2023 is set to be the warmest year on record as last month became the hottest October globally, scientists at Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said on Wednesday.
This year recorded the hottest June, July and September months globally. During the first and third weeks of July, global mean temperature temporarily exceeded the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold above the pre-industrial level.
This means that the weeks were hotter than the planet was before it was warmed by burning coal, oil and gas and other human activities.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, crossing the global average temperature beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius could unleash severe climate change impacts, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.
The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service publishes monthly climate bulletins on the changes observed in global surface air and sea temperatures, sea ice cover and hydrological variables.
In its latest bulletin released on Wednesday, the scientists said that October 2023 was 1.7 degrees Celsius warmer than an estimate of the month’s average for the pre-industrial 1850-1900 period.
The month also recorded an average surface air temperature of 15.30 degrees Celsius, 0.85 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average for October. The average temperature was also 0.40 degrees Celsius above the previous warmest October in 2019.
The global temperature anomaly for October was the second highest after September across all months in the ERA5 dataset, which keeps a record of global temperature since 1940. The anomaly for September was 1.75 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial period.
“October 2023 has seen exceptional temperature anomalies, following on from four months of global temperature records being obliterated,” Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service said. “We can say with near certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record, and is currently 1.43 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average. The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into COP28 has never been higher.”
The 28th Conference of the Parties, which is United Nations’ climate summit, will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.
The summit, held since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, has focused on restricting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The Global Stocktake report, which involved collecting information on parties’ climate actions and identifying gaps, assessing the overall implementation of the Paris Agreement, will also be discussed at the summit. The synthesis report released in September had concluded that the world is not on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.