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2023 Was Warmest Year On Record

2023 Was Warmest Year On Record

2023 Was Warmest Year On Record

WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – A new report from the World Meteorological Organization on March 19 showed that records were once again broken, and in some cases smashed, for greenhouse gas levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, Antarctic Sea ice cover and glacier retreat. It said that 2023 was the warmest year on record.

Heatwaves, floods, droughts, wildfires, and rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones caused misery and mayhem, upending the daily lives of millions, and inflicting many billions of dollars in economic losses, according to the ‘WMO State of the Global Climate 2023’ report.

The WMO report confirmed that 2023 was the warmest year on record, with the global average near-surface temperature at 1.45 degrees celsius (with a margin of uncertainty of plus/minus 0.12 degrees) above the pre-industrial baseline. It was also the warmest 10-year period on record.

“Sirens are blaring across all major indicators… Some records aren’t just chart-topping, they’re chart-busting. And changes are speeding up,” said United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres.

On an average day in 2023, nearly one-third of the global ocean was gripped by a marine heatwave, harming vital ecosystems and food systems.

Towards the end of 2023, over 90 percent of the ocean experienced heatwave conditions at some point during the year.

The global set of reference glaciers suffered the largest loss of ice on record (since 1950), driven by extreme melt in both western North America and Europe, according to preliminary data. Antarctic sea ice extent was by far the lowest on record, with the maximum extent at the end of winter at one million sq km below the previous record year — equivalent to the size of France and Germany combined.

The number of people who are acutely food insecure worldwide has more than doubled, from 149 million people before the Covid-19 pandemic to 333 million people in 2023 (in 78 monitored countries by the World Food Program).

Weather and climate extremes may not be the root cause, but they are aggravating factors, according to the report.

Weather hazards continued to trigger displacement in 2023, showing how climate shocks undermine resilience and create new protection risks among the most vulnerable populations.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope. Renewable energy generation, primarily driven by the dynamic forces of solar radiation, wind and the water cycle, has surged to the forefront of climate action for its potential to achieve decarbonization targets.

In 2023, renewable capacity additions increased by almost 50 percent from 2022, for a total of 510 gigawatts — the highest rate observed in the last two decades.

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