EU Climate Change Service: 2023 was almost 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial average

According to the EU climate change service Copernicus, last year was 1.

EU Climate Change Service: 2023 was almost 1.5 degrees warmer than pre-industrial average

According to the EU climate change service Copernicus, last year was 1.48 degrees warmer than the global pre-industrial average. “It is likely that temperatures in 2023 will be warmer than in the past 100,000 years,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), at the launch of the Global Climate Highlights 2023 report.

Copernicus had already announced in December that the year was the warmest since records began in 1850. Climate researchers can indirectly reconstruct the climate in the past from tree rings or air bubbles in glaciers.

It can be assumed that in January or February there will be a period of 12 months above the 1.5 degree threshold, compared to the average for the years 1850 to 1900, it was now said. Experts believe it is entirely possible that 2024 will be even warmer and that the entire year could break the 1.5 degree threshold for the first time. However, that does not mean that the Paris 1.5 degree target has been missed, as longer-term average values ​​are being looked at.

The oceans were far too warm

According to Copernicus, the global average temperature in 2023 was 14.98 degrees Celsius, 0.17 degrees higher than the previous record year of 2016. Last year, for the first time, every day of the year was at least one degree above pre-industrial levels, on two Days in November it was even more than two degrees. From June to December, each month was warmer than the previously recorded record values ​​for the respective month. Europe experienced its second warmest year on record.

“A key cause of the unusual air temperatures in 2023 was the unprecedentedly high surface temperatures of the oceans,” says Copernicus. The main reason for the warm seas is the continued increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Another factor is the recurring weather phenomenon El Niño, which began last year. It heats up the Pacific every few years. Overall, global sea surface temperatures from April to December would have reached record levels for this period.

The current El Niño event is expected to peak this month or next, Burgess said. However, the effects will probably continue to be felt further into the year. "We know that the impact of El Niño on global temperatures is typically stronger in the second year of the event than the first," Burgess said.

Decarbonization must be promoted

"The extreme events we have observed in recent months are a dramatic testimony to how far we have moved from the climate in which our civilization previously thrived," said C3S director Carlo Buontempo. Humanity has never before been confronted with such a climate. Given the developments so far, the record year 2023 will probably be considered a cold year in a few years, Buontempo said on Tuesday and called for the decarbonization of the economy to be pushed forward.

The European Union's climate change service Copernicus regularly publishes data on surface temperatures, sea ice cover and precipitation. The findings are based on computer-generated analyzes that incorporate billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.