We’re only halfway through 2023 and so many climate records are being broken, some scientists are sounding the alarm, fearing it could be a sign of a planet warming much more rapidly than expected.
In a widely shared tweet, Brian McNoldy, senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science, called rising ocean and air temperatures “totally bonkers.”
He added, “people who look at this stuff routinely can’t believe their eyes. Something very weird is happening.”
Other scientists have said while the records are alarming, they are not unexpected due to both the continued rise of planet-heating pollution and the arrival of the natural climate phenomenon El Niño, which has a global heating effect.
Whether the broken records are a sign of climate change progressing beyond what climate the models predict, or are the outcome of the climate crisis unfolding as expected, they remain a very concerning signal of what’s to come, scientists said.
“These changes are deeply disturbing because of what they mean for people this coming summer, and every summer after, until we cut our carbon emissions at a much faster pace than we’re currently doing,” Jennifer Marlon, research scientist at Yale School of the Environment, told CNN.
“We’ve been saying this for a long time – as polar scientists and as climate scientists – we’ve been saying you can count on the next few decades to consistently get warmer,” Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, told CNN. “We’re not going to turn back until we actually do something about this.”
Here are four charts showing just how record-breaking this year has already been, with the hottest months still to come.
Global temperatures spike
This year is shaping up to be one of the hottest yet, with global data showing temperatures spiking to unusually high levels.
The first eleven days of June saw the highest temperatures on record for this time of year by a substantial margin, according to an analysis released Thursday by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It is also the first time global air temperatures during June exceeded preindustrial levels by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the scientists found.
Heat records are being broken across the world.
In Canada, where an unusually stifling heat wave is blanketing much of the country, temperatures have broken multiple records. The heat has helped set the stage for “unprecedented,” early wildfires already burning an area about 15 times bigger than average for this time of the year and sending hazardous smoke into the United States.
Several all-time heat records were also broken earlier this month in Siberia, as temperatures shot up above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Parts of Central America, as well as Texas and Louisiana are also facing blistering temperatures. And Puerto Rico experienced extreme heat this June, with temperatures feeling like more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.
“The current situation is bizarre,” Phil Reid with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, told CNN. “The strangest El Niño ever. How are you supposed to define or declare an El Niño when everywhere is hot?”