Climate: 2023 was the warmest year

The World Weather Organization (WMO) has officially confirmed the record high global average temperature for 2023.

Climate: 2023 was the warmest year

The World Weather Organization (WMO) has officially confirmed the record high global average temperature for 2023. After evaluating six different series of measurements, she gave the value as 1.45 degrees above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900). All six institutes would have classified 2023 as the hottest year. New WMO chief Celeste Saulo warned that this year could bring a new record.

So far, 2016 has been the hottest year since industrialization. The global average temperature at that time was around 1.29 degrees higher. In 2022 it was 1.15 degrees warmer than before industrialization.

The European climate service Copernicus reported the global average temperature for 2023 as 1.48 degrees this week. For its calculation, the WMO also evaluated series of measurements from three American and two British institutes. It indicates the measurement uncertainty as plus/minus 0.12 degrees. According to the WMO, the actual average temperature was probably 15.09 degrees. However, the measurement uncertainty is noticeably greater.

The Boy and The Girl

WMO head Saulo pointed out that the natural weather phenomenon El Niño influenced temperatures last year. It causes water temperatures to rise in parts of the Pacific and higher air temperatures every few years. Its counterpart, La Niña, is depressing temperatures.

“The fact that the cooling La Niña turned into a warming El Niño by mid-2023 is clearly reflected in the temperature increase last year,” said Saulo. "Because El Niño typically has the greatest impact on global temperatures after it peaks, it could get even hotter in 2024." The US weather agency NOAA expects El Niño to weaken over the course of the spring.

The probability that 2024 will be even warmer than 2023 is not particularly high and is currently one in three, it was said at a joint press conference by the US space agency NASA and the US climate agency NOAA. However, the probability that 2024 will be among the five warmest years measured so far is 99 percent.

WMO head Saulo called on the international community to curb climate change more decisively. This requires more drastic cuts in climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions and a faster transition to renewable energies. “Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity,” she said.

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