European Union scientists have stated that this year is “virtually certain” to be the warmest in 125,000 years. This conclusion comes after data revealed that last month was the hottest October on record. The previous October temperature record from 2019 was shattered by a significant margin. Samantha Burgess, the Deputy Director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), described the temperature anomaly in October as “very extreme” and emphasized that the record was broken by 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is a substantial difference. The heat is a result of ongoing greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, combined with the emergence of the El Nino weather pattern this year, which warms the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Globally, the average surface air temperature in October was 1.7 degrees Celsius warmer than the same month during the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900. This significant increase in temperature means that 2023 is now “virtually certain” to be the warmest year ever recorded, surpassing the previous record set in 2016, which was also an El Nino year. The dataset from Copernicus, which dates back to 1940, when combined with the data from the U.N. climate science panel IPCC, allows scientists to confidently state that this is the warmest year in the last 125,000 years.
The longer-term data from the IPCC includes readings from various sources such as ice cores, tree rings, and coral deposits. It is worth noting that September 2023 was the only other month before October that broke the temperature record by such a large margin. Samantha Burgess expressed surprise at the record-breaking temperatures in September and stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine whether we are in a new climate state. However, with records continuously being broken, the surprise factor is diminishing.
Climate scientist Michael Mann from the University of Pennsylvania explained that most El Nino years are now record-breakers due to the additional global warmth caused by El Nino, which adds to the ongoing human-caused warming. Climate change is leading to more destructive extremes, as evidenced by the floods in Libya, severe heatwaves in South America, and Canada’s worst wildfire season on record this year. Piers Forster, a climate scientist at the University of Leeds, emphasized the need to prevent these devastating events from becoming the new normal. By rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, it is possible to halve the rate of warming.
Despite countries setting ambitious targets to gradually reduce emissions, global CO2 emissions reached a record high in 2022. This highlights the urgency of taking immediate action to address climate change. The article concludes with information about the reporters covering climate and environmental issues for RushHourDaily, including their areas of expertise and previous accolades.
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