It is highly likely that 2023 will be the hottest year on record, thanks to an exceptionally warm October.

This past October was the warmest ever recorded worldwide, with a temperature of 1.7 degrees Celsius (3.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average for the month. This marks the fifth consecutive month with this high temperature and it is highly likely that this year will be the warmest on record.

In October 2019, the global surface air and sea temperatures, among other data, were observed and recorded by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a European climate agency. The recorded temperature was 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the previous record for that month, which surprised Deputy Director Samantha Burgess.

“The extent to which we are breaking records is astounding,” Burgess remarked.

According to Copernicus, due to the added warmth over the past few months, it is highly likely that 2023 will break the record for hottest year.

Researchers observe changes in climate factors to comprehend the impact of human-induced greenhouse gas discharges on our planet’s development. According to Peter Schlosser, who serves as the vice president and vice provost of the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, a warmer Earth leads to heightened and severe weather occurrences such as intense droughts and hurricanes that carry a higher amount of water. Schlosser is not affiliated with Copernicus.

Schlosser stated that this is a clear indication that we are entering a climate era that will significantly affect a larger population. He emphasized the importance of heeding this warning, which should have been acknowledged and acted upon at least 50 years ago.

The current year has experienced unusually high temperatures due to the warming of the oceans. This has resulted in a decrease in their ability to mitigate the effects of global warming compared to previous years. According to Burgess, the ocean has typically absorbed up to 90% of the additional heat caused by climate change. Additionally, with the occurrence of El Nino, a natural climate pattern that temporarily warms parts of the ocean and influences weather patterns globally, we can expect further warming in the upcoming months.

According to Schlosser, the increasing global temperatures will likely lead to more record-breaking events in the future. However, the uncertainty lies in whether these records will be broken gradually or in larger increments. Schlosser also noted that the Earth is already surpassing the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) limit set by the Paris agreement to prevent further warming since the start of industrialization, and we have yet to see the full consequences of this warming. Now, Schlosser, Burgess, and other scientists stress the urgent need for action to reduce emissions and prevent further warming of the planet.

Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London, explains that the cost of continuing to use fossil fuels is significantly higher than the cost of stopping. This is evident when looking beyond the records being broken, and considering the impact on individuals and systems that are experiencing negative effects.


The report from Washington was assisted by AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein.


Connect with Melina Walling on X, previously referred to as Twitter: @MelinaWalling.


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