There is a nearly 50 percent probability that 2023 will be the warmest year ever recorded and next year could be even hotter, US government climate experts said Monday.

“2023 to date has been the third warmest on record,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chief scientist Sarah Kapnick told reporters.

“It is virtually certain — over 99 percent chance — that 2023 will rank among the five warmest years on record with a nearly 50 percent probability that 2023 will rank warmest on record,” Kapnick said.

Gavin Schmidt, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said next year could be even hotter than this year because of the Pacific warming phenomenon known as El Nino.

“The biggest impact of El Nino will actually occur in 2024,” Schmidt said. “So we’re anticipating that not only is 2023 going to be exceptionally warm and possibly a record warm year, but we anticipate that 2024 will be warmer still.”

The European Union’s climate observatory Copernicus reported last week that July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, and NOAA figures released on Monday were in line with the EU data.

“The average global surface temperature in July was 2.02 degrees Fahrenheit (1.12 degrees Celsius) above average, ranking it as the warmest July in NOAA’s 174-year record,” NOAA said.

NOAA also said that global ocean surface temperatures hit a record high in July for a fourth consecutive month, as El Nino conditions that emerged in June continued.

Kate Calvin, Nasa’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor, said “climate change is having impacts on people and ecosystems all around the world.

“Along with changes in temperature, we’re experiencing other changes in climate like sea level rise, declines in Arctic sea ice, wildfires, heavy precipitation events and more,” Calvin said.

Bill Nelson, the administrator of the US space agency, said it is “self-evident that the Earth is heating up.

“Mother Nature is sending us a message,” Nelson said. “And that message is we better act now, before it’s too late to save our climate, in other words, to save our planet.”

Sweltering temperatures have affected considerable swathes of the planet, with heat records registered from Death Valley in the US state of California to a northwest China township as Canada and southern Europe battle wildfires.

The North Atlantic reached its hottest-ever level in the last week of July, several weeks earlier than its usual annual peak, according to preliminary data released by NOAA.

“Based on our analysis, the record-high average sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean is 24.9 degrees C,” or 76.8 Fahrenheit, observed on July 28, Xungang Yin, a scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, told AFP.

The record is particularly startling as it comes early in the year — usually, the North Atlantic reaches its peak temperature in early September.

The previous record high was recorded in September 2022, at 24.89 degrees Celsius, Yin said.


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