The year 2023 will be the warmest year in the history of measuring the temperature of our planet, according to scientists from the Copernicus program, which provides information services obtained mainly through satellite observation of the Earth and the collection of data obtained from measurement systems located in the atmosphere, in the sea and on the ground. The alarming conclusion comes ahead of a landmark climate summit this month.
“We can say with almost certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record and is currently 1.43°C above the pre-industrial average,” said Copernicus Climate Change Service Deputy Director Samantha Burgess, adding that the sense of urgency for ambitious action in the field of climate, which should be adopted as part of the Cop28 conference, has never been greater.
Last month was the warmest October on record worldwide, with temperatures 1.7°C warmer than predicted during an average October in the late 1800s, Copernicus scientists have found. Burning fossil fuels and destroying nature has released heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, which have increased the planet’s temperature by 1.2C since the Industrial Revolution. The scientists found that the global temperature anomaly in October 2023 was the second highest across all months in their data set, behind the previous month, reports Britain’s The Guardian.
“The fact that we are witnessing a record hot year means record human suffering,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. “Within this year, extreme heat waves and drought, exacerbated by these extreme temperatures, have caused thousands of deaths, lost livelihoods, been displaced, etc. These are the records that matter.
“That’s why the Paris Agreement is a human rights treaty, and non-compliance with the goals contained in it is a violation of human rights on a huge scale,” Otto added. At a summit in Paris eight years ago, world leaders pledged to try to stop the planet warming by 1.5°C by the end of the century. However, current policies lead to warming of around 2.4°C.
Last month’s record heat has stunned scientists. They expect the extreme temperatures to have been caused by a powerful combination of greenhouse gas pollution, the return of the natural El Niño weather pattern and a handful of other factors including a drop in sulfur pollution and a volcanic eruption in Tonga.
Copernicus scientists said El Niño conditions continued to develop, but that temperature anomalies so far were lower than those achieved during previous strong events in 1997 and 2015. “It is frightening that the global temperature from June 2023 is much higher than in the second half of 2015, when El Niño was much stronger,” said Akshay Deoras, a meteorology scientist at the University of Reading. “Our planet continues to pass through inauspicious milestones in its meteorological history and it will not be a surprise to see new records set in the coming months.”
Data from the Copernicus program shows that the average global average temperature between January and October 2023 was the highest on record. By 0.1 °C it surpassed the ten-month average of 2016 – the current record holder for the warmest year.
The warm autumn confused nature. But the ice cream makers are satisfied (10/2023):