The past year, from November 2022 to October 2023, has been the hottest ever recorded on Earth, according to Associated Press News, who quotes a recent report by Climate Central, a nonprofit science research group.
This record-breaking heat has been attributed to the burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal, and natural gas, which release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
The peer-reviewed report highlights that 90% of humanity, or approximately 7.3 billion people, experienced at least 10 days of high temperatures significantly intensified by climate change.
Andrew Pershing, a climate scientist at Climate Central, noted that while people are aware of unusual weather patterns, they often don't connect these changes to ongoing fossil fuel consumption.
The report further underscores the global impacts of the climate crisis. For instance, one in four people worldwide, equating to around 1.9 billion individuals, suffered through dangerous heatwaves.
The global average temperature was 1.3 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, alarmingly close to the 1.5 C limit set in the Paris Agreement.
Jason Smerdon, a climate scientist at Columbia University, emphasized the predictability of these warming trends, which have been projected for decades. The report detailed examples of various regional effects of extreme heat:
In Africa, extreme heat fueled heavy rainfall, contributing to Storm Daniel becoming the continent's deadliest storm.
In India, 86% of the population faced over 30 days of elevated temperatures.
Brazil’s Amazon region experienced historic low river levels due to drought.
The U.S. saw at least 383 deaths from extreme weather events, including the deadliest fire of the century in Maui.
In Canada, one in every 200 people was evacuated due to wildfires.
Jamaica experienced temperatures made four times more likely by climate change.
Experts like Kristie Ebi from the University of Washington urge the need for adaptation, mitigation, and preparedness in the face of these uneven impacts. Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at Brown University, highlighted the critical role of oceans in absorbing excess heat but warned that they are nearing their absorption limits.
This report underscores the urgent need for global action to address the escalating climate crisis and its widespread impacts.