State of the climate: Global temperatures throughout mid-2023 shatter records

(CarbonBrief, 23 Oct 2023) The first three quarters of 2023 has seen exceptional heat globally, putting 2023 on track to be the warmest year since records began in the mid-1800s, and likely for millennia before as well.

The past four months, in particular, have far exceeded any prior records, with September smashing the prior record by around 0.5C.

In this latest “state of the climate” quarterly update, Carbon Brief finds:

  • June, July, August, September and (very likely) October were the warmest respective months since records began.
  • 2023 is now virtually certain to be the hottest year on record globally.
  • A strong El Niño is expected to persist until mid-2024 in the majority of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecast models.
  • October is likely to be extremely warm based on daily data so far, though not quite as unusual as September.
  • While the exceptional warmth of the last few months is primarily driven by a strong El Niño on top of human-driven warming, other contributing factors include an uptick in the 11-year solar cycle, an unusual volcanic eruption last year and a 2020 phaseout of planet-cooling sulphur dioxide in marine shipping fuels. 
  • Ocean heat content set a new record in September and has increased substantially over the past 12 months.
  • Antarctic sea ice has been exceptionally far below the prior record low for the past six months, while Arctic sea ice remains at the low end of the historical range.
  • Global temperatures are closely aligned with the projections from climate models.

External link

CarbonBrief, 23 Oct 2023: State of the climate: Global temperatures throughout mid-2023 shatter records