2023: Earth's Hottest Year on Record
Experts confirm that 2023 has been the warmest year on Earth since records began and may be the warmest in 125,000 years.
2023 has officially become the warmest year on record, surpassing all previous years since records began. Scientists have been warning of this outcome for months, and the data from December further confirms this trend.
Gavin Schmidt, a scientist at NASA, explains that although the December data is not yet official, the results were already 'locked in' by mid-December. The consecutive months of extremely warm temperatures made it unlikely for December to be cold enough to alter the final results.
Various organizations, such as the Copernicus Climate Change Service in Europe and U.S. agencies like NASA and NOAA, will soon release their official announcements to confirm 2023 as the 'hottest year on record.'
What experts find particularly alarming is the unprecedented rate of warming over the past century. The University of Pennsylvania meteorologist Michael Mann emphasizes in his book 'Our Fragile Moment' that this rate of warming is unparalleled in the millions of years for which data is available.
Mann warns that humanity is engaged in an unprecedented experiment with the planet. While there is still time to prevent catastrophic climate consequences, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. Actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be taken urgently.
To avoid devastating impacts such as rising sea levels, intense heatwaves, and damage to ecosystems, experts highlight the need to keep the long-term global average temperature increase below 1.5 - 2.0 degrees Celsius.
How Global Temperature is Measured
Calculating global average temperature and its changes over time is a complex process. Climate scientists rely on multiple strategies to estimate these changes with confidence.
They utilize weather stations, ocean temperature readings, and contextualize them with a reference period from the past. By comparing current temperatures to the past, anomalies can be calculated, averaged, and analyzed globally.
Satellite data is also used to measure surface air temperature, and weather models are used to account for additional variables. The best analyses combine multiple methods to obtain a comprehensive understanding of global temperature changes.
Continued Trend of Rising Temperatures
International scientists warn that global temperatures will continue to rise due to the combination of heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions, natural cycles, and human development.
While it is still possible to reverse this trend, it requires significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful gases in the atmosphere. Without substantial action, future years are likely to be warmer than 2023.
Climate scientists predict that 2024 could be even hotter, especially with the expected influence of a strong El Niño. The World Meteorological Organization estimates that the five-year period from 2023 to 2027 will be the warmest ever recorded.