NASA officially declared 2023 as the hottest year on record, reportedly driven by human-caused climate change and exacerbated by the natural El Niño weather phenomenon.

In 2023, the Earth was about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit (or approximately 1.4 degrees Celsius) warmer than in the pre-industrial era. Unprecedented global temperatures from June onwards led 2023 to become the warmest year on record, overtaking by a significant margin the previous record set in 2016.

This trend of extreme weather conditions did not cease with the turn of the calendar. Early 2024 has already seen severe flooding in San Diego and an unprecedented 100-inch snowfall in parts of Alaska. These severe weather patterns are being attributed to the continued rise in global temperatures.

San Diego, typically known for its mild and sunny climate, faced devastating floods. The city’s infrastructure, unprepared for such heavy rainfall, struggled to cope with the deluge. Many residents were displaced from their homes, and the economic cost of the damage is still being calculated.

Meanwhile, Alaska, no stranger to snow, was hit with a staggering 100 inches of snowfall. This excessive snow accumulation disrupted transportation and other essential services, causing significant difficulties for local residents. While Alaskans are accustomed to heavy snowfall, these levels are far beyond the norm, highlighting the unpredictable and extreme weather changes we are experiencing.

Simultaneously, Colombia battled severe wildfires, further punctuating the extreme weather patterns that have defined the start of 2024. The fires, driven by dry conditions, have devastated communities and wildlife, causing significant economic and ecological damage.

These recent events – the record heat in 2023, the flooding in San Diego, Alaska’s excessive snowfall, and Colombia’s wildfires – are not isolated incidents. They form part of a broader pattern of increasingly extreme weather conditions that scientists have long warned would be a consequence of unchecked climate change.

The World Meteorological Organization’s provisional State of the Global Climate report confirms that if current trends continue, we should expect more record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather events. As we move further into 2024, these early incidents serve as a reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive and coordinated global action to combat the escalating climate crisis.