Light Wave


New C3S report: 2023 officially hottest year ever recorded

By Jake Beardslee · January 9, 2024

In brief…

  • 2023 confirmed as hottest year ever recorded, nearing 1.5C Paris Agreement limit
  • Monthly temperatures from June-December broke records
  • Sea surface temperatures and shift to El Niño drove extreme heat
  • Greenhouse gases reached new highs of 419 ppm CO2 and 1902 ppb CH4
  • Climate extremes provide "dramatic testimony" of shifting climate
The Copernicus Climate Change Service report confirms 2023 was the hottest year on record globally, with unprecedented heat driven by rising sea temperatures and greenhouse gases.  Copernicus Climate Change Service

A new report from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) confirms that 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded, with global temperatures nearing the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Agreement. According to the report, “2023 is confirmed as the warmest calendar year in global temperature data records going back to 1850.”

The C3S report states that “2023 had a global average temperature of 14.98°C, 0.17°C higher than the previous highest annual value in 2016.” It goes on to say that “2023 was 0.60°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average and 1.48°C warmer than the 1850-1900 pre-industrial level.” Furthermore, “It is likely that a 12-month period ending in January or February 2024 will exceed 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level.”

Unprecedented global temperatures from June onwards led 2023 to surpass 2016 as the hottest year on record. Close to 50% of days in 2023 exceeded 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and in November temperatures were more than 2°C warmer on two separate days.

According to the report, record-breaking sea surface temperatures and the transition from La Niña to El Niño conditions contributed to the extreme heat. Greenhouse gas concentrations also continued rising to new highs, with carbon dioxide reaching 419 ppm and methane at 1902 ppb.

The C3S warns that the climate extremes witnessed in 2023 provide “dramatic testimony of how far we now are from the climate in which our civilisation developed.” The report urges immediate decarbonization efforts to manage escalating climate risks.