2023 is on course to be the hottest year on record

FILE PHOTO: Gabriel Flores and Isabel Apaza walk on the dry, cracked bed near the shore of Lake Titicaca in drought season in Huarina, Bolivia August 3, 2023. REUTERS/Claudia Morales/File Photo/File Photo

2023 is headed towards becoming the hottest year ever recorded, as cautioned by scientists on October 12. This prediction follows exceptionally high temperatures in September and the hottest summer in human history.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) of the European Union reported that the global average temperatures from January to September were 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial period (1850 to 1900). This is slightly over 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than the average and 0.05 degrees Celsius higher than the same period in 2016, which is currently the hottest year on record.

C3S scientists pointed out that September witnessed the most significant temperature anomalies since 1940, with the entire month being a remarkable 1.75 degrees Celsius warmer when compared to the preindustrial reference period. The surge in extreme heat is primarily attributed to the climate crisis, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, emphasised the unprecedented nature of the September temperatures, stating they “have broken records by an extraordinary amount. This extreme month has pushed 2023 into the dubious honour of first place, on track to be the warmest year and around 1.4°C above preindustrial average temperatures.”

A recent major U.N. report confirmed that the world is not currently on course to meet the long-term objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The Earth has already warmed by approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius due to over a century of fossil fuel consumption and unsustainable energy and land use practices, contributing to a series of severe weather events worldwide.

For Europe, C3S scientists revealed that September 2023 marked the warmest September on record, with temperatures exceeding 2.5 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average and 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than September 2020, the previous warmest. C3S also noted that El Niño conditions continued to develop in the equatorial eastern Pacific. El Niño, a natural climate pattern, contributes to elevated temperatures globally. The U.N. weather agency declared the onset of El Niño on July 4, warning that its return could lead to a spike in global temperatures and extreme weather conditions.

The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned in mid-September that “humanity has opened the gates to hell” due to the devastating impacts of extreme heat, floods, diseases, and historic fires.

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