BRUSSELS, Nov 8 (Reuters) – This year will be the hottest on record in the past 125,000 years, European Union scientists said on Wednesday.
Last month, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported that the October temperature record since 2019 had been broken by the largest margin.
“The record was broken by 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is a huge margin,” said C3S Deputy Director Samantha Burgess, describing the October temperature anomaly as “very extreme”.
This warming is the result of continued greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, coupled with the emergence of this year’s El Niño weather pattern, which warms surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Globally, the average surface air temperature in October was 1.7°C warmer than the same month in 1850–1900, the pre-industrial period defined by Copernicus.
C3S said in a statement that 2023 is “certainly certain” to be the hottest year on record. The previous record was 2016 – another El Niño year.
Copernicus’ dataset goes back to 1940. “When we combine our data with the IPCC, we can say this is the warmest year in the last 125,000 years,” Burgess said.
Long-term data from the UN Climate Science Panel IPCC includes readings from sources such as ice caps, tree rings and coral deposits.
A month before October 2023, the previous simultaneous temperature record was exceeded by such a large margin.
“September really surprised us. So after last month, it’s hard to tell if we’re in a new climate state. But now the records continue to fall, and they surprise me more than they did a month ago,” Burgess said.
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “Most El Niño years are now on record because El Niño’s additional global warming adds to the steady decline in human-caused warming.”
Climate change is driving increasingly destructive extremes. This year has included floods that killed thousands in Libya, severe heat waves in South America and Canada’s worst wildfire season ever.
“The catastrophic floods, bushfires, storms and heatwaves seen this year must not be allowed to become the new normal,” said Piers Forster, a climate scientist at the University of Leeds.
“Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade could halve the rate of warming,” he added.
Although countries have set increasingly ambitious targets to gradually reduce emissions, this has not happened so far. Global CO2 emissions could reach record levels in 2022.
Report by Kate Abnett; Editing by John Harvey
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