New warnings on climate as October obliterates records

A leading European climate expert has said the need for urgent action to tackle climate change and global warming has never been more pressing as she said the year so far had seen temperature records “obliterated”.

The comments came as European climate monitoring organisation,  the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), released its monthly climate bulletin reporting on the changes observed in global surface air and sea temperatures, sea ice cover and hydrological variables. The reports are based on computer-generated analyses and the  ERA5 dataset, which use billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

The results for October have been stark and have prompted new warnings on the rapidly changing climate.

C3S said it found October 2023 was the warmest October on record globally, with an average surface air temperature of 15.30°C, 0.85°C above the 1991-2020 average for October and 0.40°C above the previous warmest October, in 2019.

The global temperature anomaly for October 2023 was the second highest across all months in the ERA5 dataset, behind September 2023.

“The month as a whole was 1.7°C warmer than an estimate of the October average for 1850-1900, the designated pre-industrial reference period,” it stated. “For the calendar year to date, January to October, the global mean temperature for 2023 is the highest on record, 1.43°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average, and 0.10°C higher than the ten-month average for 2016, currently the warmest calendar year on record.”

The organisation said for Europe, last month was the fourth warmest October on record, 1.30°C higher than the 1991-2020 average.  Globally the average sea surface temperature for October over 60°S–60°N was 20.79°C, the highest on record for any October.

C3S added El Niño conditions continued to develop in the equatorial Pacific, although anomalies remain lower than those reached at this time of year during the development of the historically strong 1997 and 2015 events.

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of C3S said the results put more pressure on governments to agree bold action at the upcoming COP28 summit in the UAE.

“October 2023 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 1.43ºC above the preindustrial average. The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into COP28 has never been higher”.

The report found In October 2023; precipitation was above average across most of Europe. The rising rainfall was driven by Storm Babet which hit northern Europe, and storm Aline that impacted Portugal and Spain, the level of rainfall from both caused widescale flooding.

Beyond Europe, it was wetter than average in several regions including: the southwest of North America, parts of the Arabian Peninsula, regions of Central Asia and Siberia, southeast China, Brazil, New Zealand and regions of southern Africa. Much of the threats were associated with the transit of cyclones which triggered heavy rainfall and substantial damage.

To highlight the dramatic division in the thew world’s weather patterns, C3S found it was drier than average in the southern USA and parts of Mexico both experiencing drought, in regions of central and easternmost Asia, and in most of the extratropical southern hemisphere, including Australia.