It's no secret human activity is warming the planet, driving more frequent and intense extreme weather events and transforming ecosystems at an extraordinary rate.
Many scientists said they fear the acceleration of climate change that is already right at the edge of the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) increase since pre-industrial times that nations had hoped to stay within.
But the record-shattering temperatures of 2023 have nonetheless alarmed scientists, hinting at some "mysterious" new processes that may be underway, NASA's top climatologist Gavin Schmidt told the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“It wasn't just a record. It was a record that broke the previous record by a record margin. We started with La Nina, this cool phenomenon in the tropical Pacific. That was still around until March. And then in May, we started to see the development of an El Nino, the warm phase of that cycle. It normally affects the temperatures in the following year. So that would be 2024. But what we saw in 2023 was that the temperatures globally seemed to go up with the El Nino event, in a much greater way than we'd ever seen it before,” Schmidt said.
The Associated Press (AP) asked more than three dozen scientists in interviews and emails what the smashed records mean.
Most said they fear the acceleration of climate change that is already right at the edge of the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) increase since pre-industrial times that nations had hoped to stay within.
"The heat over the last calendar year was a dramatic message from Mother Nature," said University of Arizona climate scientist Katharine Jacobs. Scientists say warming air and water are making deadly and costly heat waves, floods, droughts, storms, and wildfires more intense and more likely, Mainichi Shimbun also reported.