World

2023 Hottest Year in Over 100,000 Years, Scientists Warn

The year 2023 has been declared the hottest year in recorded history, surpassing the previous record set by 2016, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. The global mean temperature for the year is the highest ever recorded, at 1.43 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This increase in temperature is attributed to the warming El Niño effect, which is expected to continue well into the next year.

The El Niño climate pattern, characterized by warm waters coming to the surface and releasing extra heat into the atmosphere, is expected to last at least until April 2024. This phenomenon, coupled with increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities, is contributing to a further spike in temperatures.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has warned that extreme weather events such as heatwaves, drought, wildfires, heavy rain, and floods will worsen in some regions due to these rising temperatures. In response to these challenges, the WMO is committed to the Early Warnings For All initiative, aimed at saving lives and minimizing economic losses.

Scientists at the European Union (EU) have combined their data with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and discovered that 2023 is likely to be the warmest year in the last 125,000 years. This conclusion is based on readings from sources such as ice cores, tree rings, and coral deposits.

Climate change is fuelling increasingly destructive extremes. In 2023, this includes floods that killed thousands of people in Libya, severe heatwaves in South America, and Canada’s worst wildfire season on record. The average surface air temperature in October of 15.3°C (59.5°F), was 1.7°C warmer than the average for October in the pre-industrial period.

Pakistan, despite its contribution of only 0.9 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. According to a report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Pakistan has been categorized as ‘highly’ susceptible to climate change, ranking 12th out of 28 countries in terms of exposure, 8th in terms of sensitivity, and 25th in terms of adaptive capacity.

Pakistan has already experienced the devastating effects of climate change in recent years. In 2022, more than 1,800 people died and 33 million were affected by catastrophic floods, which submerged almost one-third of the country. The deluge was blamed on record rainfall and melting of glaciers, both caused by climate change. In 2021, Karachi witnessed its worst heatwave in history, with temperatures soaring to 49 degrees Celsius and killing over 1,200 people. The heatwave was exacerbated by power outages, water shortages, and urban heat island effect.

The year 2023 is a stark reminder of the urgent need for global action on climate change. As the effects of El Niño and human-induced climate change continue to intensify, it is crucial for countries around the world, including Pakistan, to take proactive measures in mitigating the impacts of climate change and safeguarding the future of our planet.

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