According to European Union (EU) scientists, 2023 is expected to be the warmest year recorded in the past 125,000 years. The data from last month has shown that October has shattered previous temperature records by a significantly large margin. Samantha Burgess, director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), emphasized the significance of this new temperature record, stating that the October record was broken by 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is a substantial margin.
The average surface air temperature for October was 1.7 degrees Celsius warmer than typical for the so-called pre-industrial period between 1850 and 1900, before humans began burning large amounts of fossil fuels. The increased global temperatures this year are linked to man-made emissions as well as the naturally-occurring El Nino weather system, which warms surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. C3S stated that 2023 is “virtually certain” to break the previous record set in 2016, which was also an El Nino year.
Furthermore, researchers have indicated that extreme temperatures are expected to persist in 2024. This trend is alarming as it suggests that monumental changes are taking place in the Earth’s climate. When combined with data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Burgess highlighted that this is the warmest year for the last 125,000 years. The implications of such drastic temperature changes are dire, as Dr. Friederike Otto from Imperial College London pointed out that the increased global temperatures directly correspond to an increase in human suffering. Extreme heatwaves and droughts, exacerbated by these extreme temperatures, have caused thousands of deaths, displaced populations, and impacted livelihoods.
Throughout 2023, man-made climate change has been blamed for a series of natural disasters, including floods in Libya that killed thousands, heatwaves in South America, and Canada’s worst-ever season of forest fires. Piers Foster, a climate scientist at the UK’s University of Leeds, warned that these devastating floods, wildfires, storms, and heatwaves must not become the new normal. He stressed the importance of rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat this trend.
As the world grapples with the impending climate crisis, the topic is expected to dominate the UN’s COP28 climate change summit, set to begin in Dubai on November 30. The urgency of the situation requires global cooperation and swift action to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change. Researchers have warned that unless greenhouse gas emissions are capped, devastating floods and wildfires could become the new normal, leading to irreversible consequences for the planet. The unprecedented nature of these climate changes serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for immediate and decisive action to address the escalating climate crisis.