Latest2023 Confirmed as Hottest Year on Record, Likely Warmest in 100,000 Years

2023 Confirmed as Hottest Year on Record, Likely Warmest in 100,000 Years

The European Union’s climate agency has confirmed that 2023 was the hottest year on record for the planet. And likely the warmest in the past 100,000 years. This milestone comes after months of broken climate records. With every month since June being the hottest on record compared to previous years.

“This has been a very exceptional year climate-wise, … in a league of its own, even when compared to other very warm years,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

C3S confirmed 2023 as the hottest year in global temperature records dating back to 1850. When compared to palaeoclimate data, Buontempo said it was “very likely” the warmest year in the past 100,000 years.

On average in 2023, the planet was 1.48 degrees Celsius (2.66 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in the pre-industrial period (1850-1900). When humans began burning fossil fuels at an industrial scale. This warming trend poses a significant threat, as countries agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

While the world hasn’t yet breached the 1.5-degree target (which refers to an average global temperature over decades), C3S said temperatures exceeded that level on nearly half of the days in 2023, setting “a dire precedent.” This month is even on track to be the first 12-month period to exceed the 1.5-degree threshold.

“The 1.5-degree goal has to be kept alive because lives are at risk and choices have to made,” said Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of C3S. “And these choices don’t impact you and I, but they impact our children and our grandchildren.”

Despite the urgency of the situation, carbon dioxide emissions remain stubbornly high. The world’s CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels hit record levels in 2023. And the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached its highest level ever recorded at 419 parts per million.

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Last year also marked by several alarming milestones: every day was more than 1°C (1.8°F) hotter than pre-industrial times, and two days in November were even 2°C (3.6°F) warmer. Additionally, 2023 surpassed 2016, the previous hottest year on record, by a “remarkable” margin of 0.17°C (0.31°F).

While El Nino, a weather phenomenon that warms the Pacific Ocean and contributes to global temperatures. Also played a role in 2023’s extreme heat, human-caused climate change is the primary driver of this alarming trend. Each fraction of a degree of temperature increase amplifies the dangers of extreme weather events, as evidenced by the deadly heatwaves, floods, and wildfires that ravaged different parts of the world in 2023.

This record-breaking year serves as a stark reminder of the urgency of tackling climate change. Without significant and swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the future will hold even more devastating consequences for people and the planet.

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