Cyprus Institute: July was the warmest month in the last 41 years
This summer, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), was by far the warmest on record worldwide, with an average temperature of 16.77°C, or 0.66°C above average.
A similar phenomenon, and to a greater extent, was also observed in Cyprus where, according to researchers from the Environmental Predictions Department of the Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre of Excellence (CARE-C) of the Cyprus Institute, in July the average temperature at the Athalassa station was 40.0°C, leading to the month being the warmest recorded in the last four decades. In addition, during the month of July the most consecutive high temperatures, lasting 16 days, were recorded.
Using data from meteorological stations of the Department of Meteorology, the researchers of the Cyprus Institute 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 increase during the other two summer months accelerated over the same period, with the mean air temperature in 2023 being 40.0°C for July and 38.9°C for August, 2.6°C and 1.5°C warmer than normal for 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, at the Athalassa station, during 2020 there were a total of 48 days with a maximum temperature above 40.0°C, of which 30 occurred during the summer and the rest in other months: 6 in May, 9 in September and 1 in October. In the summer of 2023, continuous days with very high temperatures were recorded at this station: every day between 13 and 29 July (a period of 16 days) the maximum temperature exceeded 40.0°C. 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 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.