EU Climate Observatory: 2023 hottest year on record

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London, England.

The current year is on track to be the warmest on record, according to the European Union’s Climate Change Service Copernicus on Thursday.

The hottest September globally on record followed a summer of record-breaking temperatures this year, the Copernicus observatory said.

Temperatures in September this year were a half-degree hotter than in the previous hottest September on record, and nearly a full degree hotter than in the average September between 1991 and 2020.

“The unprecedented temperatures for the time of year observed in September following a record summer have broken records by an extraordinary amount.’’

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement.

Temperatures over the course of 2023 are now on track to be 1.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial average temperatures, Burgess said.

That is only 0.1 degrees below the target set by the Paris Climate Agreement, which aimed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.

In September, however, it was already 1.75 degrees more than in the pre-industrial reference period from 1850 to 1900.

“Two months out from (UN World Climate Conference) COP28 – the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical,’’ Burgess added.

Antarctic sea ice also reached a historic low in September, covering 9 per cent less area than sea ice did on average from 1991 to 2020.

In the Arctic, sea ice in September was at its fifth lowest level.

In terms of rainfall, the picture was mixed in September.

Large parts of Western Europe received more rain than usual and there was flooding in Greece and Libya as a result of Storm Daniel, a tropical-like cyclone that battered the Mediterranean Sea.

But other parts of Europe, the United States, Mexico, Central Asia and Australia recorded the driest September month since records began.

The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service regularly publishes data on temperature at the Earth’s surface, sea ice cover and precipitation data.

The findings were based on computer-generated analyses that incorporate billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world. 

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