October became the fifth warmest month on Earth’s recorded history
This October was the warmest on record globally, 1.7 degrees Celsius (3.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average – and the fifth month with such a mark, making it almost the hottest year on record.
October was 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the previous record for 2019, surprising even Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European climate agency that regularly publishes monthly bulletins that monitor global surface air. Sea temperature along with other data.
“The amount we’re breaking records is staggering,” Burgess said.
After the overall warming of the past several months, 2023 is almost guaranteed to be the hottest year on record, according to Copernicus.
Scientists track climate variables to understand how our planet is evolving as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. A warmer planet means more extreme weather events, such as severe droughts or hurricanes, said Peter Schlosser, associate professor and vice president of the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University. He is not related to Copernicus.
“It’s a clear sign that we’re moving into a climate regime that has a greater impact on more people,” Schlosser said. “We really should have taken this warning 50 years ago or more and made the right decisions.”
Because the oceans are warming, they are doing less to counteract global warming than in the past, so this year was much warmer. Historically, the ocean has absorbed up to 90% of the excess heat from climate change, Burgess said. More warming can be expected in the coming months amid El Nino, a natural climate cycle that temporarily warms parts of the ocean and drives weather changes around the world, he added.
Schlosser said the world should expect more records to be broken as a result of that warming, but the question is whether they will come in small steps going forward. He said the planet has already warmed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, which the Paris Agreement aims to cap, and the planet has yet to see the full impact of that warming. Now, he, Burgess and other scientists say, the need for action — to halt planet-warming emissions — is urgent.
“It’s much more expensive to stop burning these fossil fuels than it is to burn them. That’s what this shows,” said Friedrich Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. “Of course, when you see records being broken, you don’t see the people and systems that are affected, but that’s what matters.”
AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report from Washington.
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