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NOAA: 2023 Saw Record High Global Surface Temperatures and Ocean Heat Content

In a new report, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said 2023 had the highest average global surface temperature on record: The 20th century average was 13.9°C (57.0°F), and the 2023 average was 1.18°C (2.12°F) above that average. Other highlights of NOAA’s annual Global Climate Report for 2023: 

Record High Global Surface Temperatures and Ocean Heat
  1. 2023 was considered the warmest year since 1850 globally for the land and oceans with a few exceptions—land in the southern hemisphere ranked second, Arctic land and ocean ranked fourth, and Antarctic land and ocean ranked 40th.

  2. By region, 2023 was the warmest for North America (since 1850), South America (since 1910), Africa (since 1910), and second warmest (since 1910) for Europe and Asia. It was less warm in Oceania and Antarctica, being the 10th highest and 40th highest, respectively.

  3. Heavy rains brought flooding to Chile, Ghana, Pakistan, and India. As a result, 20,000 people were affected in Chile, nearly 26,000 people were evacuated in Ghana, and over 100,000 people were evacuated in Pakistan and India.

  4. Globally, there were 78 storms. These included 45 major storms, such as a cyclone in the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar, and Cyclone Ilsa in western Australia.

  5. California experienced 32 trillion gallons of rain and snow in January 2023 due to nine back-to-back atmospheric rivers.

  6. Global ocean heat content (OHC) for 0 to 700 meters (2,296 ft) was warmest for the entire basin of the Atlantic, Indian, and “World,” with the Pacific being second warmest since 1955. Global OHC has been on a rising trend since about 1970.

  7. The annual global OHC for 2023 for the upper 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) was a record high, beating the previous record in 2021.


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