In past 12 months, Earth recorded hottest period in history
New Delhi | The Earth experienced its hottest year-long period in recorded history with global temperatures setting a new 12-month record, exceeding 1.3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels from November 2022 through October 2023, according to a new analysis of international data released on Thursday.
This is the hottest year-long period in recorded history due to human-caused climate change that influenced heat over the last 12 months in 175 countries and 920 cities.
In India, 86 per cent of the population (1.2 billion) residents were exposed to at least 30 days of above-average temperatures made at least three times more likely by the influence of climate change, or level-three on Climate Central's Climate Shift Index (CSI).
CSI, developed by Climate Central (an independent US-based group of scientists and communicators), is a tool that quantifies the contribution of climate change to daily temperatures.
The Climate Central analysis released Thursday showed that average temperatures between November 2022 and October 2023 were above the 30-year norm in 170 countries, exposing 7.8 billion people - 99 per cent of humanity - to above-average heat.
"November 2022-October 2023 were the hottest 12 consecutive months ever recorded. This 12-month period's data is very consistent with the long-term global warming trend. Global Mean Temperature (GMT) was around 1.3 degrees Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial climate," mentions the Climate Central report.
"1 in 4 people worldwide (1.9 billion people) faced extreme and dangerous heatwaves driven by climate change over the last 12 months. This marks the hottest year-long period in recorded history," it added.
In 170 countries, mean temperatures over the span exceeded 30-year norms, exposing 7.8 billion people--99 per cent of humanity--to above-average warmth.
Only Iceland and Lesotho recorded cooler-than-normal temperatures, as per data released by the nonprofit organisation Climate Central.
Weather attribution analysis also revealed that during the span, 5.7 billion people were exposed to at least 30 days of above-average temperatures made at least three times more likely by the influence of climate change, or level-three on Climate Central's Climate Shift Index.
This exposure included nearly every resident of Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Italy, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, and every Caribbean and Central American nation.
India recorded an average CSI of 1, but the CSI increased to 1.6 between May and October this year.
"In India, 1.2 billion residents--86 per cent of the population--experienced Climate Shift Index level-three temperatures on 30 or more days. In China, this figure was 513 million residents--35 per cent of the population; and in the United States, 88 million--26 per cent of the population experienced at least 30 days of temperatures made at least three times more likely by climate change," the report mentions.
Researchers at Climate Central conducted the analysis using CSI, which measures how often and how much temperatures have shifted from the historical average. A higher index indicates more dramatic change compared to the past.
During this span, more than 500 million people in 200 cities experienced streaks of extreme heat, with at least five days of daily temperatures in the 99th percentile compared to 30-year norms.
No major city on Earth matched Houston's 22 consecutive days of extreme heat between July 31 and August 21.
"This 12-month record is exactly what we expect from a global climate fueled by carbon pollution," Dr Andrew Pershing, vice president for science at Climate Central, said.
"Records will continue to fall next year, especially as the growing El Nino begins to take hold, exposing billions to unusual heat. While climate impacts are most acute in developing countries near the equator, seeing climate-fueled streaks of extreme heat in the U.S., India, Japan, and Europe underscores that no one is safe from climate change."
The rising frequency and intensity of heat waves across the globe is consistent with the consequences of carbon pollution -- mainly from burning coal, oil, and natural gas.