The Hottest Summer 2023: NASA Confirms Record-Breaking Heat Driven by Global Warming and El Niño
The hottest summer 2023 ignites urgent climate warnings. (Photo: Down to Earth)
The Hottest Summer 2023 Shatters Records, Confirming Human-Induced Global Warming
According to Space article, the hottest summer 2023 is now Earth’s hottest on record since 1880, as confirmed by NASA on September 14. This unprecedented heatwave, part of the hottest summer of 2023, is primarily attributed to human-induced global warming, amplified by the recurring climate phenomenon of El Niño. NASA’s analysis reveals that August alone was 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) hotter than an average summer, subjecting a record 57 million people in the southern and southwestern United States to an intense heatwave.
When looking at the combined temperatures for June, July, and August, they were 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (0.23 degrees Celsius) warmer than all previous summers. July 2023 was declared the hottest on record, with the previous five hottest Julys occurring in the last five years. The consequences have been devastating, from record flooding in Vermont to extreme heatwaves in Phoenix and Miami, along with widespread wildfires across the nation.
The hottest summer 2023 in July played a direct role in the deadliest wildfire season ever recorded in both Canada and Hawaii, as well as severe rainfall and flash floods throughout the Mediterranean, including Greece and Italy. While El Niño has contributed, it’s crucial to emphasize that natural weather patterns like El Niño have only a minor impact on climate change compared to human activities driving global warming.
The Hottest Summer 2023: Climate Scientists Warn of Alarming Findings
According to NASA, in the context of the hottest summer 2023, Josh Willis, a NASA climate scientist, highlighted the significant role of exceptionally high sea surface temperatures, partially attributed to El Niño’s return, in the summer’s warmth. However, Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist and GISS director, stressed that human-induced climate change surpasses El Niño’s impact. El Niño’s temporary temperature increase is about 0.1 degrees Celsius, while ongoing global warming exceeds it.
Willis and his NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) team’s recent analysis coincides with a warning from scientists, asserting that human activity has pushed the planet beyond a safe environmental threshold. Six of nine benchmarks assessing deviations from pre-industrial conditions have been surpassed. The World Meteorological Organization’s report shows nations falling short of Paris Agreement goals to limit global temperature rise.
The timing of extreme events is also alarming. For example, in early September, New York City experienced an unprecedented three-day heatwave with temperatures soaring 20 degrees above average. Scientists agree climate change is undeniably underway, with worsening consequences unless carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases are reduced.