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2023 confirmed as world’s hottest year on record- Report

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The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced on Tuesday that 2023 had set a new global temperature record, making it the hottest year by a considerable margin and potentially the warmest in the last 100,000 years. 

According to C3S Director Carlo Buontempo, this was an extraordinary year in terms of climate, “in a league of its own, even when compared to other very warm years.”

Scientists had anticipated this milestone, given the consistent breaking of climate records throughout the year. 

Since June, each successive month had established itself as the hottest on record when compared to the corresponding months in previous years.

Buontempo highlighted the significance of this record-breaking year by comparing it to paleoclimatic data, stating that it was “very likely” the warmest year in the past 100,000 years. 

The planet, on average, was 1.48 degrees Celsius warmer in 2023 than during the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900 when humans began large-scale fossil fuel burning.

The 2015 Paris Agreement aimed to prevent global warming from surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius, but C3S reported that temperatures exceeded this threshold on nearly half of the days in 2023, setting a concerning precedent. Buontempo noted, “This is a dire precedent.”

Despite global efforts to reduce emissions, record levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) were observed in 2023. Concentrations reached 419 parts per million, the highest ever recorded, as stated by C3S.

In addition to temperature records, 2023 marked the first year in which every day was over 1 degree Celsius hotter than pre-industrial times. Two days in November were 2 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial period, a phenomenon unprecedented in historical climate data.

Buontempo described 2023 as “remarkable” for surpassing the previous hottest year, 2016, by 0.17 degrees Celsius. The El Niño weather phenomenon, which warms the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, contributed to the elevated temperatures globally.

Reuters reported that climate scientist Friederike Otto emphasized the significant impact of even small changes in global temperatures on ecosystems and people, stating, “Every tenth of a degree matters.”

The consequences of the warmer climate were evident in extreme weather events, including deadly heatwaves, floods, and wildfires. Economic ramifications were also notable, with the U.S. experiencing at least 25 climate and weather disasters exceeding $1 billion in damages. 

Prolonged droughts affected soybean crops in Argentina and wheat in Spain. Buontempo concluded, “Comparable small changes in global temperatures have huge impacts on people and ecosystems.”

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