NOAA: 2023 The Hottest Year On Record

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it’s official that 2023 was the planet’s warmest year on record. This was confirmed by an analysis conducted by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

The record-breaking temperatures in Minnesota and across the US have been the subject of numerous headlines throughout the year.

After seeing the 2023 climate analysis, I have to pause and say that the findings are astounding. Not only was 2023 the warmest year in NOAA’s 174-year climate record — it was the warmest by far. A warming planet means we need to be prepared for the impacts of climate change that are happening here and now, like extreme weather events that become both more frequent and severe.

We will continue to see records broken and extreme events grow until emissions go to zero. Government policy can address both emissions, but also actions to reduce climate impacts by building resilience.

– Dr. Sarah Kapnick, NOAA Chief Scientist

Below is screenshot from NOAA’s website that shows other scientific organizations corroborating with NOAA’s scientists.

An annotated map of the world plotted with the year’s most significant climate events (source: NOAA)

Other noteworthy climatic changes and events, adopted from NOAA’s website in verbatim:

  • Global ocean heat content set a new record high: “The 2023 upper ocean heat content, which addresses the amount of heat stored in the upper 2,000 meters of the ocean, was the highest on record. Ocean heat content is a key climate indicator because the ocean stores 90% of the excess heat in the Earth system. The indicator has been tracked globally since 1958, and there has been a steady upward trend since approximately 1970. The five highest values have all occurred in the last five years.
  • Polar sea ice was scant: “The 2023 annual Antarctic sea ice extent (coverage) averaged 3.79 million square miles in 2023, the lowest on record. The maximum extent in September was 6.55 million square miles, which was the lowest by a record margin. The minimum extent in February was 690,000 square miles, which set a record low for the second consecutive year. Arctic sea ice coverage averaged 4.05 million square miles in 2023, ranking among the 10 lowest years on record. The maximum extent in March was 5.64 million square miles, which ranked fifth lowest, while the minimum extent in September was 1.63 million square miles, which ranked sixth lowest.
  • December 2023 set records: “Global surface temperature in December 2023 was 2.57 degrees F (1.43 degrees C) above the 20th-century average — the warmest December on record. For the ninth consecutive month, the global ocean surface temperature was also record warm. Looking regionally, North America and South America both had their warmest December on record.

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