For the first time since records began, the global average daily temperature was more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. The EU climate change service Copernicus confirmed on Tuesday upon request that, according to preliminary data, the temperature on November 17th exceeded the average for the period from 1850 to 1900 for that day by 2.06 degrees.

Compared to the period from 1991 to 2020, the temperature for the day was 1.17 degrees higher. At the same time, Copernicus emphasized: “It is important to make clear that this does not represent a violation of the Paris Agreement, but rather underlines our proximity to the internationally agreed limit values.”

Ideal limit 1.5 degrees

At the 2015 World Climate Conference in Paris, countries around the world agreed to limit global warming to below 2 degrees, and if possible even to 1.5 degrees. This is about longer-term values ​​and not individual days, months or years. The background to the decision is the fatal consequences of global warming such as increasingly frequent and severe storms, droughts, floods and forest fires. The past few months have brought a series of temperature records; experts believe that 2023 is likely to be the warmest year since records began. According to Copernicus, as of the end of October the average temperature was 1.43 degrees above the pre-industrial average.

The value from November 17th was the largest deviation to date from the estimated average of a day for the pre-industrial period – and not the highest absolute temperature, said Copernicus, based in Reading, England. “The record for the warmest day (and month) still stands in July this year, as significantly higher temperatures were observed in the northern summer.” At the same time it said: “As we approach the 1.5 degree limit set in the Paris Agreement, we expect that temperature anomalies reaching 1.5 and 2 degrees will become increasingly common in the coming months and years -Exceed limit values ​​compared to pre-industrial levels.”

Copernicus director at the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Carlo Buontempo, said: “Global temperature records are being broken with alarming regularity.” The exceeding of the limit values ​​of 1.5 and 2 degrees was to be expected due to global warming, but would still have frightening effects, said Buontempo around a week and a half before the start of the COP 28 world climate conference in Dubai.