Climate Change

2023 in a blink: Climate, weather records that broke this year

Down To Earth recaps climate stories that broke records

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 20 December 2023
Photo: iStock

Several climate and weather records broke in 2023. The year has been the warmest on record and 2024 is expected to be even hotter. Some extreme weather events also broke records this year. Here are some of the Down To Earth (DTE) coverage on these record-breaking events around the world. 

The world breached 2 degrees Celsius of warming for the first time on November 17, 2023. This short-term breach of the 2°C is associated with climate phenomenon El Nino and long-term human-caused climate forcing.

Read more: One-day temperatures breach 2°C warming point for first time: Report

The last 12 months have been the warmest in the last 125,000 years, with temperatures reaching 1.32°C above the pre-industrial era, DTE reported in November.

Read more: Last 12 months were the warmest in 125,000 years

Antarctica in the southern hemisphere bore the brunt of warm temperatures. Despite it being peak winter in the southern hemisphere, the sea ice cover in Antarctica has deviated from the 1991-2020 average by over six standard deviations.

Read more: Antarctica’s sea ice is at its lowest extent ever recorded

Cyclone Freddy dissipated over Malawi March 15, 2023 after a record-breaking 37-day stint over the southern Indian Ocean and Africa. In this period, the storm broke at least six meteorological world records and 10 records for the south Indian Ocean.

Read more: The cyclone that lived longest: How Freddy broke all kinds of records

In 2023, July 1 through July 10 was a record-breaking period for several parts of India during monsoon 2023. Delhi, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh surpassed several records even as parts of the country remained dry. 

Read more: North India Deluge 2023: Rainfall during July 1-10 broke multiple records

August 2023 turned out the driest August month in the past 123 years. Between August 1 and August 21, India has recorded rainfall of 115.4 millimetres (mm) and the previous record was held by 2005 when the country received 190.1 mm of rainfall.

Read more: This may be the driest August in 123 years: Expert

The months of August, September, and November 2023 secured the first spot among the warmest years in India since 1901, according to the India Meteorological Department. Southern Peninsular India, in particular, saw the record highest minimum temperature since 1901.

Read more: August, September & November warmest on record in India, winter temperatures to remain above normal: IMD

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has confirmed that 2023 is going to be the warmest year on record. By the end of October, the Earth was already 1.4 degrees Celsius (°C) warmer than pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) for the same period.

Read more: This year will be warmest in more than 170 years, WMO confirms in report launched at COP28

Record-breaking temperatures swept through at least five continents in July 2023. Temperatures soared to above 40 degrees Celsius in various parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. 

Read more: Europe, Asia witnessed record-breaking temperatures last week

Very severe cyclone Biporjoy’s accumulated cyclone energy surpassed April 2019 Cyclone Fani and May 2020 Cyclone Amphan. 

Read more: As Biporjoy landfall nears, here are the records the cylclone has broken

November 2023 was approximately 1.75 degrees Celsius warmer than an estimate of the November average for 1850-1900.

Read more: November 2023 was warmest November on record globally, 1.75°C warmer than pre-industrial era: Copernicus

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