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Climate change: 2023 likely hottest year recorded — EU

November 8, 2023

2023 is "virtually certain" to be the warmest in 125,000 years, the EU climate monitor said as data showed last month was the world's hottest October.

 A woman walks to fetch water from a nearby hand-pump with a water cooler on her head, during a heatwave, on the outskirts of Jacobabad, Pakistan,
Experts say that there is an urgent need for action to stop planet-warming emissionsImage: Akhtar Soomro/REUTERS

This October was the hottest on record globally, the European Union's climate agency said on Wednesday, making 2023 "virtually certain" to be the warmest in 125,000 years.

Last month was 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the previous record for October in 2019, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said.

Parts of the United States and Mexico were left parched by drought during October as other areas on the planet saw wetter than normal conditions often due to storms and cyclones, the C3S said.

What has contributed to rising temperatures?

Sea surface temperatures were also the highest ever recorded for the month — a phenomenon driven by global warming that scientists say is a factor in storms becoming more violent and destructive.

Continued greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, along with the emergence this year of the El Nino weather pattern, which warms the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, has caused the heat to rise.

"October 2023 has seen exceptional temperature anomalies, following on from four months of global temperature records being obliterated," Samantha Burgess, C3S deputy director, said.

October was 1.7C warmer than an estimate of the October average for the preindustrial era, Copernicus added.

The record-breaking October means 2023 is now "virtually certain" to be the warmest year recorded, C3S said. The previous record was in 2016 — another El Nino year.

As world leaders prepare to meet at the UNCOP28 climate conference in Dubai in November, climate experts say that there is an urgent need for action to stop planet-warming emissions.

"The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into COP28 has never been higher," Burgess said.

How one community in Kenya is adapting to climate change

dvv/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)