- or 30-year periods, the C3S said.

The C3S looked at data from ERA5, the agency’s fifth generation atmospheric reanalysis of the global climate since January 1940. 

They noted that the rise in June 2023 temperatures occurred during the development of El Niño, a climate pattern that leads to unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean that are pushed to the west coast of the Americas.


According to the C3S, there is good reason to expect periods within next 12 months when the global-mean air temperature will again surpass pre-industrial levels by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

The increase in June temperatures also came on the heels of record sea-surface temperatures in May.