EU Scientists Confirm Unwanted Weather Milestone

2023 was the hottest year on record, by a mile
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2024 2:43 PM CST
2023 Shattered Heat Record, and This Year May Be Hotter
A woman cools off with a bottle of water amid a heat wave in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Nov. 18, 2023. She was waiting to see a Taylor Swift concert.   (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

It's the record everyone knew was coming: The European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service said Tuesday that 2023 was the hottest year on record, reports Reuters. What's more, those records go back only to 1850, and the EU scientists say 2023 was probably the hottest year of any in the last 100,000 years or so. "This has been a very exceptional year, climate-wise ... in a league of its own, even when compared to other very warm years," says the weather agency's director, Carlo Buontempo. Details:

  • Last year was 1.48 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times, the agency says. As the AP notes, that's just a smidge under the goal of 1.5 degrees set at the 2015 Paris accord. Many climate scientists say the 1.5-degree goal is all but dead—it's on track to fall in 2024—but they hold out hope for 2 degrees.
  • Last year shattered the previous mark set in 2016, when temperatures were 1.32 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, per Politico.
  • Beginning in June, every month through December was the hottest on record compared to the same months in previous years, notes the New York Times. As for 2024, "it's very, very likely to be top three, if not the record," says climate scientist Dr. Emily Becker of the University of Miami.
  • El Nino played a role in the heat, as did the eruption of a volcano in 2022 near the Pacific Island nation of Tonga, notes the Times. "Whether there's been a phase shift or a tipping point, or it's an anomalously warm year, we need more time and more scientific studies to understand," says the agency's deputy director Samantha Burgess.
(More climate change stories.)

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