By Gift Briton

With September 2023 being the hottest one ever recorded on earth, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that 2023 is firmly set to be the warmest year on record.

Citing data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), WMO notes that the average surface temperature in September was roughly 1.75°C warmer compared to the pre-industrial period.

The month’s average surface temperature was 16.38°C and 0.93°C warmer than the 1991-2020 baseline which is used as a practical tool for climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture.

According to WMO, numerous high-temperature records have been broken in recent months with the extended streak of extraordinary land and sea-surface temperatures expected to continue globally thereby signaling the speed with which greenhouse gases are changing the climate.

Prof. Petteri Taalas, the agency’s Secretary-General, notes that WMO will work with partners in the scientific community to try to understand what additional factors are contributing to this exceptional warming.

“Since June, the world has experienced unprecedented heat on land and sea. The temperature anomalies are enormous – far bigger than anything we have ever seen in the past. Antarctic winter sea ice extent was the lowest on record for the time of year,” Prof. Taalas says.

“What is especially worrying is that the warming El Niño event is still developing, and so we can expect these record-breaking temperatures to continue for months, with cascading impacts on our environment and society.”

Moreover, Samantha Burgess, the C3S Deputy Director, stressed that September 2023 is one for the record books noting that: “This extreme month has pushed 2023 into the dubious honour of first place – on track to be the warmest year and around 1.4°C above pre-industrial average temperatures.”

She adds: With the COP28 UN climate change conference taking place in Dubai next month, “the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical.”