2023 Confirmed as Warmest Year on Record, Posing Challenges to Global Climate Targets

2023 Confirmed as Warmest Year on Record, Posing Challenges to Global Climate Targets 2

Accordng to the BBC, 2023 has been confirmed to being the warmest year on record, primarily due to human-induced climate change and intensified by the natural El Niño weather event. The EU’s climate service reports that last year was approximately 1.48C warmer than the pre-industrial average. Notably, almost every day since July 2023 set a new global air temperature high for the time of year.

The UK Met Office reported that 2023 was the UK’s second warmest year on record. These global temperature records signal a closer approach to breaching key international climate targets. Prof. Andrew Dessler from Texas A&M University emphasized the significance of these record-breaking temperatures.

The year’s extreme warmth was initially unexpected due to the unpredictability of Earth’s climate behavior. However, an almost unbroken streak of daily records occurred in the second half of 2023. This sudden temperature rise is mainly attributed to El Niño, which typically releases extra heat into the atmosphere from the East Pacific Ocean.

Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather from Berkeley Earth pointed out that the early boost in temperatures during this El Niño phase, which was not expected until early 2024, has puzzled scientists.

2023’s global warmth has exacerbated many extreme weather events, impacting life and livelihoods. Prof. Petteri Taalas, former Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation, stressed the destructive impact of extreme weather.

In addition to air temperatures, 2023 saw other significant climate-related events:Antarctic sea ice hit record lows, with Arctic sea ice also below average.Glaciers in western North America and the European Alps experienced extreme melting.The world’s sea surface reached its highest recorded temperature.

Looking ahead, 2024 could potentially be warmer than 2023, with the possibility of surpassing the 1.5C warming threshold for the first time across an entire calendar year. This threshold is a key target of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming.

Despite this concerning trend, researchers emphasize the importance of ongoing efforts to tackle climate change. Dr. Friederike Otto from Imperial College London highlights the significance of each tenth of a degree in limiting global warming, advocating for continued progress in areas like renewable power and electric vehicles.

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