According to scientists, the oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat generated by human activity since the beginning of the industrial age.
This extra heat continues to accumulate as greenhouse gases – primarily from burning oil, gas and coal – build up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Except in the polar regions, global average sea surface temperatures every day this summer from July 31 to August 31 exceeded the previous record set in March 2016.
Warmer oceans are also less able to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), leading to a vicious cycle of global warming as well as disrupting fragile ecosystems.
C3S said Antarctic sea ice remained at a record low for the time of year, with monthly values 12 percent below average, “the largest negative anomaly for August since satellite observations began in the 1970s”. .
Higher temperatures are likely on the horizon: The El Niño weather phenomenon – which warms the waters of the southern Pacific and beyond – has just begun.
Scientists expect the worst effects of the current El Nino to be felt in late 2023 and into next year.
‘wake up call’
Scientists reacted strongly to the C3S report.
“2023 is the year climate records are not only broken but collapsed,” said Mark Maslin, professor of climate science at University College London.
“Extreme weather events are now common and getting worse every year – this is a warning to international leaders.”
“Global warming continues because we haven’t stopped burning fossil fuels – it’s that simple,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London.