It may not have been a record-breaking month in Poland, but in the world January was the warmest in recorded history. This is the exception that only proves the rule. Throughout 2023, temperatures were 1.5 degrees higher than in the pre-industrial era. It is certainly influenced by people who can also stop this process.
These are the records you need to avoid, and they are broken one after the other. After the hottest year in recorded history, 2023, the start of the next year does not fill us with optimism. January was the warmest January on record – In Valencia, the temperature should be around 12 degrees Celsius, about half of what it is currently. It’s not good for people, not for farmers, for fish, for anyone, says Teresa, a resident of Valencia.
This unusual heat is not only the experience of the inhabitants of southern Europe, but also a conclusion drawn from the data. Scientists from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service program in their latest report summarizing recent observations found that the temperature in January was as much as 0.7 degrees Celsius higher than average. Globally it was at 13.14 degrees Celsius. – We are experiencing more and more extreme droughts and more and more frequent extreme heat events. They are lasting longer and more intense, says Professor Liz Bentley from the Royal Meteorological Society.
The first month of the year was as much as 1.66 degrees Celsius warmer than the estimated January average for the pre-industrial period. “2024 begins with another record month – not only is this the warmest January on record, but we have also just experienced a 12-month period in which temperatures were more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial reference period,” says Samantha Burges, head of Copernicus Climate Change Service.
A disturbing conclusion emerges from these data. – We are getting closer to the goal set in the 2015 Paris Agreement – says Professor Liz Bentley.
Under the agreement, governments committed to keeping the increase in average global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels and to strive to keep it no more than 1.5 Celsius. It is clear that this will become more and more difficult. – When we exceed this 1.5 degree threshold, weather events will become more extreme and more persistent. But we are also approaching some of our tipping points that will mean permanent change across the climate system. For example, this concerns the melting of the ice sheet in Greenland and parts of Antarctica. This will lead to a catastrophic rise in sea levels, warns Professor Liz Bentley.
It’s not just the air that’s getting warmer. The data show that the sea water temperature is also much higher. “After January 31 this year, the daily ocean surface temperature reached a new absolute record, exceeding the previous highest values on August 23 and 24, 2023,” reads an excerpt from the report.
It is still not too late – but greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced draconianly and as quickly as possible. But what is needed here is political will and social consensus, as well as the awareness that changes are inevitable and will be painful for many branches of the economy. – We know what the problem is, i.e. burning fossil fuels. We know what to do to stay below the limits of the Paris Agreement. We have the solutions to get us there. The key now is to take action, says Professor Liz Bentley.
The consequences of rising temperatures are felt by people all over the world. In 2023, we witnessed a devastating drought in the Amazon, record heat and fires in the southern part of Europe, and in recent days also massive mudslides and landslides in California – including Los Angeles.
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