2023 was the warmest year on earth since 1850, says EU’s climate change agency

2023 was the warmest year

The year 2023 has been declared the warmest on record, according to data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. It is marking a concerning trend in global temperature rise. The global average temperature for the year was 14.98 degrees Celsius, surpassing the previous highest annual value recorded in 2016 by 0.17 degrees Celsius.

This temperature was also 0.60 degrees Celsius higher than the 1991-2020 average and a significant 1.48 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial level of 1850-1900.

Notably, 2023 is the first year in recorded history where every day within the year exceeded 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Almost half of the days experienced temperatures more than 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial era, and, for the first time, two days in November saw temperatures exceeding 2 degrees Celsius higher than the baseline.

Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, highlighted the unprecedented nature of 2023, stating, “Not only is 2023 the warmest year on record, it is also the first year with all days over 1°C warmer than the pre-industrial period. Temperatures during 2023 likely exceed those of any period in at least the last 100,000 years.”

Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, emphasized the profound consequences of such extreme temperatures on global efforts to address climate change.

He stressed the urgent need to decarbonize the economy while utilizing climate data and knowledge to prepare for the future, especially in light of the Paris Agreement goals.

Temperatures observed in 2023

The record temperatures observed in 2023 have intensified heatwaves, droughts, and extreme rainfall events, with examples like storms Otis and Daniel. The XAIDA consortium, comprising leading European climate institutes, noted the impact of heatwaves in July 2023 in the United States, southern Europe, and China, where temperatures in the US and China exceeded 50 degrees Celsius.

Erich Fischer, a Professor at ETH Zurich studying extreme heatwaves within XAIDA, cautioned that temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius are also possible in Europe.

Fischer and colleagues, through climate model realizations, highlighted the potential risks associated with such extreme heatwaves, particularly concerning large public events like the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, scheduled during the peak of the summer season.

These findings underscore the urgent need for global action to mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences, as the world grapples with increasingly extreme weather events and their far-reaching implications.

Sumann Senguptaa

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