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2023 could be hottest year on record: dataset study

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-09-19 17:29

An aerial photo of Sanjiangyuan National Park in Northwest China's Qinghai province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

BEIJING -- Chinese researchers have predicted that 2023 could become the hottest year on record while 2024 may be even hotter, based on the analysis of a dataset they have developed.

The study, published on Tuesday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, was conducted by researchers from the School of Atmospheric Sciences at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

By analyzing the China global Merged Surface Temperature dataset 2.0 (CMST 2.0), the team discovered that 2023 has already experienced the third hottest first half-year since records began.

The global mean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) surged to an all-time high in April, while global mean land air temperatures followed suit by reaching their second-highest monthly level in June. This combination resulted in May being crowned the hottest month ever recorded for global mean surface temperatures, according to the study.

The study further reveals that global temperatures continue to rise into the second half of 2023, driven by factors including El Nino and widespread wildfires. Both global mean SSTs and global mean land temperatures reached unprecedented highs for July.

The researchers then made the prediction that 2023 is on track to become the hottest year on record while 2024 may witness even higher global surface temperatures, based on the current trajectory and short-term forecast results of El Nino, along with the extremely positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which strongly influences global surface temperatures.

The study pointed out that as global warming accelerates, the likelihood of extreme weather events and disasters increases, calling for urgent action.

"As global temperatures continue to break records, it is clear that immediate and sustained efforts are needed to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change," said Li Qingxiang, the corresponding author and a professor at Sun Yat-sen University.

The CMST 2.0 dataset, developed by Li's team, integrates over a century's worth of global land-air temperature data, resulting in an invaluable resource for climate scientists and policymakers.

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