Global temperatures exceed 1.5°C warming limit for entire year, EU scientists say


The world has just experienced its hottest January on record, continuing an exceptional heatwave fueled by climate change, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said on Thursday.

Last month surpassed the previous warmest January, which occurred in 2020, in C3S records dating back to 1950.

The bumper month comes after 2023 was ranked as the hottest year on Earth according to world records dating back to 1850, as human-caused climate change and the El Niño weather phenomenon, which warms surface waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, pushed temperatures upward.

Since June, every month has been the hottest on record in the world, compared to the corresponding month in previous years.

“Not only is it the hottest January on record, but we have also just experienced a 12-month period of more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial reference period,” said Samantha Burgess , deputy director of C3S.

“Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are the only way to stop rising global temperatures,” she said.

For the first time, the global temperature exceeded the internationally agreed warming threshold over an entire 12-month period, from February 2023 to January 2024, with a temperature of 1.52°C, according to C3S.

We hope that the El Niño effect could weaken

US scientists estimate that 2024 has a one in three chance of being even warmer than last year and a 99% chance of ranking among the top five hottest years.

The El Niño began to weaken last month and scientists have indicated it could transform into its colder La Niña counterpart later this year. Yet global average sea surface temperatures last month were the highest on record for January.

Countries agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement to try to prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5°C, to prevent it leading to more serious and irreversible consequences.

WATCH l Scientists surprised by the rate of records broken in 2023:

2023 was the hottest year on record… by far

The year 2023 was 1.48°C warmer than the pre-industrial average from 1850 to 1900, beating 2016’s record by 1.25°C, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Even though the temperature has exceeded 1.5°C over a 12-month period, the world has not yet exceeded the Paris Agreement target, which refers to an average global temperature over several decades.

Some scientists said the target could no longer realistically be met, but urged governments to act more quickly to reduce CO2 emissions to limit the target being exceeded – and deadly heat, drought and rise in water levels that this would inflict on populations and ecosystems – as much as possible. as possible.

“It’s more than numbers, rankings and records – they translate into real impacts on our farms, families and communities from unprecedented heat, changing growing seasons and climate. “sea level rise,” North Carolina state climatologist Kathie Dello told the Associated Press.

Although the temperature was record high in January, the above-normal level was lower than in the previous six months, according to Copernicus data.

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