Home News U.N. Climate Change Conference Opens During Hottest Year on Record

U.N. Climate Change Conference Opens During Hottest Year on Record


The global mean near-surface temperature in 2023 (to October) was around 1.40 ± 0.12 °C above the 1850–1900 average. Based on the data to October, it is virtually certain that 2023 will be the warmest year in the 174-year observational record, surpassing the previous joint warmest years, 2016 at 1.29 ± 0.12 °C above the 1850–1900 average and 2020 at 1.27±0.13 °C. The past nine years, 2015–2023, will be the nine warmest years on record.


Correlatively, the WMO reports that the accumulation in the atmosphere of globe-warming greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—also reached record levels this year. For example, carbon dioxide released chiefly through the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas rose in May from the atmospheric preindustrial level of about 280 to 424 parts per million—a more than 50 percent increase.  As temperatures rise, the extent of sea ice declines, land glaciers and ice sheets lose mass, and sea levels rise.

The WMO report lists several extreme weather disasters from the current year, including floods, droughts, cyclones, and wildfires. And while certainly people are impacted by them, it is worth noting that the long-term trend is toward ever fewer deaths from natural disasters. This is largely because a wealthier world has been able to adapt…

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