The WMO’s provisional State of the Global Climate report confirms that 2023 will be the warmest year on record by a large margin, replacing the previous record-holder 2016, when the world was around 1.2C warmer than the preindustrial average.
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For that, the level of warming would need to be sustained for longer.
Already, a year of 1.4C has provided a frightening preview of what permanently crossing 1.5C might mean.
This year, Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest winter maximum extent on record, some 1 million square kilometers (386,000 sq miles) less than the previous record. Swiss glaciers lost about 10 per cent of their remaining volume over the last two years, the report said. And wildfires burned a record area in Canada, amounting to about five per cent of the country’s woodlands.
Climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, combined with the emergence of the natural El Nino climate pattern in the Eastern Pacific pushed the world into record territory this year.
Next year could be worse, the scientists said, as El Nino’s impacts are likely to peak this winter and drive higher temperatures in 2024.
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