We’ve just experienced the hottest 12-month period in recorded history, signaling a concerning escalation in global temperatures driven by climate change and fossil fuel consumption. A recent analysis by nonprofit organization Climate Central reveals that, as of October, Earth’s temperature was 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels from November 2022 to October 2023.
This milestone underscores the urgency of addressing climate change, especially as international negotiators prepare to discuss the Paris climate accord’s core objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures.
Andrew Pershing, Climate Central’s vice president for science, emphasized the severity of the situation, stating, “This is the hottest temperature that our planet has experienced in something like 125,000 years.” He pointed out that these extreme temperatures are a result of excessive carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. This record-breaking period follows other notable climate extremes this year, including July being the hottest month ever and September standing out as the most anomalously hot month.
Such trends are indicative of the accelerating impacts of climate change. To emphasize the tangible effects on daily life, Climate Central researchers examined the fingerprints of climate change on daily temperatures globally. Shockingly, 5.8 billion people experienced at least 30 days of above-average temperatures, significantly influenced by climate change. This impact was particularly pronounced in countries like Japan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, France, Brazil, Mexico, and across the Caribbean and Central America.
Furthermore, approximately 500 million people in 200 major cities endured at least five days of extreme heat, ranking in the highest 1 percent of temperatures for each city. Notably, Houston experienced the longest streak with 22 consecutive days, while cities like New Orleans, Jakarta, and Tangerang faced 17 consecutive days. All these heat streaks were made at least five times more likely due to global warming. These findings underscore the imperative for collective action to mitigate climate change’s far-reaching impacts on our daily lives and the future of our planet.
A summary of the analysis, with complete source data and localized graphics from Climate Central’s Climate Matters program is available at: https://www.climatecentral.org/climate-matters/earths-hottest-12-month-streak-2023
Source: Climate Central