Scorching October puts 2023 on track to be hottest year in 125,000 years | Climate crisis news
Scientists say climate change is causing heatwaves across the planet, toppling previous records at an alarming pace.
European scientists say 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record after temperatures rose across the planet in October.
October was 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the previous record for the month, set in 2019, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the European Union’s climate watchdog, said on Wednesday.
“When we combine our data with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we can say that this is the warmest year in the last 125,000 years,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of C3S. The Copernicus data set dates back to 1940.
As the planet warms due to climate change, caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, previous records for extreme heat are being broken at a dizzying pace.
No corner of the planet was spared: A study published in September, which also broke previous records, found that 2022 brought the most intense heat wave on record to Antarctica, the coldest region in the world.
In August and September during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter and spring, South American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay struggled to cope with boiling temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius, in a heatwave that scientists said was becoming 100 times more bearable. Because of climate change.
“The amount by which we break records is shocking,” Burgess said.
Extreme heat can have deadly effects, sapping the body’s energy, causing short-term dehydration and increasing the risk of health problems such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
People belonging to poorer segments of society, especially those engaged in manual labor or working abroad, are particularly at risk.
“The heat is deadly, especially in the spring before people have acclimated to it,” Julie Arrighi, director of the non-profit Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Center, said at the time of a heat wave in South America. “Temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) “Early spring is incredibly extreme.”
Conditions caused by climate change also contributed to a record wildfire season in Canada in 2023, displacing thousands of people and burning more than 18.4 million hectares (45,467,390 acres) of land.
This year, factors from climate change have combined with those from the El Niño weather phenomenon, during which warmer surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean cause extreme weather around the world. The current hottest year on record is 2016, another El Niño year.
The current El Niño weather pattern is expected to continue until at least April, the World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday.
“This is a clear sign that we are entering a climate regime that will have a greater impact on more people,” said Peter Schlosser, vice president and vice dean of the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University. It has nothing to do with Copernicus.
“We’d better take that warning we should have taken 50 or more years ago and draw the right conclusions.”
The European scientists’ findings were published three weeks before governments meet in Dubai for UN climate negotiations, known as COP28, where nearly 200 countries will negotiate what action to take on climate change.
A key issue at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) will be whether governments will agree for the first time to phase out the burning of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels.