Scientists say 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record Climate crisis
The world is expected to be hotter in 2023 than in any other year on record, scientists have announced, ahead of a historic climate summit this month.
“We can say with certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record, currently 1.43 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action at Cop28 has never been higher.”
Copernicus scientists found that last month was the hottest October on record globally, with temperatures reaching 1.7 degrees Celsius higher than what was thought to be during an average October in the late 19th century.
By burning fossil fuels and destroying nature, humans have pumped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, raising the planet’s temperature by 1.2 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The scientists found that the global temperature anomaly for October 2023 was the second highest on record of all months in their data set, behind only the previous month.
“The fact that we are having this record hot year means record human suffering,” said Frederik Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. “During this year, extreme heatwaves and droughts, exacerbated by these extreme temperatures, have caused thousands of deaths, people losing their livelihoods, becoming displaced, etc. These are important records.
“This is why the Paris Agreement is a human rights treaty, and failure to adhere to its goals constitutes a widespread human rights violation.”
At a summit in Paris eight years ago, world leaders promised to try to stop global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. But current policies aim to raise its temperature by about 2.4 degrees Celsius.
Akshay Deoras, a research meteorologist at the University of Reading, said: “The hot October 2023 is another unfortunate example of how temperature records are broken by a huge margin. Global warming caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions and the El Niño phenomenon in the tropical Pacific Ocean are hitting the planet hard.
Last month’s record heat left scientists dazed. They expect the extreme temperatures to be caused by a strong combination of greenhouse gas pollution, the return of a normal El Niño weather pattern, and a few other factors including a decline in sulfur pollution and a volcanic eruption in Tonga.
El Niño conditions have continued to develop, but temperature anomalies so far have been lower than those reached during previous strong events in 1997 and 2015, Copernicus said.
“It is scary to see that the global temperature since June 2023 is much warmer than it was during the second half of 2015, when El Niño was much stronger,” Duras said. “Our planet is still going through unfortunate moments in meteorological history, and it would not be surprising to see new records in the following months.”
Copernicus found that the average global temperature between January and October 2023 was the highest on record. It exceeded the 10-month average for 2016 – the current record holder for hottest year – by 0.1°C.
Richard Allan, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, said: “Only through rapid and massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, across all sectors, can we avoid these recurring headlines of record warmth and, more importantly, reduce the increasing severity.” Of the extreme wet, hot and dry phenomena that accompany a rapidly warming world.