The Earth’s atmosphere broke all previous yearly heat records in 2023, making it the possible hottest year on record, according to the European Climate Agency.
“The Earth broke all previous records for yearly heat, engaged with the global warming threshold, and displayed additional symptoms of a hot planet in 2023,” the agency was quoted in an AP report.
In the report, Woodwell Climate Research Centre climate scientist Jennifer Francis stated, “2023 was probably the hottest year on Earth in about 125,000 years.”
Several reasons contributed to 2023 being the hottest year on record, but the most significant was the ever-increasing amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which trap heat, besides the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Additional contributing factors include other natural oscillations in the Arctic, southern, and Indian oceans, heightened solar activity, and the 2022 eruption of an underwater volcano that released water vapor into the atmosphere. The natural El Nino affecting rainfall and increasing drought is a brief warming of the central Pacific that affects weather patterns globally.
Given the growing concern about climate change and the need to address the issue, for the first time, countries gathered for the yearly UN summit in December and decided that the world must move away from fossil fuels that are contributing to climate change. However, they did not establish any specific guidelines for doing so.
Burgess stated that it is “extremely likely” that 2024 will be much hotter than 2023 due to El Nino and record ocean heat levels.
In the words of Burgess, “choices must be made and lives are at risk, so the 1.5 degree goal has to be kept alive, and these decisions affect our children and our grandchildren, not you and me.”