On Friday and Saturday, the 17th and 18th of November 2023 global surface temperature likely breached for the first time the 2°C temperature target, when compared with preindustrial levels.
Andrew Freedman from Axios points out ..
Why it matters: A daily global average surface temperature climb to greater than 2°C above preindustrial levels indicates just how quickly the planet is warming, including some of the extremes that are now possible.
Yes, but: Breaching the 2-degree threshold for two days does not mean that the Paris Agreement’s target of holding global warming to “well below” such a mark has been exceeded.
- The agreement refers to the long-term average over two or more decades rather than one day, month or even year.
Between the lines: The dataset that shows the record, known as ERA5, comes from a process known as reanalysis, in which a computer model uses surface temperature readings from land and ocean sources as well as algorithms to arrive in near time at an accurate global temperature reading for each day.
The new record is considered provisional since it is subject to adjustment for accuracy. Subsequent information from other reanalysis sources and surface-based data sets and other reanalysis methods may confirm it or diverge slightly.
Some context ..
Freedman continues ..
The big picture: News of the record is in keeping with the record-shattering year so far.
- Last summer, the global average surface temperature first rose into record territory and eclipsed the 1.5-degree Paris target. That caught some scientists off guard, and the failure of the planet to cool back down below all-time record territory has stood out.
- November, too, is now likely to be the hottest such month on record.
The intrigue: The 1.5 and 2-degree targets were set by political leaders, but scientific research bolsters the case that if warming were to exceed even the more stringent target, the likelihood of devastating and potentially irreversible climate calamities would increase dramatically.
- A report released last week shows the ways that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the U.S., for example.
- While human-caused climate change is viewed as the larger driver of the long-term increase in temperatures and record warmth this year, a strong El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean is helping to pump added heat into the climate system.
- This is further increasing temperatures, easily vaulting them into record territory.
What’s next: This record, like some others so far this year, is likely to be cited in the fraught negotiations at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, which begins Nov. 30.
Go deeper… Climate change report: Heat-related deaths on track to rise 370% by mid-century
Is it too late to keep global warming below 1.5 °C?The challenge in 7 charts https://www.nature.com/immersive/d41586-023-03601-6/index.html