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NEW YORK, Nov 8, (Agencies): In the lead-up to a crucial climate summit this month, scientists have officially announced that 2023 is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded. Samantha Burgess, the deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, stated, “We can state with an exceptional degree of confidence that 2023 will go down as the warmest year in recorded history, with current temperatures surpassing the pre-industrial average by 1.43°C. The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action leading into Cop28 has never been more pronounced.”
Last month, researchers at Copernicus discovered that October 2023 had the distinction of being the hottest October on a global scale, with temperatures registering 1.7°C above the late 1800s average for October. This unsettling trend is primarily attributed to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, which have introduced heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, elevating the planet’s temperature by 1.2°C since the onset of the Industrial Revolution.
The data also revealed that the global temperature anomaly for October 2023 was the second-highest in their records, trailing only the previous month. Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London, emphasized the profound implications of this record-breaking heat, saying, “The fact that we are witnessing this historically high-temperature year translates into immense human suffering. Throughout the year, extreme heatwaves and droughts, exacerbated by these extreme temperatures, have resulted in thousands of deaths, people losing their livelihoods and displacement. These are the records that truly matter. That is why the Paris Agreement is a human rights treaty, and failing to meet its goals constitutes a vast violation of human rights.”
Eight years ago in Paris, world leaders pledged to strive to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. However, current policies are projected to push this increase to approximately 2.4°C. Akshay Deoras, a meteorology research scientist at the University of Reading, emphasized the gravity of the situation, noting, “The scorching temperatures of October 2023 are another unfortunate example of how temperature records are being shattered by a significant margin. Global warming caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with the return of the natural weather pattern El Niño, is taking a severe toll on our planet.”
This record-breaking heat is believed to have resulted from a potent combination of factors, including heightened greenhouse gas emissions, the resurgence of the El Niño weather phenomenon, decreased sulfur pollution, and a volcanic eruption in Tonga. Copernicus reported that El Niño conditions have continued to develop, although the temperature anomalies recorded thus far are lower than those observed during the strong El Niño events of 1997 and 2015.
Copernicus also disclosed that the average global mean temperature from January to October 2023 was the highest ever recorded, surpassing the 10-month average for 2016, the previous record-holder for the hottest year, by 0.1°C. Richard Allan, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, stressed that significant and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors are imperative to prevent a recurring pattern of record-breaking warmth and, more importantly, to mitigate the increasing severity of extreme weather events associated with a rapidly warming planet.
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