ENVIRONMENT

The world just marked a year above a critical climate limit scientists have warned about

Feb 8, 2024, 6:00 AM

Earth climate...

More than 160 wildfires that spread over an area of Chile this week have killed more than 120 people and reduced entire neighborhoods to ashes, making them the deadliest blazes in the country’s recent history. (Javier Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

(Javier Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally Published: 07 FEB 24 22:00 ET

(CNN) — Global warming surpassed 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past 12 months for the first time on record, new data shows, breaching a critical threshold that, if it continues, will push the limits of life on Earth to adapt.

The past year was 1.52 degrees hotter on average than temperatures before industrialization, according to data from Copernicus, the European Union’s climate and weather monitoring service. That 12-month average was boosted by the hottest January on record, which was 1.66 degrees warmer than the average January temperature in pre-industrial times.

Keeping global warming below 2 degrees, but preferably 1.5, was the centerpiece goal of the Paris Agreement, which most of the world’s nations signed onto in 2015.

Scientists are more concerned with multi-year warming above these thresholds, but the 12-month record shows the world is fast approaching the Paris Agreement’s limits.

Matt Patterson, a postdoctoral research assistant in atmospheric physics at the University of Oxford, said the record was a “significant milestone,” but didn’t mean the Paris Agreement had failed.

“However, exceeding 1.5C in one year underlines the rapidly shrinking window of time humanity has to make deep emissions cuts and avoid dangerous climate change.”

Heat records on land and sea have tumbled over the past year. The last eight months in a row have been the hottest such months on record, Copernicus said, while 2023 was the hottest calendar year.

The average global sea surface temperature for January was also the hottest on record for that month by a large margin: 0.26 degrees warmer than the previous record, set in 2016.

“2024 starts with another record-breaking month – not only is it the warmest January on record but we have also just experienced a 12-month period of more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial reference period,” Copernicus Deputy Director Samantha Burgess said in a statement. “Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are the only way to stop global temperatures increasing.”

The climate crisis is driven primarily from humans burning coal, oil and gas for energy. El Niño, a natural climate pattern that originates in the Pacific Ocean, has also boosted temperatures in much of the world in recent months.

Extreme weather events already made more frequent and severe by long-term global warming are now being supercharged by El Niño, scientists say. The combination of the two has proved particularly destructive.

More than 160 wildfires that spread over an area of Chile this week have killed more than 120 people and reduced entire neighborhoods to ashes, making them the deadliest blazes in the country’s recent history.

The twin threat also supercharged the California storms this week, scientists said, enhancing rainfall and boosting the storm’s destructive power.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Environment

The Little Twist wildfire, which has been burning for more than a week, has grown to 2,398 acres, a...

Mark

Crews continue to battle Little Twist wildfire, making some progress

The Little Twist wildfire, which has been burning for more than a week, has grown to 2,398 acres, and is 10% contained.

1 hour ago

Flash floods could appear in Southern Utah on Sunday and Monday. The Virgin River flows through thr...

Kennedy Camarena and Mark Jackson

Southern Utah: Potential for flash floods on Sunday and Monday, some flooding in Capitol Reef reported

The National Weather Service is predicting a potential of flash floods for Southern Utah on Sunday and Monday.

7 hours ago

Parts of Utah have been given a heat advisory on Sunday. A view of the state Capitol and the Salt L...

Kennedy Camarena

Parts of Utah under excessive heat warning

Utah has been given two different kinds of heat advisories for parts of the state by the National Weather Service on Sunday.

8 hours ago

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

Don’t skip the sunscreen before heading outside!

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Dekker Deacon with the Huntsman Cancer Institute to learn all about sunscreen products.

11 hours ago

Highway 128 is covered in mud after a severe storm and flooding in the area....

Kyle Remund

Cleanup begins after severe storm in eastern Utah

After a severe storm passed through Grand County, Utah, on Friday, officials are beginning cleanup and mitigation.

1 day ago

The rescue of an injured hiker at Lisa Falls...

Kyle Remund

Search and rescue pulls hiker from Lisa Falls

On Friday, search and rescue teams came to the aid of a hiker who had fallen at Lisa Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

The world just marked a year above a critical climate limit scientists have warned about