It is now a “near certainty” that 2023 will be Earth’s hottest year on record, scientists have said.
The stark warning comes after a record-breaking October, in which global temperatures were 0.4C higher than the previous record for the month – set in 2019.
“This is a huge margin,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
She described the temperature anomaly as “very extreme”.
“October has seen exceptional temperature anomalies, following on from four months of global temperature records being obliterated,” she said.
“We can say with near certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record, and is currently 1.43C above the pre-industrial average.”
It comes as world leaders and climate experts prepare to meet in Dubai later this month for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP28.
“The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into COP28 has never been higher,” Ms Burgess added.
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Globally, the average surface air temperature in October was 1.7C warmer than the same month between 1850 and 1900, defined as the pre-industrial period, according to the data from Copernicus.
Scientists have warned that global warming of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels risks unleashing severe climate change effects on people, wildlife and ecosystems.
Signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement have committed to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
However, despite the pledge, global CO2 emissions hit a record high in 2022.
According to experts, continued greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, combined with the emergence this year of the El Nino weather pattern – which warms the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean – are the two key factors in this year’s higher temperatures.
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The current annual record was set in 2016 – another El Nino year.
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “Most El Nino years are now record-breakers because the extra global warmth of El Nino adds to the steady ramp of human-caused warming.”
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