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expert reaction to ‘exceptional temperature anomalies and 2023 virtually certain to be warmest year on record’

A study published by Copernicus suggests 2023 will possibly become the warmest year on record. 


Dr Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said:

“I think the most important thing to highlight here is that this is not just another record or another big number that is statistically interesting. The fact that we’re seeing this record hot year means record human suffering. Within this year, extreme heatwaves and droughts made much worse by these extreme temperatures have caused thousands of deaths, people losing their livelihoods, being displaced etc.  These are the records that matter.  That is why the Paris Agreement is a human rights treaty, and not keeping to the goals in it is violating human rights on a vast scale.”


Prof Richard Allan, Professor of Climate Science, University of Reading, said:

“It is one of the worst kept secrets that 2023 looks set to be the warmest year globally in the observational record and with October warmth continuing the record crushing trend and an El Niño flexing its muscles it seems a dead cert. Only with rapid and massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors can we avoid these repeating headlines of record breaking warmth and more importantly limit the growing severity of wet, hot and dry extremes that accompany a rapidly warming world.”


Dr Akshay Deoras, Research Scientist, National Centre for Atmospheric Science and the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, said:

“The sizzling October 2023 is another unfortunate example that shows how temperature records are getting shattered by a humongous margin. Global warming due to increased greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean are hitting the planet really hard. It is frightening to see that the global temperature since June 2023 is much warmer than that during the second half of 2015 when El Niño was much stronger. Our planet continues to pass through unfortunate milestones in its meteorological history, and it won’t be surprising to see new records in subsequent months.”


Prof David Reay, Professor of Carbon Management and Executive Director of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, University of Edinburgh, said:

“Laid out so starkly, the 2023 numbers on air temperatures, sea temperatures, sea ice and the rest look like something out of a Hollywood movie. Indeed, if our current global efforts to tackle climate change were a film it would be called ‘Hot Mess’.”


Prof Ed Hawkins, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, said:

“Another month, another unprecedented record. The consequences are all too clear: floods, heatwaves and storms, all made worse by climate change and our reliance on burning fossil fuels. We already have many of the solutions to wean ourselves off this deadly addiction, but only if different choices are made to confront this issue now, rather than pretend it will be solved in the future and therefore commit the world to even worse consequences.”


’October 2023 – Exceptional temperature anomalies; 2023 virtually certain to be warmest year on record’ was published in Copernicus at 03:00 UK time on Wednesday 8th November. 


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