June 25, 2024 at 2:35 pm

Summer 2023 Was Likely The Hottest In Over 100,000 Years

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There is so much doom and gloom surrounding climate change these days that the bad news can start to sound like static.

That said, the world’s climate is definitely trying to tell us something.

Now researchers are saying that summer 2023 was likely the hottest in the past 100,000 years – at least the hottest since Jesus was alive, which was quite a while ago, too.

It’s hard to say for sure, because we have less than 50 years of satellite data that covers the entire globe. We have around a century of records from weather stations around the world, which allow us to reliably track temperatures back to around 1850.

Source: Shutterstock

That said, things like rings in trees, isotopes from air bubbles trapped in ice, and limestone cave structure can allow us to estimate weather patterns much further in the past at least somewhat reliably.

Cambridge professor Ulf Büntgen issued a statement about recent findings.

“When you look at the long sweep of history, you can see just how dramatic recent global warming is. 2023 was an exceptionally hot year, and this trend will continue unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.”

He and his team relied on tree rings, using the width of the rings to learn about growing conditions in a particular year.

Water is usually not a limiting factor in moderate and sub-polar zones, and so the width of the rings reflects the warmth of the spring and summer.

This is not as easily done in the Southern Hemisphere, where there are major factors outside of temperature, so the authors restricted their analysis to areas further north.

The work allowed the researchers to compare 2023 with average conditions over the past 2,000 years, as well as with the coldest summer – 536, when a “volcanic winter” hit.

The hottest “pre-human activity” northern summer was in 246, and it was more than 2 degrees cooler on average that 2023.

By comparing tree ring data for a few locations between 1850 and 1900, the authors were able to conclude we’ve even overestimate summer temperatures in the past by around a 10th of a degree, which makes 2023 almost 4 degrees warmer than the average temperature between 1850-1900.

Source: Shutterstock

Professor Jan Esper of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz attempts to explain what all of this means.

“It’s true that the climate is always changing, but the warming in 2023, caused by greenhouse gases, is additionally amplified by El Nino conditions, so we end up with longer and more severe heat waves and extended periods of drought. When you look at the big picture, it shows just how urgent it is that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions immediately.”

The bell has been ringing for some time now.

It can sometimes seem like it’s just part of the ambient noise.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about a second giant hole has opened up on the sun’s surface. Here’s what it means.