Past 12 Months Were the Hottest Recorded in Human History

November 2022 to October 2023 has been the hottest twelve-month stretch in recorded human history. 

A recent report from Climate Central, an independent group of scientists who research and report the facts about our changing climate, shows that the period between November 2022 and October 2023 was the hottest 12-month stretch in recorded human history. Over this period, nearly half of people living in the US experienced at least 10 days of temperatures very strongly influenced by climate change, while over one-quarter of the U.S. population experienced 30 or more days with heat at CSI level 3 or higher during the same period. The most harrowing finding is that the globe is closer than ever to reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which could trigger irreversible ecological damage.

According to the report,

Economic impacts

In the U.S., 24 extreme weather events killed at least 383 people and led to financial losses exceeding $67 billion USD to date. . . . In the Panama Canal, which operates an estimated 5% of global trade, the 2-year-long drought disrupted the world’s busiest trade passage for months.

Heat, wildfires, and health

In what is now considered the deadliest U.S. fire of the century, 93 people died in Hawaii. In Canada, 1 person out of every 200 was forced to evacuate their homes due to wildfires that burned over 45 million acres and lasted for months. . . .

At the global scale and in countries, states, and cities around the world, the last 12 months were remarkably hot, and the CSI indicates that climate change boosted this heat for billions. More than 9 in 10 people encountered heat that was made much more likely by human-caused climate change. The highest exposures to climate-driven heat were in the tropics, concentrating the impact on developing 10 countries. However, every country experienced some level of climate driven heat; and streaks of intense heat occurred in the U.S., Europe, India, and China.

As climate change intensifies, it is critical for counties and the state to be working hand-in-glove on strategies to adapt to the new environment. While the main focus has been on emissions reductions and the transition to electrification, it is important for policymakers to note that many negative environmental changes are now unavoidable. When weather-related disasters become more frequent, counties will largely make up the boots-on-the-ground first response. As scientists expect that the warming trends of 2023 will soon be outdone in future years, it is important all levels of government work together at both transition and adaptation.

Read the full report. 

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