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July 2023 the warmest month on record for the past 41 years

This past July was the warmest month on record for the past 41 years, according to researchers from the Cyprus Institute’s (CyI) Environmental Predictions Department of the Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre of Excellence (CARE-C).

The average temperature at the Athalassa station in Nicosia was 40.0°C in July, the warmest month on record over the last four decades. In addition, the most consecutive high temperatures, lasting 16 days, were also recorded during the month.

Using data from meteorological stations of the Department of Meteorology, CyI researchers analysed the annual variations of the average temperature above or below the long-term average for each summer month at the Athalassa station, from 1983 (when recordings began) until 2023. Conditions in June 2023 were within normal range, with the mean monthly temperature at 33.9°C, almost identical to the long-term average. In contrast, the temperature increased during the next two summer months, with the mean air temperature being 40.0°C for July and 38.9°C for August, 2.6°C and 1.5°C higher than normal compared to the 1991-2020 period, respectively.

In addition to the monthly average temperature increase, recent summers in Cyprus have also seen unusually high temperatures on individual days. For example, during 2020 at the Athalassa station, a total of 48 days with a maximum temperature above 40.0°C were recorded, of which 30 during the summer and the rest in other months: 6 in May, 9 in September and 1 in October. In the summer of 2023, consecutive days with very high temperatures exceeding 40.0°C were recorded every day between 13 and 29 July (a period of 16 days). This duration of extreme heat is unprecedented in the last 41 years, based on data collected at the Athalassa station. The previous record was recorded in July 1987 and July 2000, when there were 10 consecutive days with a maximum temperature exceeding 40.0°C.

It is worth noting that the deviations from the long-term average for the Athalassa station (and similar deviations recorded at other stations in Cyprus) are much larger than the temperature deviations reported by C3S for the whole planet. Also, the continuous extreme temperatures recorded in July in Cyprus are another indication that global warming is occurring with different intensity on a regional scale, and clear evidence that the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East are a climate change hotspot, it said.

Worldwide, this summer was by far the warmest on record with an average temperature of 16.77°C, or 0.66°C above average, according to data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

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