Will 2023 be the hottest year on Earth? Climate change fuels heat records
Average global temperatures have reached new highs over the past 10 to 12 months, setting new records in the steady march of a warming climate, two national groups announced last week.
The weather has been warmer than at any time in recorded history, and likely warmer than at any other time in 125,000 years, an analysis by Climate Central has concluded. The Copernicus Climate Change Foundation said it was “almost certain” that 2023 would be the hottest year in recorded history.
If these announcements and others detailed below sound familiar, it’s because heat-related records are being set and broken, again and again, month after month and year after year in cities, states and countries around the world.
None of this should be surprising, said Andrew Pershing, vice president for science at Climate Central, a nonprofit that provides climate change news. “We should expect record numbers because we live on a warm planet. We have a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
Heat and cold records have been recorded since people first started tracking temperatures, but today warm records are recorded much more often than cold records, and with amazing diversity. They don’t always attract attention individually, but when viewed collectively, they offer insight into how steadily rising temperatures are impacting the way we live, work and play.
All this warming is “in line with previous expectations,” says Michael Mann, author of the new book “Our Fragile Moment” and professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. “However, some impacts, such as extreme weather events, are beyond expectations.”
Central Climate Issues Report
Climate Central reported last week that the average global temperature from November 2022 to October 2023 was 1.32 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial baseline, using a method called the Climate Transition Index to calculate days with temperatures rising above average which can be linked to climate. It changes.
Here’s what Climate Central says its findings mean for people:
- Over the course of 12 months, 7.3 billion people, or 90% of the global population, experienced at least 10 days of temperatures strongly affected by climate change.
- 5.8 billion people were exposed to more than 30 days of temperatures made more bearable by climate change.
- An estimated 1.9 billion people experienced at least one five-day heatwave over a 12-month period.
The hottest October on record
As Copernicus, the European Union weather and climate service, announced:
- October was the warmest on record
- The global temperature was the second highest on record for all months, after September 2023.
- Year-to-date, the average global temperature has reached an all-time high, standing at 1.43 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
Visualizing a changing climate Explore the impact of global warming on Earth
2023 is one of the warmest years yet in 10 states
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced new records this week:
- Four Southern states – Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas – are experiencing their warmest year on record.
- Six other states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Rhode Island – had their second hottest years yet.
- Burlington, Vermont set an all-time record high temperature for October after reaching 86 degrees on October 4.
- The country will see a record $25 billion worth of weather-related disasters in 2023.
Other weather highlights this year, in descending order:
October 16: Sarah Kapnik, chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said September was the fourth month in a row in which global temperatures reached record highs. The global surface temperature of 61.9 degrees was more than 2.5 degrees warmer than the 20th century average for September. This is the highest monthly global temperature anomaly on record, and the 535th consecutive month in which temperatures have been above the 20th century average, NOAA reported.
October 8: The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that Antarctic sea ice has reached an all-time record low this winter.
September 14: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced that the Earth is experiencing extreme heat with its hottest summer on record.
September 6The World Meteorological Organization and the Copernicus Climate Change Service announced that the Earth experienced the warmest months of June and August on record, and August was the second hottest month on record, after July 2023.
September 2: Officials say the meteorological summer was the warmest on record in at least 20 cities, including Miami, Houston, New Orleans, Austin and Phoenix.
August 14: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that July was the warmest month globally in 174 years, “warmer than anything we have ever seen,” and possibly the warmest month in history since at least 1850.
July 24: The water temperature at a buoy in an enclosed bay south of Miami, Florida, reached 101.1 degrees, after the city’s head index topped 100 degrees for 43 straight days.
July 18: Phoenix endured 19 straight days of temperatures of 110 degrees or higher, breaking a record set in 1974. The streak continued in the summer of 2023 and lasted an entire month.
3 – 6 July: Earth sets a new global daily temperature record for four consecutive days, reaching a new high of 63 degrees on July 6.
June: Nearly 40% of the world’s oceans are exposed to marine heatwaves, the largest number since satellite tracking began in 1991, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports.
maybe: Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a record high, averaging 424 parts per million, according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This is 51% higher than pre-industrial levels and was the fourth largest annual increase on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the first four months of the year recorded the highest temperature levels in eight states along the Atlantic coast.
January: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported $18 billion worth of disasters in 2022. That’s the third highest, after 2020 and 2021, since the agency began tracking the number. It was the third warmest year in 128 years, and ocean temperatures reached a new record high.
Is it too late to do anything about global warming?
No, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Mann and Climatologists Central said the record-breaking events will continue until carbon emissions are reduced to zero. But they said extreme weather events should stop getting worse once the surface temperature stops rising.
“The really good news is that if we stop burning fossil fuels, temperatures will stop rising,” said Frederik Otto, co-chair of World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists who study the impact of climate change on global weather events. “This also has immediate consequences for a lot of extreme weather events. But of course, as long as we keep burning fossil fuels, they will continue to rise, and extreme events will get worse.”
“There is an urgent and urgent need,” Mann said. “It is not too late to prevent truly catastrophic climate impacts.”
What will future historians say about 2023?
Pershing said this year could be considered a cold year in a few years. “Is this as easy as it is right? It’s only going to get harder from here.”
Otto said she hopes they can say that “it was the year it got so bad that people stopped fighting culture wars and pretending climate policy is a luxury topic.” She said people should care about climate change not because they like polar bears, but because it is a “gross violation of basic human rights.”
Contributing: Doyle Rice, USA TODAY