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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2023 set new global temperatures record at 1.48C anomaly above pre-industrial: Copernicus

Last year, 2023, at 1.48C anomaly averaged over the whole year, came within a whisker of being 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. The Eurpean Copernicus Climate Change Service has released its latest analysis for the year past. Have no doubt we have a climate emergency. This year, 2024, is likely to build upon the land and ocean warming, particularly with an El Nino in play, to produce an even hotter year, with more extreme weather events.

Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service said "2023 was an exceptional year with climate records tumbling like dominoes. Not only is 2023 the warmest year on record, it is also the first year with all days over 1°C warmer than the pre-industrial period. Temperatures during 2023 likely exceed those of any period in at least the last 100,000 years.”  

Meanwhile, Fossil Fuel producers like Australia, Norway, US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China UAE, Azerbijan are expanding production to cook the planet and all of us, when the science based assessments clearly say we have too much fossil fuels already in production.

Assessment of global temperatures and climate was released by The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission with funding from the EU.

Global surface air temperature highlights: 

  • 2023 is confirmed as the warmest calendar year in global temperature data records going back to 1850 
  • 2023 had a global average temperature of 14.98°C, 0.17°C higher than the previous highest annual value in 2016 
  • 2023 was 0.60°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average and 1.48°C warmer than the 1850-1900 pre-industrial level 
  • It is likely that a 12-month period ending in January or February 2024 will exceed 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level 
  • 2023 marks the first time on record that every day within a year has exceeded 1°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial level. Close to 50% of days were more than 1.5°C warmer then the 1850-1900 level, and two days in November were, for the first time, more than 2°C warmer. 
  • Annual average air temperatures were the warmest on record, or close to the warmest, over sizeable parts of all ocean basins and all continents except Australia  
  • Each month from June to December in 2023 was warmer than the corresponding month in any previous year 
  • July and August 2023 were the warmest two months on record. Boreal summer (June-August) was also the warmest season on record  
  • September 2023 was the month with a temperature deviation above the 1991–2020 average larger than any month in the ERA5 dataset 
  • December 2023 was the warmest December on record globally, with an average temperature of 13.51°C, 0.85°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.78°C above the 1850-1900 level for the month. You can access information specific for December 2023 in our monthly bulletin


Ocean surface temperature highlights:  

  • Global average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) remained persistently and unusually high, reaching record levels for the time of year from April through December 
  • 2023 saw a transition to El Niño. In spring 2023, La Niña came to an end and El Niño conditions began to develop, with the WMO declaring the onset of El Niño in early July. 
  • High SSTs in most ocean basins, and in particular in the North Atlantic, played an important role in the record-breaking global SSTs 
  • The unprecedented SSTs were associated with marine heatwaves around the globe, including in parts of the Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and North Pacific, and much of the North Atlantic 

European temperature highlights:

  • 2023 was the second-warmest year for Europe, at 1.02°C above the 1991-2020 average, 0.17°C cooler than 2020, the warmest year on record 
  • Temperatures in Europe were above average for 11 months during 2023 and September was the warmest September on record 
  • European winter (December 2022 – February 2023) was the second-warmest winter on record 
  • The average temperature for the European summer (June-August) was 19.63°C; at 0.83°C above average, it was the fifth-warmest on record 
  • European autumn (September-November) had an average temperature of 10.96°C, which is 1.43°C above average. This made autumn the second-warmest on record, just 0.03°C cooler than autumn 2020 

Other remarkable highlights:

  • 2023 was remarkable for Antarctic sea ice: it reached record low extents for the corresponding time of the year in 8 months. Both the daily and monthly extents reached all-time minima in February 2023 
  • Arctic sea ice extent at its annual peak in March ranked amongst the four lowest for the time of the year in the satellite record. The annual minimum in September was the sixth-lowest 
  • The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane continued to increase and reached record levels in 2023, reaching 419 ppm and 1902 ppb respectively. Carbon dioxide concentrations in 2023 were 2.4 ppm higher than in 2022 and methane concentrations increased by 11 ppb. 
  • A large number of extreme events were recorded across the globe, including heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires. Estimated global wildfire carbon emissions in 2023 increased by 30% with respect to 2022 driven largely by persistent wildfires in Canada 

Comment by Office of the UN Secretary General

Responding to the news at the regular briefing for correspondents in New York, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said that Secretary-General António Guterres “believes that humanity's actions are scorching the Earth” and that last year “was a mere preview of the catastrophic future that awaits if we don't act now.”

The UN chief said that the necessary response to record-breaking temperatures is “path-breaking action”.

“Mr. Guterres believes that leaders must commit to serious new national climate action plans” rapidly and fairly “and invest in helping vulnerable countries to combat climate chaos”, Mr. Dujarric continued 

“We can still avoid the worst of the climate catastrophe, he believes, but only if we if we act now with the ambition required to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5°C and deliver climate justice.”

Media Conference


Copernicus media release, 9 January, 2024, Copernicus: 2023 is the hottest year on record, with global temperatures close to the 1.5°C limit

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