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2023 marks hottest year on record, approaching critical warming limit

2023 marks hottest year on record, approaching critical warming limit 2023 marks hottest year on record (Getty Images)

Last year, the Earth broke annual heat records, getting close to the agreed-upon global warming limit. The European climate agency Copernicus says that in 2023, the Earth was 1.48 degrees Celsius (2.66 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than before the industrial era, according to AP News.

This is just below the 1.5-degree limit set in the Paris climate agreement in 2015 to prevent severe effects of warming.

January 2024 is expected to be warm enough to surpass the 1.5-degree limit for the first time in a 12-month period. Experts have warned that we need to keep the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees to avoid serious problems.

Record heat last year caused issues in Europe, North America, China, and other places. The warming climate also contributed to extreme events like droughts, heavy rains, and wildfires. The Copernicus agency emphasizes that we must reduce the use of fossil fuels causing this climate change to protect future generations.

The main cause behind global warming

The main reason for the record-breaking heat is the increasing amount of greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil, and gas. Other factors like El Nino, natural climate cycles, solar activity, and a volcano eruption in 2022 also played a role.

The Copernicus agency predicts that 2024 will likely be even hotter than 2023 due to El Nino and high ocean temperatures. While Copernicus records only go back to 1940, other agencies are expected to confirm similar record-breaking temperatures for 2023.

“2023 was probably the hottest year on Earth in about 125,000 years,” said Woodwell Climate Research Center climate scientist Jennifer Francis.

Experts say that although we have only been keeping records for a short time, evidence from tree rings and ice cores suggests that this is the hottest the Earth has been in over 100,000 years. That's why, it is crucial to continue efforts to limit warming effects and protect the planet.