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The United Nations' weather agency has reported that 2023 has been the hottest year on record and predicts more extreme weather events due to climate change.
Science & Health

The United Nations’ weather agency has reported that 2023 has been the hottest year on record and predicts more extreme weather events due to climate change.

According to the United Nations’ weather agency, it is highly likely that 2023 will be the warmest year ever recorded. This prediction comes with a warning about concerning patterns that indicate a rise in floods, wildfires, melting glaciers, and heat waves in the coming years.

The World Meteorological Organization cautioned that the annual average temperature has risen by approximately 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. This is just 0.1 degrees shy of the target limit set by the Paris climate agreement in 2015 for the end of the century.

The secretary-general of the WMO stated that the start of El Nino this year, which is characterized by warming in the Pacific Ocean, may push the average temperature above the 1.5-degree (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) limit established in Paris.

“It is highly likely that within the next four years, we will reach this 1.5 degree mark, at least temporarily,” stated Petteri Taalas in an interview. “And in the following decade, we can expect to consistently remain at or above this level.”

FILE - Residents cross a road damaged during flooding in Tula, Tana River county in Kenya on Nov. 25, 2023.

On November 25, 2023, residents of Tula in Tana River County, Kenya were seen crossing a road that had been affected by flooding.

The World Meteorological Organization released the results for the beginning of the United Nations’ yearly meeting on climate change, which is taking place this year in Dubai, a city known for its wealth from oil.

The United Nations agency stated that the measure of success for the crucial Paris agreement objective will be the continuous maintenance of a 1.5-degree rise over a period of 30 years, rather than just one year. However, some argue that there is a need for clearer understanding on this matter.

The importance of understanding the implications of breaking the Paris agreement boundaries was emphasized by Richard Betts, a researcher at Britain’s Met Office. He, along with a team from the University of Exeter, published a paper on this topic in the journal Nature.

He stated that if there is no consensus on what is considered going over 1.5 degrees Celsius, it could lead to distractions and confusion when immediate action is crucial to prevent the severe consequences of climate change.

According to Taalas from WMO, regardless of the situation, it seems that the world is on track to greatly exceed that number.

An iceberg floats near at Bransfield Strait shore, Antarctica, Nov. 23, 2023.

On November 23, 2023, a piece of ice known as an iceberg was spotted near the shore of Bransfield Strait in Antarctica.

Taalas stated that if the current warming trend continues, we can expect a rise in global temperature between 2.5 to 3 degrees. This would result in a significant increase in the detrimental effects of climate change, such as glacial melting and rising sea levels, for thousands of years to come.

According to WMO, the years 2015 to 2023 were the warmest on record. While its data for this year only goes through October, it predicts that the remaining two months will not be enough to prevent 2023 from being the hottest year on record.

According to Taalas, there are indications of progress, such as a shift towards renewable energy and the use of electric vehicles, which can decrease the emission of carbon into the air and mitigate the trapping of heat in the atmosphere.

What was his message for the participants of the U.N climate conference, also referred to as COP28?

He stated that we must significantly decrease our usage of coal, oil, and natural gas in order to stay within the boundaries set by the Paris agreement. Fortunately, there are some changes taking place. However, in Western and wealthy nations, we are still reliant on oil and, though it has decreased, also on coal and natural gas.

“Decreasing the use of fossil fuels is the primary factor for achieving success.”