2023 set for hottest year on record, UN weather agency declares

Anna McGuinness
Updated December 1 2023 - 10:31am, first published 9:56am
Temperature difference from the 1991-2020 average. Picture supplied by World Meteorological Organisation
Temperature difference from the 1991-2020 average. Picture supplied by World Meteorological Organisation

2023 is set to be the hottest year on record.

It's the ninth year in a row to break the climate record and had deadly impacts, such as the stifling heatwaves across Europe, North America and China.

The WMO confirms that 2023 is set to be the warmest year on record.

Data up to the end of October shows 2023 was about 1.40 degrees Celsuis above the pre-industrial 1850-1900 baseline, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

And unlike previous years the final two months are unlikely to affect 2023's ranking as the warmest on record.

"This year we have seen communities around the world pounded by fires, floods and searing temperatures," UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres said.

Record global heat should send shivers down the spines of world leaders.

Climate records tumbled during the northern hemisphere's summer with July 2023 the hottest month on record and July 3, 4 and 5 the hottest days globally.

'Unusually warm summer' ahead for Australia

Aussies are now headed into an unusually warm summer according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

And the season brings with it an increased risk of extreme heat, heatwaves, bushfire weather and marine heatwaves.

Across Australia the Bureau forecasts a high chance of warmer than usual days and nights, with below average rainfall for most of the tropics and Western Australia.

Outside of the tropics summer rainfall is expected to be closer to average, after a drier than usual spring and winter.

Even with widespread, severe storms in late November, Australia's overall spring rainfall is tracking towards 23 per cent below average.

Large parts of NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory are facing an increased risk of fire this summer.

The Australian and New Zealand National Council for fire and emergency services, AFAC, released its seasonal bushfire outlook on November 30.

AFAC's summer bushfire outlook shows an increased risk of fire for large parts of Queensland, NSW and the NT, as well as locations in Tasmania, Victoria, SA and WA. Picture by AFAC
AFAC's summer bushfire outlook shows an increased risk of fire for large parts of Queensland, NSW and the NT, as well as locations in Tasmania, Victoria, SA and WA. Picture by AFAC

The drying of abundant vegetation growth during La Nina years will increase the flammability of fuel loads, according to the AFAC.

And it follows record-breaking dry conditions and warmer than average temperatures during early spring.

Emergency services have already been busy with fires such as in Perth during a late November heatwave, and earlier in spring as bushfires raged across NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

"Wherever you live, work or visit this summer, know where to find bushfire information, prepare your property and talk to your family and friends about what you will do in an emergency," AFAC chief executive Rob Webb said.

Anna McGuinness

Anna McGuinness

Breaking News National Journalist

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