Climate scientists from the European Union said Wednesday that 2023 is on track to be the planet’s warmest year in recorded history while noting that this should serve as a warning for the world’s leaders ahead of the COP28 climate summit later this month.
According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the global average temperature from January to October this year is the highest on record—0.10°C higher than 2016, the warmest calendar year on record so far.
Samantha Burgess, C3S’ deputy director, said the agency “can say with near certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record.”
The agency noted that last month was the hottest October on record and 1.7°C warmer than average temperatures for the same month in pre-industrial times.
Burgess told Reuters that C3S had combined its data for 2023 with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and determined that 2023 will be “the warmest year for the last 125,000 years.”
A particular concern flagged by C3S is the extent of the temperature anomaly for 2023 compared to the 30-year reference period from 1991 to 2020.
The agency’s director Carlo Buontempo told Bloomberg: “The difference between the temperature of this October and the average temperature of October in the last 30 years is extraordinarily large…We are already in uncharted territory. We are already experiencing a climate that we have never seen in our life or in our history.”
1.5°C. That is the preferred limit for the increase in global temperatures compared to pre-industrial numbers according to the 2015 Paris Agreement signed by world leaders. Average global temperatures in 2023 have been 1.43°C above pre-industrial levels, the C3S said.