The year 2023 is poised to become the hottest on record, according to the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. November’s global temperature was nearly a third of a degree Celsius (0.57 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the previous hottest November, with an average temperature of 1.75 degrees Celsius (3.15 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial times. This alarming trend is attributed to both human-caused climate change and a potent El Nino event.
For the sixth consecutive month, Earth has broken records for high temperatures, and this year is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded, according to calculations by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
In November, global temperatures reached a new record high, with the month being nearly a third of a degree Celsius (0.57 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the previous hottest November. The Copernicus Climate Change Service announced this unsettling news, stating that November’s average temperature was 1.75 degrees Celsius (3.15 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial times, making it the hottest above-average month, tying with October and falling just behind September.
The monthly average temperature for November stood at 14.22 degrees Celsius (57.6 degrees Fahrenheit), marking an increase of 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the average temperature of the past 30 years. Two days in November experienced temperatures that were 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial times, an unprecedented occurrence, according to Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of Copernicus.
The entire year of 2023 has seen temperatures 1.46 degrees Celsius (2.6 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than pre-industrial levels, making it nearly a seventh of a degree warmer than the previous record year of 2016. This trend brings Earth dangerously close to the international threshold set to combat climate change.
The 2015 Paris climate agreement established the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels or, as a fallback, to at least 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). However, despite efforts from diplomats, scientists, and activists at the United Nations climate conference in Dubai, the planet is not cooperating with these goals.
Scientists predict that, considering the commitments and actions taken by countries worldwide, Earth is on a trajectory to warm by 2.7 to 2.9 degrees Celsius (4.9 to 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. This is significantly above the targets set in the Paris agreement.
Furthermore, Copernicus records indicate that the recent northern autumn has been the hottest fall on record, adding to the growing list of record-breaking heat events. These trends are supported by scientific evidence from proxies like ice cores, tree rings, and corals, indicating that this decade is the warmest Earth has experienced in approximately 125,000 years.
The primary drivers behind the continuous record-breaking temperatures are human-induced climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and a potent El Nino event. The El Nino event, a temporary warming of parts of the central Pacific that influences global weather patterns, has exacerbated the already rising temperatures due to climate change.
Samantha Burgess from Copernicus warns that the world will continue to heat up as long as greenhouse gases continue to be emitted into the atmosphere. This ongoing trend is expected to lead to catastrophic events such as floods, wildfires, heatwaves, and droughts.
She emphasizes that the year 2023 will only be cooler in the future if substantial actions are taken to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, highlighting the urgent need for global climate action.