As temperatures continue to reach unprecedented levels, scientists emphasize the pressing need for world leaders to take immediate action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This urgency comes to the forefront as these leaders gather in Dubai for the UNCOP28 climate conference later this month.
According to the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), October witnessed droughts in certain regions of the United States and Mexico, whereas significant areas across the globe experienced above-average rainfall, frequently associated with storms and cyclones.
Scientists say that the month has witnessed the highest-ever recorded sea surface temperatures, a direct result of global warming. This phenomenon has been identified as a crucial factor in intensifying and causing more devastating storms.
Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of C3S, remarked that October 2023 has witnessed extraordinary temperature anomalies, continuing the trend of global temperature records being shattered for the past four months.
It is highly probable that 2023 will surpass all previous records as the warmest year to date, with the current temperature being 1.43 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average. The need for immediate and ambitious climate action leading up to COP28 has reached unprecedented levels.
In a significant development known as the Paris Agreement, close to 200 nations joined forces and committed to restricting the rise in global temperatures to below two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times. Ideally, these countries aimed for an even more secure limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Instead of analyzing temperature thresholds based on a single year, these thresholds will be assessed as an average over multiple decades.
The onset of a warming El Nino weather phenomenon has been observed this year. This natural occurrence involves the heating of waters in the southern Pacific, leading to intensified heatwaves and extreme weather conditions. However, experts predict that the most severe impacts will likely occur towards the end of 2023 and continue into the following year.
According to Copernicus, the average temperature in October was 1.7 degrees Celsius higher than an estimation of the average temperature during the preindustrial era.
According to recent data, the global average temperatures have reached unprecedented levels since January, surpassing records dating back to 1940. The measurements indicate a significant increase of 1.43C above the pre-industrial average from 1850-1900.
In addition to the available official records, scientists argue that proxy data, such as tree rings or ice cores, indicates that the current year's temperatures may be unparalleled in human history. This evidence suggests that the ongoing warmth might surpass anything experienced in over 100,000 years.
In October, the average sea surface temperatures, excluding the polar regions, soared to record-breaking levels, reaching an impressive 20.79 degrees Celsius.
Scientists have determined that since the beginning of the industrial era, approximately 90 percent of the surplus heat generated by human activities has been absorbed by the world's oceans.
Climate change is causing oceans to become warmer, which in turn leads to stronger storms and the gradual erosion of essential ice shelves that provide protection to Greenland and Antarctica's colossal ice sheets. This alarming trend poses a significant risk of catastrophic sea level rise.
Increased atmospheric warmth leads to a greater capacity for moisture absorption, leading to intensified precipitation events.
Leaders convening in the United Arab Emirates for the COP28 conference, scheduled from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, will be confronted with a critical progress report on the global Paris commitments. This report comes at a crucial time as recent scientific findings highlight how far the world has deviated from its intended path.
Carbon emissions, primarily originating from the burning of fossil fuels, persistently increase when urgent measures demand a reduction of at least fifty percent within this decade.
Weather extremes, which have proven to be both disastrous and expensive, have been set in motion by a mere temperature increase of less than 1.2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
This year, individuals worldwide have encountered scorching heatwaves and prolonged periods of drought. Additionally, devastating floods have wreaked havoc in numerous countries such as the United States, China, India, and beyond.
The report issued a cautionary message, emphasizing that the planet has entered unprecedented territory with rising temperatures that pose a substantial threat to life on Earth.
According to the lead author, Professor William Ripple from Oregon State University, it is probable that annual average temperatures will begin surpassing the 1.5°C mark.
He stated that as the warming persists, we become more vulnerable to escalating climate feedback loops and critical thresholds, such as the melting of ice sheets and the decline of forests.
Once these tipping points are surpassed, the potential consequences for our climate might prove challenging or even irreversible.