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2023 Hottest Year in Recorded History, EU Scientists Say

A Dried Glaciar Indicating 2023 Will Almost Certainly Be The Hottest Year
A dried-up glacial lake near Gaumukh. Credit: India Water Portal / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

European Union climate experts announced on Wednesday that 2023 could become the hottest year ever recorded worldwide. They’re cautioning world leaders before the upcoming COP28 climate conference.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reports that the average global temperature from January to October of this year was the highest ever. It was 0.10 degrees Celsius hotter than 2016, which was the warmest year thus far.

Samantha Burgess, the deputy director of C3S, confidently stated that 2023 is likely to be the hottest year ever recorded.

The agency also pointed out that last month was the warmest October on record. It was 1.7 degrees Celsius hotter than the average temperatures for the same month in pre-industrial times, as reported by Forbes.

2023 hottest year in the past 125,000 years

Samantha Burgess informed Reuters that C3S has combined its 2023 data with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and found that 2023 will likely be the hottest year in the past 125,000 years.

C3S has expressed worry about the significant increase in global temperatures this year compared to a thirty-year period from 1991 to 2020, according to Forbes.

The director of the agency, Carlo Buontempo, told Bloomberg, “The difference between the temperature of this October and the average temperature of October in the last 30 years is extraordinarily large…We are already in uncharted territory. We are already experiencing a climate that we have never seen in our life or in our history.”

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, which world leaders signed, it was agreed that a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial times is the maximum limit. C3S data shows that the average global temperatures in 2023 have risen to 1.43 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, noted Forbes.

Ongoing El Niño likely to be the reason for high temperatures

The rising temperatures are a result of ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities. Additionally, this year saw the emergence of the El Niño years weather pattern, which heats up the surface waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

On a global scale, the average air temperature on the Earth’s surface in October was 1.7 degrees Celsius higher than the same month in 1850 to 1900, a period considered as the pre-industrial era according to Copernicus.

The unprecedented warmth in October has led C3S to state that 2023 is now “virtually certain” to become the hottest year on record. The previous record was set in 2016, which was also an El Niño year, as reported by Reuters.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist from the University of Pennsylvania, reported that new temperature records were set during many of the recent El Niño years. This is because the additional heat from El Niño years combines with the ongoing global warming caused by human activities.

Climate change is leading to more and more severe and destructive weather events. In the current year, we have witnessed devastating floods in Libya that claimed thousands of lives, intense heatwaves in South America, and Canada’s most severe wildfire season ever recorded, according to Reuters.

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