The raw data is analyzed using methods that take into account the variable distance between temperature stations around the world and the effects of urban heat islands that may distort the calculations
The summer of 2023 was the hottest on Earth since global temperature records began in 1880. So say scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Institute for Earth Sciences (GISS) In New York.
June, July and August combined were 0.23 degrees Celsius warmer than any other summer on NASA records, and 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the summer average between 1951 and 1980. Only August was 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit and 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than average. The months June to August are considered meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere.This new record comes at a time when extreme heat waves have raged around the world causing, among other things, deadly fires in Canada and Hawaii, and severe heat waves in South America, Japan, Europe and the USA, while apparently contributing to heavy rains in Italy, Greece and Central Europe.
This graph shows the extreme temperature anomalies (June, July and August) for each year since 1880.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said: "The record summer temperatures of 2023 are not just a series of numbers - they have real and serious consequences in the real world. From high temperatures in Arizona and across the country, to wildfires in Canada, and extreme flooding in Europe and Asia, extreme weather threatens lives and livelihoods around the world. The effects of climate change are a threat to the planet and future generations, threats that NASA and the Biden-Harris administration are dealing with directly."
NASA collects its temperature records, known as GISTEMP, from surface air temperature data collected by tens of thousands of meteorological stations, as well as sea surface temperature data from instruments on ships. This raw data is analyzed using methods that take into account the variable distance between temperature stations around the world and the effects of urban heat islands that may distort the calculations.
algorithm The analysis calculates temperature anomalies and not absolute temperature. A temperature anomaly shows how much the temperature has deviated from the baseline average from 1951 to 1980.
"The unusually high sea surface temperatures, due in part to the return of El Niño, were largely responsible for this summer's record heat," said Josh Willis, a climate scientist and oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
El Niño is a natural climate phenomenon characterized by warmer than normal sea surface temperatures (and higher sea level) in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean in the tropical region.Key2023, which set a record, continues a long-term trend of warming. Scientific observations and analyzes carried out over decades by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other international institutions have shown that this warming was mainly caused by the emission of greenhouse gases from human sources. At the same time, natural El Niño events in the Pacific pump additional heat into the global atmosphere and often correlate with the warmest years on record.
"With a backdrop of warming and marine heatwaves that have been creeping up on us for decades, this El Niño has shot us over the threshold to set different kinds of records," Willis said. "The heat waves we are experiencing now are longer, hotter, and cause more suffering. The atmosphere can now also contain more water, and when it's hot and humid, it's even harder for the human body to regulate its temperature."
Willis and other scientists expect to see the greatest effects of El Niño in February, March and April 2024. El Niño is associated with weakening of the easterly trade winds and the movement of warm water from the western Pacific toward the west coast of America. The phenomenon can have far-reaching effects, often bringing cooler and wetter conditions to the southwestern United States and drought to countries in the western Pacific, such as Indonesia and Australia.Unfortunately, climate change is happening. Things we said would happen do happen," said Gavin Schmidt, climate scientist and manager GISS. "And it will get worse if we continue to emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere."
The full NASA temperature data set and the full methodology used to calculate the temperature and its uncertainties are available online.
GISS is a NASA laboratory managed by the Earth Sciences Division of the agency's Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with the Earth Institute of Columbia University and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in New York.
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