2023 was the hottest in 125 000 years, researchers have revealed

Deputy Director of C3S Samantha Burgess, described the temperature difference as “very extreme.”

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe – The latest data from European Union scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) shows that 2023 was the hottest in 125,000 years.

Globally we had the hottest August on record, with temperatures 0.7 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average. It was also the hottest season from June to August on record.

The hottest year on record is 2016, which was an El Nino year, on the one hand, 2023 is predicted to be another El Nino and is on course to overtake that.

The extreme heat is a result of continued greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, combined with the emergence of the naturally occurring El Nino climate pattern, which warms the surface waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The El Nino developed rapidly during July-August and reached moderate strength by September 2023.

It is likely to peak as a strong event from November 2023 to January 2024 and there is a 90% likelihood it will persist throughout the upcoming northern hemisphere during winter and summer in the southern hemisphere.

El Nino-related climate variability is one of the strongest drivers impacting agricultural production in Southern Africa

It is usually characterized by above-average temperatures and below-normal rainfall during the November–April season.

About 70% of the Southern African region’s population depends on rainfed agricultural production for food, income, and employment.

Seasonal forecasts also predict above-average rainfall in Tanzania and northern Mozambique, Madagascar, Zambia, and Malawi, during September–December, which may trigger floods.
Rainfall forecasts may change later with more countries experiencing below-normal rainfall towards the end of the year.

Forecasts will also be impacted by the positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which historically influences rainfall patterns in the region.

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