on Thursday, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared 2023 as the hottest year ever recorded, emphasizing the urgent need for immediate global intervention to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change.
WMO Chief Petteri Taalas expressed the severity of the situation.
“It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records.” the chief said.
The report outlined alarming statistics, highlighting that greenhouse gas levels, global temperatures, and sea level rise have all reached unprecedented highs, while Antarctic sea ice has hit a record low.
The WMO’s provisional 2023 State of the Global Climate report, released as leaders convened in Dubai for the UN COP28 climate conference, painted a grim picture of a world grappling with the aftermath of extreme weather events that have left “a trail of devastation and despair.”
United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres urged world leaders to take immediate action in response to the record-breaking heat findings.
He remarked that the revelations “should send shivers down the spines of world leaders,” emphasizing the critical nature of the current situation.
Scientists had set a target under the 2015 Paris Climate Accords to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius.
However, the WMO’s report revealed that by the end of October 2023, temperatures were already approximately 1.4 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline.
The report further noted that the difference between the first 10 months of 2023 and the previously record-setting years of 2016 and 2020 was so substantial that the final two months were unlikely to alter the ranking.
Additionally, the past nine years were identified as the hottest since modern record-keeping began.
WMO Chief Petteri Taalas emphasized the urgency of the situation.
“These are more than just statistics,” and warned of the imminent risk of losing the race to preserve glaciers and curb sea-level rise. He stressed the necessity of immediate action to address the evolving climate crisis, he said.
The WMO report also raised concerns about the El Niño weather phenomenon, which emerged mid-year, predicting that it is likely to exacerbate the heat in 2024.
El Niño, a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with increased global temperatures, typically influences the following year’s weather patterns.