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Even climate scientists were not prepared for what will happen in 2023

Even climate scientists were not prepared for what will happen in 2023

Climate scientists have repeatedly predicted that last year will break heat records. One analysis predicted there was a 99% chance that 2023 would be the warmest year on record. However, the reality turned out to be much worse.

Is it related to global warming?

The year 2023 brought historic droughts, floods, storms and wildfires around the world that most countries were completely unprepared for. Gavin Schmidt, NASA's chief climate scientist, said he was “honestly shocked” by what happened, as he put it. 2023 was not just a record-breaking year, it was “a record-breaking year among previous records.”The vast majority of climate scientists agree that the long-term trend is linked to global warming, but, as Schmidt puts it, “what happened in 2023 is something else. This excess was much larger than they had expected or could explain so far.”

A firefighter stands next to a flock of sheep amid the smoke of a devastating bushfire near Tahmore, New South WalesSource: MTI/EPA/AAP/Dean Lewins

Experts believe that the mysterious features could be linked to aerosols, El Niño, Antarctic or North Atlantic events, and energy imbalances on Earth, among other things.

Now they are desperately trying to figure out what they are missing in this line. For the first time, every 365 days in 2023 will exceed 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. According to scientists, this threatens to destroy the goals of the Paris climate agreement. However, one year ago, ten different climate forecasting centers predicted a very low probability that the annual temperature in 2023 would be as high as it turned out to be.

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Have you exceeded the unprecedented level?

El Niño has continued to strengthen in the past year, but it appears to be occurring at a weaker rate than recently. According to experts, this may indicate that The record temperatures seen in 2023 are not just caused by the combined effect of climate change and El Niño; other factors are likely to play a role as well.Last year, for example, Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest level in 45 years, a change that scientists say is far from “unprecedented.”

Drought is an increasingly frequent phenomenon on the European continent (illustration)Source: Sint Istvan University

This means five standard deviations above the mean – Physical oceanographer Edward Doddridge explained on ABC News Australia radio, which Science Alert Cites online scientific portal. This means that if nothing had changed, we would see such a winter about once every 7.5 million years.

He added that if enough of Antarctica's sea ice melts, it could start a positive feedback loop, making it more vulnerable to winds and waves. Climatologists are also looking at changes in volcanic eruptions, changes in aerosol emissions, and the solar cycle, which could also be possible explanations for the 2023 climate anomaly.

According to Robert Rudd, a geoscientist at the University of Berkeley, it will soon become clear whether 2023 is an anomaly or the beginning of accelerated climate change.

He believes that “with greenhouse gas emissions remaining at record levels, the climate is likely to regularly exceed 1.5°C in the near future.”

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