The year 2023 was the warmest year on record


temperature anomaly 2023
Surface air temperature anomalies for 2023 compared to the 1991–2020 reference period average. Credit: C3S/ECMWF.
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Global temperatures reached exceptionally high levels in 2023, breaking several records. Now a European service Copernicus just confirmed which was very likely: 2023 was the warmest year on record (since 1850). 1.48°C above the pre-industrial averageand far surpassed 2016, the second warmest year.

The Copernicus report, based on reanalysis data from the ERA5 file, states a overview of the most important climate extremes in 2023 and their main factors. Below are the most important information about global air and ocean temperatures and greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Surface air temperature

Surface air temperature in 2023 will break several global records. In early June, global daily anomalies reached +1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) for several consecutive days. And since then, daily anomalies above +1.5°C have been frequent.

increase in surface air temperature
Increase in global surface air temperature compared to the 1850–1900 average (pre-industrial level), shown as five-year averages since 1850 (left) and as annual averages since 1967 (right). Credit: C3S/ECMWF.

I.e does not mean that we have exceeded the limits set by the Paris Agreement, because they cover a period of at least 20 consecutive years, but this represents a difficult precedent, according to the researchers.

Global advantages:

  • IN In 2023, the global average temperature was 14.98 °Cor 0.17°C higher than the previous annual high in 2016;
  • The The year 2023 was 0.60 °C warmer compared to the 1991-2020 average and 1.48°C warmer than the pre-industrial level of 1850-1900;
  • Almost 50% of days in 2023 exceeded 1.5°C compared to the period 1850-1900 and two November days were more than 2°C warmer than this period for the first time;
  • Every month from June to December 2023 was warmer than the same corresponding month in any previous year;
  • They were July and August 2023 the two hottest months on record;
  • the boreal summer (June to August) was also the warmest on record;
  • December 2023 was the warmest December on record worldwide, with 0.85°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.78°C above the 1850-1900 level per month;

Sea Surface Temperature (SST)

Global mean SST has remained persistently and anomalously high over the past year. In the long run, this is a major contributing factor warming oceans is the continued increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, however, in 2023 another factor was involved: the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Increased SSTs have been associated with marine heat waves around the world, including parts of the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the North Pacific, and much of the North Atlantic.

Some global highlights:

  • The Global mean SST between April and December 2023 were the highest at this time of year;
  • In the spring of 2023 La Niña ended and El Niño began to develop; The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared the onset of El Niño in early July;
  • Increased SSTs in most ocean basins, especially in the North Atlantic, which played an important role in global SST records;
  • Unprecedented SSTs have been associated with marine heat waves Worldwide;

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gas concentrations in 2023 reach highest values ​​ever recorded in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations were 2.4 ppm higher than in 2022 and methane (CH4) concentrations increased by 11 ppb. The rate of increase in CO2 was similar to recent years, while the rate of increase in CH4 remained high but lower than in the last 3 years.

Other records that marked the year 2023

Sea ice in Antarctica has reached a record low for the corresponding period of the year in 8 months. Daily and monthly spreads hit historic lows in February; Arctic sea ice extent in March was one of the four lowest for the season. September’s annual low was the sixth lowest; Many extreme events such as heat waves, floods, droughts and forest fires have been recorded around the world. Global carbon emissions will increase by 30% from 2022, mainly due to wildfires in Canada.

To know more:

Copernicus, Climate Change Service. Copernicus: 2023 is the hottest year on record, global temperatures close to 1.5°C2023.


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