Last 12 months on Earth were the hottest ever recorded, analysis finds

Nov 9, 2023, 4:03 AM

FILE - A man cools off in a shower at Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 24, 2023. The la...

FILE - A man cools off in a shower at Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 24, 2023. The last 12 months were the hottest Earth has ever recorded, according to a new report Thursday, Nov. 9, by Climate Central, a nonprofit science research group. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado, File)

(AP Photo/Bruna Prado, File)

The last 12 months were the hottest Earth has ever recorded, according to a new report by Climate Central, a nonprofit science research group.

The peer-reviewed report says burning gasoline, coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels that release planet-warming gases like carbon dioxide, and other human activities, caused the unnatural warming from November 2022 to October 2023.

Over the course of the year, 7.3 billion people, or 90% of humanity, endured at least 10 days of high temperatures that were made at least three times more likely because of climate change.

“People know that things are weird, but they don’t they don’t necessarily know why it’s weird. They don’t connect back to the fact that we’re still burning coal, oil and natural gas,” said Andrew Pershing, a climate scientist at Climate Central.

“I think the thing that really came screaming out of the data this year was nobody is safe. Everybody was experiencing unusual climate-driven heat at some point during the year,” said Pershing.

The average global temperature was 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the pre-industrial climate, which scientists say is close to the limit countries agreed not to go over in the Paris Agreement — a 1.5 C (2.7 F) rise. The impacts were apparent as one in four humans, or 1.9 billion people, suffered from dangerous heat waves.

At this point, said Jason Smerdon, a climate scientist at Columbia University, no one should be caught off guard. “It’s like being on an escalator and being surprised that you’re going up,” he said. ”We know that things are getting warmer, this has been predicted for decades.”

Here’s how a few regions were affected by the extreme heat:

    1. Extreme heat fueled destructive rainfall because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which lets storms release more precipitation. Storm Daniel became Africa’s deadliest storm with an estimated death toll that ranges between 4,000 and 11,000, according to officials and aid agencies. Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey also saw damages and fatalities from Storm Daniel.

    2. In India, 1.2 billion people, or 86% of the population, experienced at least 30 days of elevated temperatures, made at least three times more likely by climate change.

    3. Drought in Brazil’s Amazon region caused rivers to dry to historic lows, cutting people off from food and fresh water.

    4. At least 383 people died in U.S. extreme weather events, with 93 deaths related to the Maui wildfire event, the deadliest U.S. fire of the century.

    5. One of every 200 people in Canada evacuated their home due to wildfires, which burn longer and more intensely after long periods of heat dry out the land. Canadian fires sent smoke billowing across much of North America.

    6. On average, Jamaica experienced high temperatures made four times more likely by climate change during the last 12 months, making it the country where climate change was most powerfully at work.

“We need to adapt, mitigate and be better prepared for the residual damages because impacts are highly uneven from place to place,” said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington, citing changes in precipitation, sea level rise, droughts, and wildfires.

The heat of the last year, intense as it was, is tempered because the oceans have been absorbing the majority of the excess heat related to climate change, but they are reaching their limit, said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at Brown University. “Oceans are really the thermostat of our planet … they are tied to our economy, food sources, and coastal infrastructure.”


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

United States News

FILE - A marquee promoting a fundraiser with President Joe Biden is on display outside the Lunt-Fon...

Associated Press

Big money, fancy homes, old jokes — inside Joe Biden’s fundraisers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If you’re a Democrat with money to burn and friends in high places, you can spend thousands on tickets to a fundraiser with President Joe Biden. If not, keep reading to see what you’re missing. With an election year around the corner, Biden is accelerating his fundraising to prepare for an […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidates from left, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov....

Associated Press

DeSantis, Haley and Ramaswamy will appear in northwest Iowa days after a combative GOP debate

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidates will cross paths again in Iowa just days after a fractious debate and as the countdown to the caucuses nears the one-month mark. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy will make their case — this time without the others […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks to Texas state tr...

Associated Press

Appeals court upholds gag order on Trump in Washington case but narrows restrictions on his speech

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday largely upheld a gag order on former President Donald Trump in his 2020 election interference case but narrowed the restrictions on his speech.

6 hours ago

FILE - Migrant families wade through shallow waters toward Roma, Texas, March 24, 2021. A federal j...

Associated Press

Federal judge prohibits separating migrant families at US border for 8 years

A federal judge on Friday prohibited the separation of families at the border for purposes of deterring immigration for eight years.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Indiana secretary of state appeals ruling for US Senate candidate seeking GOP nod

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana secretary of state is appealing a ruling that a law stipulating voting requirements for a candidate’s party affiliation is unconstitutional in a decision that lifted the hopes of a U.S. Senate hopeful who wants to run as a Republican. The Indiana attorney general’s office filed the notice of appeal Friday […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Nashville Police investigation into leak of Covenant School shooter’s writings is inconclusive

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Police have “exhausted all available investigative avenues” in the hunt for the person who leaked pages from a school shooter’s journals to a conservative commentator, the department announced in an email sent to media late on Friday. The writings are part of an ongoing legal battle over whether they should […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.

Last 12 months on Earth were the hottest ever recorded, analysis finds