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Warning: 2024 could be hotter

Warning: 2024 could be hotter

2023 was, by far, the warmest year recorded on Earth so far, another body monitoring climate change confirms.

The average global temperature was 1.45 degrees above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900), according to the World Meteorological Organization, which notes that it is symbolically close to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. But this indicates a long-term warming where the limit is exceeded for at least two decades.

Many standard notes

Each decade since the 1980s has been warmer than the previous decade, and the past nine years have been the warmest on record.

The biggest culprit is climate change, which is caused primarily by human emissions from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. But last year, the naturally occurring climate phenomenon El Niño, which developed in mid-2023, caused the average global temperature to rise further.

“Given that El Niño typically has the greatest impact on global temperatures after it reaches its peak, 2024 could be even warmer,” Celeste Saulo, the new director of the WMO, wrote in a commentary.

“We must significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the transition to renewable energy sources.”

Sea ice shrinking

It has also been unusually warm in many places in the surface waters of the world's oceans for large parts of the year, with several dangerous marine heat waves occurring as a result. Additionally, Antarctic sea ice extent was at record lows for several periods in 2023.

In the wake of climate change, more and more extreme extreme events are expected to occur. In 2023, many people suffered from heat that led to health problems as well as devastating forest fires, but also against heavy rains, floods and strong storms. The human and financial costs are enormous.