2023 Warmest Year on Record, 2024 May Exceed 1.5°C Threshold

Based on statistics going back to 1850, 2023 was the warmest calendar year on record for Planet Earth, some 35 years after the issue of global warming gained prominence in international public discourse. Many climate records fell last year, and many of them for the worse. In reality, 2023 marked a significant turning point in climate change monitoring when the average global temperature approached the 1.5°C mark.

Nearly the warmest average air temperatures, two of the warmest months ever recorded. Abnormally high global average sea surface temperatures (SSTs), marine heat waves, record low Antarctic sea ice extents, and extreme weather events like heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires were all observed in this year. Prior to 2023, 2016 was the year with the highest recorded worldwide average temperature. It reached a high of 14.98°C last year, 0.17°C more than it was in 2016.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service’s 2023 yearly climate report, “Global Climate Highlights 2023,” contains a full description of all of this (C3S). The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, an organization of the European Union, is home to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

When the effects of climate change and global warming become apparent to the average citizen, they become worries. Apart from that, these are largely book and news headline phrases. However, in 2023, extreme weather occurrences affected a vast number of people worldwide. Furthermore, 2024 projections are more dire. The current calendar year is expected to break reoxrds and be warmer than previous ones.

2023 Warmest Year on Record, 2024 May Exceed 1.5°C Threshold

2023: The Warmest Year Recorded

The 2023 global average temperature surpassed alarming levels, reaching 1.48°C above the pre-industrial benchmark. Approaching the 1.5°C limit set by world leaders to curb human-induced global warming. Notably, the agreement aimed to achieve this by 2100, not mid-century. Although breaching 1.5°C for a year or two doesn’t conclusively signify a threshold breach, the report underscores the urgency of consistent extreme temperatures over decades to define climate change.

Additionally, 2023 recorded a temperature 0.60°C higher than the 1991-2020 average, hinting at a potential 1.5°C elevation by early 2024. A concerning milestone is the unprecedented 1°C daily temperature rise throughout 2023. With two days surpassing the 2°C threshold, a historic first. Almost half the days exceeded 1.5°C, while two days surpassed 2°C, contrasting sharply with 2016, the previous warmest year, highlighting the escalating threat of climate change in 2023.

Importance of 1.5°C threshold

The 1.5°C threshold, is a key element of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015. Imposes a limit on the global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with efforts to restrain it to 1.5°C. Global leaders emphasize this goal due to warnings from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It indicates severe consequences like droughts and heatwaves if the threshold is breached. To achieve this, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and decrease by at least 43% by 2030, underscoring the urgency to curb climate change and mitigate its potentially catastrophic impacts.

2023 Warmest Year on Record, 2024 May Exceed 1.5°C Threshold

2024 Will be Worse

The 2024 forecast suggests it could be warmer than 2023, potentially surpassing the 1.5°C threshold. The UK Met Office anticipates record-breaking global temperatures, quoting Professor Tim Osborn, who highlights a 0.5°C increase over 1998. With a current warming rate of 0.2°C per decade due to human activities, Osborn warns that 2023’s records may soon seem cool compared to future climate projections. The urgency to address climate change is emphasized, as the planet approaches critical thresholds with potential severe consequences.

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