06 December 2023
European Union scientists said on Wednesday that 2023 would be the warmest year on record. The average world temperature for the first 11 months of the year hit the highest level on record, 1.46 degrees Celsius above the 1850 to 1900 average.
The record comes as governments are in negotiations at the COP28 meeting in Dubai. Governments are deciding whether to gradually stop the use of coal, oil and gas, the main source of warming emissions.
The temperature for the January to November period was 0.13 degrees higher than the average for the same period in 2016, currently the warmest calendar year on record. That information comes from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
November 2023 was the warmest November on record worldwide. The average surface air temperature was 14.22 degrees, 0.85 degrees above the 1991 to 2020 average for November. It was 0.32 degrees above the previous warmest November, in 2020, C3S added.
Samantha Burgess is deputy director of C3S. She said in a statement that the "November temperatures, including two days warmer than 2C above preindustrial, mean that 2023 is the warmest year in recorded history."
The autumn in the Northern Hemisphere from September to November was also the warmest on record by a large amount. The average temperature was 15.3 degrees, 0.88 degrees above average, EU scientists said.
The 2015 Paris climate agreement set a goal of limiting worldwide temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times. Above that limit, scientists warn of severe effects on weather, health and agriculture.
Diplomats, scientists, activists and others have been meeting in Dubai to find ways to limit warming to those levels. But the planet is not cooperating. They say Earth is on its way to reach 2.7 to 2.9 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
C3S records go back to 1940. United States government records go back to 1850. Using information from ice cores, tree rings and corals, scientists have said this is the warmest 10-year period Earth has seen in about 125,000 years. That dates back to the time before human civilization.
Scientists say there are two driving forces behind the six straight months of record hot temperatures. One is human-caused climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. And El Nino, the natural warming of surface waters in the Pacific, is making it worse.
"2023 is very likely to be a cool year in the future unless we do something about our dependence on fossil fuels," Burgess said.
I'm Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by Reuters and The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
emission — n. the act of producing or sending out something from a source
preindustrial — adj. relating to a time before industrialization
fossil fuel — n. a fuel such as coal, oil, or natural gas that is formed in the earth from dead plants or animals