IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th September, 2023 Environment

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  • The recent extreme weather events leave little to no doubt that the climate crisis is here.
  • As a result, numerous climate records on temperature, ocean heat, and Antarctic sea ice cover are getting smashed week after week.
  • Wildfires rage over Europe and Canada. Floods, cloudbursts, and storms wreak havoc in China, India, and Brazil. Heat waves in several countries.


Hottest summer ever

  • According to C3S and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the summer of this year was the hottest on record.
  • With an average temperature of 16.77 degrees Celsius, which was 0.66 degrees Celsius higher than the 1990-2020 average, the three-month period from June to August smashed prior records.
  • According to C3S and WMO data, last month was the warmest August on record and the second hottest recorded month after July 2023.
  • It also revealed that the average August temperature was 16.82 degrees Celsius, which was 0.71 degrees Celsius higher than the 1991-2020 average.
  • In July, the global average daily temperature crossed the mark of 17 degrees Celsius for the first time.
  • On July 3, the average temperature reached 17.01 degrees Celsius, on July 6, the mercury soared to 17.08 degrees Celsius. The latter is currently the hottest day recorded on the planet.

Why it matters?

  • With such high temperatures and El Nino conditions, the year 2023 could be the warmest in recorded history.
  • So far, it is the second-warmest year on record, only 0.01 degrees Celsius below the all-time high of 2016.
  • The development highlights the possibility that the planet may soon become 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than it was during the pre-industrial times.
  • Once the limit is breached, there could be irrevocable damage to the Earth’s ecosystem, severely impacting humans and other living beings.

Highest sea surface temperature

  • The global average sea surface temperature is likewise out of this world. Every day from July 31 to August 31, 2023, the worldwide average sea surface temperature was higher than the previous record from March 2016.
  • As a result, August had the highest global monthly average sea surface temperature on record across all months, at 20.98 degrees Celsius significantly above average for August, with a 0.55 degree Celsius anomaly, according to C3S.
  • Notably, the North Atlantic Ocean's average sea surface temperature reached a new high on August 31, when it touched 25.19 degrees Celsius.

Why it matters?

  • Since the second part of the nineteenth century, the oceans have absorbed 90% of the excess heat created by human activities. Marine heat waves (MHWs), which are extreme meteorological phenomena, are frequently caused by rising ocean temperatures.
  • MHWs cause the extinction of various marine species, disrupt their migration patterns, induce coral bleaching, and even have an impact on weather patterns. They can also strengthen storms such as hurricanes and typhoons.

Lowest Antarctic sea ice extent

  • In 2023, the Antarctic sea ice extent reached a new low.
  • According to a NASA Earth Observatory report, sea ice extent averaged 13.5 million square kilometers in July, the lowest levels reported for this time of year since the continuous satellite record began in late 1978.
  • According to C3S, the monthly value for sea ice cover was 12% below average in August, the highest negative anomaly for August on record.
  • The northern Ross Sea, as well as the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean sectors, was the worst hit.

Why it matters?

  • The extreme decline in Antarctica’s sea ice sheet has set alarm bells ringing for scientists. Less ice cover may have grave consequences for the world.
  • Low sea ice extent leads to higher ocean temperatures, difficulty in the formation of ice, rising sea levels, and disruption of the ocean circulation.

Closing thoughts

  • Scalable new technologies and nature-based solutions will enable us all to leapfrog to a cleaner, more resilient world. If governments, businesses, civil society, youth, and academia work together, we can create a green future where suffering is diminished, justice is upheld, and harmony is restored between people and the planet.


Did industrialization cause climate change? How do we identify 'bad' climate change? Explain