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NASA, NOAA studies confirm record-high global temperatures in 2023

By Mike Heuer
Declining water levels due to climate change and 20 years of ongoing drought are shown at the Lake Mead shoreline in Boulder City, Nev., in this photo from November 16, 2022. Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed Friday that 2023 was the warmest year on record. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Declining water levels due to climate change and 20 years of ongoing drought are shown at the Lake Mead shoreline in Boulder City, Nev., in this photo from November 16, 2022. Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed Friday that 2023 was the warmest year on record. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The world's average temperature on land and the oceans' surface set a global record in 2023, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have confirmed.

A warming climate almost certainly will continue and the pace of change has "astounded" the world's climate scientists following a year of record-high average global temperatures, both federal agencies cautioned in releasing their data on Friday.

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NOAA data show the average recorded temperature in 2023 was 58.96 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 2.12 degrees higher than the global average for the 20th century. The average global temperature reported for 2023 is 0.27 degrees more than the prior record high set in 2016.

"The findings are astounding," NOAA chief scientist Sarah Kapnick said in a combined NASA-NOAA blog. She said 2023 was "an extraordinarily warm year that produced many costly climate-driven weather events here in the United States and worldwide."

When determining a global temperature, scientists must compile thousands of temperature recordings and account for areas with missing data. NOAA officials say the missing data increase uncertainty when declaring an average global temperature.

Despite measurement uncertainties when recording global temperatures and determining an annual global average, the 2.12-degree change is significant, a NASA official said.

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"None of those uncertainties are large enough to change the bottom line of what we're talking about," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "We're looking at this and we're, frankly, astonished."

NOAA officials reported a 33% chance that 2024 will be warmer than 2023 and a 99% chance it will rank among the five warmest years to date.

The NASA-NOAA findings come only days after the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service similarly determined that 2023 was the hottest year on record, beating the old record set in 2016.

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