TechWe've crossed the threshold: the highest temperature increase in measurement history

We've crossed the threshold: the highest temperature increase in measurement history

The highest temperature increase in the history of measurements
The highest temperature increase in the history of measurements
Images source: © Adobe Stock, C3S

4:57 PM EST, November 21, 2023

Friday, November 17, 2023, marked the first day when the global temperature rose by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the average levels recorded from 1850 to 1900. Samantha Burgess, the deputy head of C3S – the EU climate change service, relayed this historical data.

The average temperature that day was precisely 2.06 degrees Celsius (3.7 degrees Fahrenheit) higher. Preliminary data indicates that the subsequent day, November 18, 2023, maintained temperatures above the two-degree level.

These occurrences might seem isolated, but 2023 is the hottest year in measurement history. The anticipated impacts include droughts, massive fires, and extreme storms, some of which can already be observed. Notably, the 2023 summer season, specifically from June to August, broke temperature records, with July's average temperature being 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than those recorded from 1850 to 1900.

Just a two degree increase, or is it more significant?

Though a two-degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase may seem negligible, climate experts have voiced for years that this marks a critical tipping point. Once exceeded, the effects become practically irreversible, and the drastic climate changes are unstoppable.

This concern is reflected in the 2015 Paris Agreement, where it was decided to aim to keep the average global temperature increase below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels. An increase of one and a half degrees (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) was deemed manageable and "relatively safe."

Crossing this threshold for a day or two does not mean the Paris Agreement's goals have failed. These aims relate to annual average temperatures and even those over more extended periods, such as decades. Currently, we are grappling with an increase of 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) over such an extended period.

However, such statistics underline that we as a global society are inching closer to breaching this critical boundary. Scientists and climate specialists underscore the urgency in amplifying efforts to curb temperature increases: reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to green energy sources, promoting environmental conservation, limiting electricity and fuel consumption, and undertaking other similar climate-preserving measures.

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