Record temperatures across much of the world over the past two weeks could make July the hottest month ever measured on Earth, according to climate scientists.
The past fortnight has seen freak heat in the Canadian Arctic, crippling droughts in Chennai and Harare and forest fires that forced thousands of holidaymakers to abandon campsites in southern France and prompted the air force in Indonesia to fly cloud-busting missions in the hope of inducing rain.
If the trends of the first half of this month continue, it will beat the previous record from July 2017 by about 0.025C, according to calculations by Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, and others.
This follows the warmest-ever June, which was confirmed this week by data from the US space agency Nasa, following Europe’s Copernicus satellite monitoring system.
The scientists stressed that this outcome is uncertain because conditions could change in the second half of the month, but it underscores a broader pattern of steadily rising temperatures caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, deforestation, cars, planes and other sources.