Last month, Earth recorded its hottest October ever, according to data from Copernicus, the EU’s climate change monitoring service. The average surface air temperature reached 59.5°F (15.3°C), which is 1.53°F (0.85°C) higher than the average for October between 1991 and 2020. This follows a trend of record-breaking temperatures, with June, July, August, and September of this year also setting new highs.
The consistent increase in global temperatures has led experts to predict that 2023 will likely be the warmest year ever recorded. “We can say with near certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record, and is currently 1.43°C [2.5°F] above the pre-industrial average,” said Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth, told BBC News: “We really see no sign that this year’s string of exceptional record-setting months is going away anytime soon. And at this point, it makes it virtually certain in all the datasets that 2023 will be the warmest year on record. That’s a greater than 99% chance.”
Copernicus’ conclusions are based on billions of measurements from various sources, including satellites, ships, aircraft, and weather stations globally.
The data revealed that October 2023 was 0.72°F (0.4°C) warmer than the previous record set in October 2019. “October 2023 has seen exceptional temperature anomalies, following on from four months of global temperature records being obliterated,” Burgess reported.
For the period from January to October, the global average temperature for 2023 has been the highest on record, sitting at 2.5°F (1.43°C) above the pre-industrial average from 1850-1900. This figure is also 0.18°F (0.1°C) higher than the same period in 2016, which is currently the hottest year on record.
In addition to land temperatures, sea surface temperatures have also been significantly high. In October, the average sea surface temperature over the 60°S–60°N range was 69.4°F (20.79°C), the highest for October on record.
Furthermore, Antarctic sea ice extent continued to be at a record low for the sixth consecutive month, 11 percent below the average. Arctic Sea ice extent was the seventh lowest for October, 12 percent below average.
Precipitation patterns also showed notable variations in October, with above-average rainfall in most of Europe, the southwest of North America, parts of the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia and Siberia, southeast China, Brazil, New Zealand, and southern Africa. Conversely, drier conditions were observed in the southern US and parts of Mexico, as well as in most of Australia.
These escalating climate trends highlight the urgent need for decisive climate action, especially in the lead-up to COP28. “The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into COP28 has never been higher,” Burgess concluded.
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