The summer sizzle in the States hasn't just been confined to North America, as Earth experienced its hottest three months on record, the World Meteorological Organization reports.
It was the hottest August on record – by a large margin – and the second-hottest ever month after this past July, according to the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service. August is estimated to have been 2.7 degrees F warmer than the preindustrial average for 1850-1900.
"Our planet has just endured a season of simmering – the hottest summer on record," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "Climate breakdown has begun. Scientists have long warned what our fossil fuel addiction will unleash. Surging temperatures demand a surge in action."
Guterres urged world leaders to "turn up the heat now" for climate solutions.
"We can still avoid the worst of climate chaos," he added. "And we don’t have a moment to lose."
The WMO states that from January to August, this year is the second-warmest on record, following 2016, when a potent El Niño event caused a massive global warming.
The extreme heatwaves during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere caused destructive wildfires, affected public health, and disrupted daily routines, according to WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. In the Southern Hemisphere, the lack of Antarctic sea ice extent reached an unprecedented level, and the global sea surface temperature broke another record.
"It is worth noting that this is happening before we see the full warming impact of the El Niño event, which typically plays out in the second year after it develops," Taalas adds.
Earth's oceans temps reach levels never seen before
The WMO reports that global sea surface temperatures have reached unprecedented highs for the third consecutive month, while Antarctic sea ice extent is at a record low for this time of year.
Global monthly sea surface temperatures hit a new record in August, averaging 69.76 degrees F and exceeding the previous record set in March 2016 every day of the month, the WMO said.
"What we are observing, not only new extremes but the persistence of these record-breaking conditions, and the impacts these have on both people and planet, are a clear consequence of the warming of the climate system," said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Antarctica's sea ice is 12% lower than usual for August – the biggest decrease seen in August since satellite observations began in the late 1970s, according to the WMO. Arctic sea ice extent was also lower than average, by 10%, but it was still higher than the record minimum level recorded in August 2012.
According to a report released in May by the WMO and the UK's Met Office, there is a 98% probability that one of the next five years will be the warmest on record.