2023 is set to become the hottest year in human history.
The announcement, made Thursday by European scientists, was hardly surprising after a summer of record heat in the northern hemisphere and an unusual September.
“This extreme month has propelled 2023 to the dubious honor of first place – on track to be the hottest year and around 1.4 (degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial average temperatures,” Samantha Burgess , Deputy Director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). said, in a press release.
“With two months to go before Cop28, the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical. »
C3S reached this conclusion based on computer-generated analyzes using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, planes and weather stations around the world.
Among the main conclusions:
- September 2023 was the hottest September on record globally with an average air temperature of 16.38°C, almost 1°C warmer than the average between 1991 and 2020. Last month was also half a degree warmer than the temperature of the previous hottest September in 2020.
- From January to September 2023, the global average temperature was 1.4°C higher than in the period 1850-1900, when some countries began to increase the burning of oil, gas and coal.
- Ocean temperatures reached 20.92°C in September, the highest ever recorded for that month and the second highest ever recorded after August 2023.
- Antarctica’s sea ice remained at a record level for this time of year.
Behind this record heat lies the human-made climate crisis, which continues to be pushed to new extremes by the continued burning of fossil fuels.
Temperatures are also amplified this year by the emergence of a natural climatic phenomenon, El Niño.
Increasing global heat is manifesting itself in extreme weather events around the world. Southern Europe, North Africa, North America and Asia have been facing relentless heat waves since late spring.
Increasing heat amplifies storms and has caused powerful hurricanes and deadly rains across the world. In Derna, Libya, thousands of people were killed after rain and floods caused two crumbling dams to collapse and wash a third of the town into the sea in September. Intense and erratic rainfall also caused deadly flash floods in India, China, South Korea, Brazil, Chile and the northeastern United States.
Forest fires broke out in Greece, Italy, Croatia and Algeria. In Canada, there have been 6,500 wildfires this year so far, destroying more than 71,000 square miles, an area twice the size of Portugal.
Australia experienced its driest September on record, adding to a growing list of countries struggling with drought.
In the Horn of Africa and South America, these conditions are pushing tens of millions more people into extreme hunger.
A disaster has been declared in southern Louisiana, around the city of New Orleans, after threats to drinking water supplies from massive saltwater intrusion into the dwindling Mississippi River.