WMO Report: 2023 Hottest Year Ever — ‘Sounding The Red Alert To The World’

March 19, 2024

Clear skies and bright sunshine this late-afternoon Tuesday here in California’s Central Valley — a preview for summer as temps kicked in at close to 80 degrees, though, a ‘cooling trend‘ is expected for tomorrow and Thursday.
And proper, too, to celebrate the first day of Spring today — officially starts tonight at 11:06 PM EST — with some hot news about the continuing heating up of our natural habitat.

Instead of some item concerning the ever-enlarging asshole T-Rump, let’s take a second to check out some new climate-change shit news that, of-freaking-course, indirectly links the Orange Turd to a worsening environmental situation (he’s going to strip/gut the EPA and other climate agencies/operations if he’s re-elected as president — as will any Republican) and the news isn’t-good. Despite the continued warning, we’re in a really, really bad place when it comes to the making of our planet unlivable.

This morning once again another precise cautionary report with real-fucking terrible implications:

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) study paints a nasty picture:

The WMO report confirmed that 2023 was the warmest year on record, with the global average near-surface temperature at 1.45 °Celsius (with a margin of uncertainty of ± 0.12 °C) above the pre-industrial baseline. It was the warmest ten-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.

“Never have we been so close – albeit on a temporary basis at the moment – to the 1.5° C lower limit of the Paris Agreement on climate change.” said WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo. “The WMO community is sounding the Red Alert to the world.”

“Climate change is about much more than temperatures. What we witnessed in 2023, especially with the unprecedented ocean warmth, glacier retreat and Antarctic sea ice loss, is cause for particular concern,” she said.

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% of the ocean had experienced heatwave conditions at some point during the year.

On just the temperatures:

The global mean near-surface temperature in 2023 was 1.45?±?0.12?°C above the pre-industrial 1850–1900 average. 2023 was the warmest year in the 174-year observational record. This shattered the record of the previous warmest years, 2016 at 1.29 ± 0.12?°C above the 1850–1900 average and 2020 at 1.27±0.13?°C.

The ten-year average 2014–2023 global temperature is 1.20±0.12°C above the 1850–1900 average.
Globally, every month from June to December was record warm for the respective month. September 2023 was particularly noteworthy, surpassing the previous global record for September by a wide margin (0.46 to 0.54 °C).

The long-term increase in global temperature is due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The shift from La Niña to El Niño conditions in the middle of 2023 contributed to the rapid rise in temperature from 2022 to 2023.

Global average sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) were at a record high from April onwards, with the records in July, August and September broken by a particularly wide margin. Exceptional warmth was recorded in the eastern North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the North Pacific and large areas of the Southern Ocean, with widespread marine heatwaves.

Some areas of unusual warming such as the Northeast Atlantic do not correspond to typical patterns of warming associated with El Niño, which was visibly present in the Tropical Pacific.

Further from the Guardian this morning:

Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London who was not involved in the report, said: “If we do not stop burning fossil fuels, the climate will continue to warm, making life more dangerous, more unpredictable, and more expensive for billions of people on earth.”

Climate scientists are divided on whether extreme temperatures seen at the start of 2024 represent an unexpected acceleration of the climate crisis. Some indicators, such as sea surface temperatures, have been unexpectedly high – even accounting for the return of the ocean-warming weather pattern El Niño – while other weather events have reached rare extremes sooner that thought.

Andreas Fink, a meteorologist at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology who was not involved in the report, said: “In terms of temperatures, it can be stated that a year like 2023, although extreme, is already possible in climate simulations of the current human-heated climate. But not all extreme weather events can be simulated with the current climate models.”


Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London, said the state of the climate is an “accelerating crisis” for humanity. “This is, sadly, only the beginning of much worse impacts to come, given carbon emissions are still rising and there is continued massive new investment in extracting fossil fuels.”

In a way-related side note — global ocean surface temperatures have been pushed to a daily record for more than a year.
Via CNN yesterday:

Global ocean surface temperatures started breaking daily records in mid-March last year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, fueling concerns for marine life and extreme weather across the planet.

“The amplitude by which previous sea surface temperature records were beaten in 2023, and now again in 2024, is remarkable,” said Joel Hirschi, associate head of marine systems modeling at the National Oceanography Centre in the UK.

Global average ocean temperatures in 2023 were 0.25 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous year, said Gregory C. Johnson, a NOAA oceanographer. That rise is “is equivalent to about two decades’ worth of warming in a single year,” he told CNN. “So it is quite large, quite significant, and a bit surprising.”

Scientists have said ocean heat is being supercharged by human-caused global warming, boosted by El Niño, a natural climate pattern marked by higher-than-average ocean temperatures.


If very high ocean temperatures continue into the second half of 2024 and a La Niña event develops — El Niño’s counterpart that tends to amplify Atlantic hurricane season — “this would increase the risk of a very active hurricane season,” Hirschi said.

About 90 percent of the world’s excess heat produced by burning planet-heating fossil fuels is stored in the oceans. “Measuring ocean warming allows us to track the status and evolution of planetary warming,” Schuckmann told CNN. “The ocean is the sentinel for global warming.”

El Niño is weakening and predicted to dissipate over the next few months, which could level off the record ocean temperatures, especially if the cooling effects of La Niña replace it.

“In the past, surface temperature values have decreased after the passage of El Niño,” Schuckmann said. But, she added, it’s currently impossible to predict when ocean heat will drop below record levels.

Seemingly, right now, a whole lot of shit is ‘currently impossible to predict,’ yet it doesn’t take a rocket scientist — or a climate scientist — to recognize the numbers are adding up to a bad close encounter of the boiling-hot kind.

The WMO report animated:

Contrary to the continuous ‘red alerts,’ yet once again here we are…

(Illustration out front found here.)

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