2023 is gearing up to be the hottest year in the last 174 years, but experts caution that the worst is yet to come.
In line with current trends, the World Meteorological Organization is “virtually certain” that 2023 will be the warmest in the 174-year observational record — although the agency is yet to make an official declaration.
Details: Earth’s warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014, with 2016 holding the record as the warmest. With record-high levels of greenhouse gases and ocean heat content, experts now fear that the global average temperature limit could soon be crossed.
What they’re saying: “It’s practically sure that during the coming for years we will hit this 1.5, at least on a temporary basis,” WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said in an interview. “And in the next decade we are more or less going to be there on a permanent basis.”
Why it matters: This year has been a frightening preview of what a warmer reality for the world might mean — with hazardous heatwaves and extensive wildfires being some of the consequences.
The big picture: The WMO report was published to coincide with the start of the COP 28 climate summit in Dubai — meant to strike a sense of urgency among world leaders.