Climate Change

2023 on its way to being warmest year on record; 2024 may surpass it: Report

September 2023 has been the hottest on record since 1940 or in 83 years due to a continued rise in carbon dioxide emissions and El Nino  

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Friday 06 October 2023

The year 2023 is on its way to being the warmest on record and 2024 may surpass it. This, even as September 2023 has been the hottest on record since 1940 or in 83 years due to a continued rise in carbon dioxide emissions and the El Nino phenomenon.

The latest data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service shows that globally, September 2023 is the hottest month on record, with temperatures of 0.93 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average for September.

Overall, the month was 1.75°C warmer than an estimated September average for the pre-industrial period between 1850 and 1900.

This is 0.5 °C more than the previous warmest-ever September in 2020. It is also the biggest temperature rise seen since at least 1940. This means the largest temperature increase in 83 years was during the month of September.

So, the past month was both the most unusually warm month on record and the hottest September ever recorded. It stands out even when contrasted to the rest of the record-breaking 2023.

“This month was — in my professional opinion as a climate scientist — absolutely gobsmackingly bananas,” tweeted Zeke Hausfather, behind the carbon-removal initiative Frontier.

“The unprecedented temperatures for the time of year observed in September — following a record summer — have broken records by an extraordinary amount. This extreme month has pushed 2023 into the dubious honour of first place — on track to be the warmest year and around 1.4°C above preindustrial average temperatures. Two months out from COP28 — the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical.” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).

August 2023 and July 2023 too were the hottest months ever-recorded. These high temperatures have been behind the severe heatwaves and wildfires experienced around the world. September 2023 was the warmest September on record for the continent of Europe too.

The temperature in Europe was 2.51°C above the average for the years 1991 to 2020 and 1.1°C above the previous warmest September in 2020.

The global surface temperatures had already set a new record last week for the highest daily temperature anomalies (departure from the norm) ever observed, claimed Japanese scientists.

These were approximately 1°C warmer than the 1991-2020 baseline period used by the dataset and around 1.9°C warmer than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) temperatures.

“These data add to the increasing likelihood that we may already be living in the first 12-month period that is 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. A few upcoming weeks may top 2°C for the first time ever,” said Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist, climate journalist and founder of a weather service called Currently.

This is due to continued high levels of carbon dioxide emissions mixed with a quick reversal of the El Nino phenomenon.

Temperatures in December, January, and February were quite high in both the years —- 1998 and 2016. As El Nino is still growing, the world is probably on track for that as well this year, said Zeke Hausfather in an interview recently.

Scientist warn that 2023 will be the warmest year on record, and 2024 may even surpass this year, as El Nino’s heating effect is felt the greatest in the year following its onset.

“2024 will probably be fairly similar. The El Nino that’s evolving now will — should, actually — have its bigger effects next year,” stated Hausfather.

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