Climate Change

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

Breach associated with climate phenomenon El Nino, long-term human-caused climate forcing

By Rohini Krishnamurthy
Published: Monday 20 November 2023
Photo: iStock

The world breached 2 degrees Celsius of warming on November 17, 2023, according to preliminary analysis from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The temperatures were 2.06°C warmer than the pre-industrial era, the average for 1850-1900 period. 

The global temperature for November 17 was 1.17°C above 1991-2020 average, Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus Climate Change Service at Copernicus at ECMWF, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. This, she said, is the warmest on record.

This short-term breach of the 2°C is associated with climate phenomenon El Nino and long-term human-caused climate forcing, Jeff Berardelli, chief meteorologist and climate specialist for WFLA News Channel 8, Tampa Bay wrote on X.

Scientists have also warned that El Nino, a warm phase of a recurring climate pattern, has gained strength. These conditions started emerging in the spring of 2023 and developed rapidly during summer, reaching a moderate level by September 2023, according to the World Meteorological Organization. There is a 90 per cent chance of a strong El Nino occurring this winter.

Further, there is a 35 per cent chance that this El Nino could become ‘historically strong’ for the November-January season, the National Weather Services’ Climate Prediction Center, estimated. “This means 2024 may well be warmer than 2023!” Glen Peters, research director for the Climate Mitigation group at the Center for International Climate Research, posted on X.

The year 2023 has broken several records. The 2023 State of Climate Report highlighted that the world has already witnessed 38 days with global average temperatures above 1.5°C by 12 September—more than any other year. Also, June through August of this year was the warmest period ever recorded. 

Global and North Atlantic sea surface temperatures both broke records. The Amazon was in the grips of a record-breaking drought, with water levels of River Negro, the largest tributary of the Amazon River, reaching their lowest level in 120 years, affecting navigation on the river Amazon and the electricity supply to local towns and villages

“It is a sign that we are pushing our planetary systems into dangerous instability,” reads the 2023 State of Climate Report. 

The winter warming in the North Hemisphere is higher than summer. Temperatures here are far above 2°C, Peter Carter, founder of the Climate Emergency Institute, noted on X.

There is more. The last 12 months have been the warmest in the last 125,000 years, with temperatures reaching 1.32 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

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