Year in Review

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  • Global greening continued into 2023, reaching near-record values that were dominated by regional enhancement in the mid-western USA, Europe, northern Australia and parts of equatorial Africa. In contrast, climatic events contributed to browning signals in Russia, Canada, Mexico and tropical drylands.

    • Xiangyi Li
    • Kai Wang
    • Shilong Piao
    Year in Review
  • Global CO2 emissions for 2023 increased by only 0.1% relative to 2022 (following increases of 5.4% and 1.9% in 2021 and 2022, respectively), reaching 35.8 Gt CO2. These 2023 emissions consumed 10–66.7% of the remaining carbon budget to limit warming to 1.5°C, suggesting permissible emissions could be depleted within 0.5–6 years (67% likelihood).

    • Zhu Liu
    • Zhu Deng
    • Philippe Ciais
    Year in Review
  • Wildfires burned 384 Mha of land in 2023, the highest since 2017 but 5% lower than the 2001–2022 average. These fires emitted an estimated 2,524 Tg C, 30% of which came from Canada’s record fire season.

    • Crystal A. Kolden
    • John T. Abatzoglou
    • Piyush Jain
    Year in Review
  • Antarctic sea ice extent was the lowest on record in 2023, with an annual mean of 9.81 million km2, beating the previous minimum of 2022. Arctic sea ice extent was also low, with an annual mean of 10.49 million km2, but did not break any records.

    • Lettie A. Roach
    • Walter N. Meier
    Year in Review
  • 2023 saw a multitude of extreme precipitation events across the globe, causing flash flooding, countless fatalities and huge economic losses. Fuelled by a combination of a strong El Niño, record ocean warmth and anthropogenic warming, these events highlight the ongoing risks posed by extreme precipitation in a warming climate.

    • Hayley J. Fowler
    • Stephen Blenkinsop
    • Paul A. Davies
    Year in Review
  • Global terrestrial water storage (TWS) anomalies reached a record low of –9.94 cm in 2023, decreasing 0.80 cm from 2022. These reductions largely reflect ongoing TWS losses from glacial melt and groundwater use for irrigation, offset by gains in central and eastern Antarctica and La Niña-related tropical wetting.

    • Bailing Li
    • Matthew Rodell
    Year in Review
  • Multiple relentless heatwaves occurred in 2023, with much of the world experiencing at least 20 more heatwave days than the 1991–2020 average. Prominent and record-breaking events included exceptional wintertime and spring heat in South America, large heatwaves over Europe, Africa and Asia, and a prolonged event over south-eastern USA and Central America.

    • Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick
    • David Barriopedro
    • Kai Kornhuber
    Year in Review
  • In 2023, national and international climate policy advanced in many areas but also faced substantial domestic hurdles in others. Countries agreed on new global initiatives and many major emitters expanded national climate policies. However, others rolled back existing policies and continued to support fossil fuels, slowing down global progress.

    • Leonardo Nascimento
    • Catrina Godinho
    • Niklas Höhne
    Year in Review
  • In 2023, global full-depth ocean heat content (OHC) reached a record increase of 464 ± 55 ZJ since 1960, with strong heat gain observed in the Southern and Atlantic Oceans. OHC was 16 ± 10 ZJ higher than in 2022, continuing the long-term increasing trend that started in 1960.

    • Lijing Cheng
    • Karina von Schuckmann
    • Yuying Pan
    Year in Review