Dec 14, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Photo essay: The Earth's warmest year on record

Prado fire crews take a break from the 105 degree heat while putting out hotspots at the Rabbit fire on July 16, 2023 in Beaumont, CA. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Heat waves, floods and wildfires dominated the news cycle this year with climate-change related disasters, and global average temperatures, on the rise.

Why it matters: Every month since June has been the hottest such month on record, and the rapid warming is playing out in the form of deadly extreme events worldwide.

Driving the news: NOAA said Thursday 2023 is virtually certain (greater than a 99.5% chance) to be the warmest in its records, but won't pronounce it until early January.

  • The European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has already confirmed 2023 as the hottest year on record.
A person suffering from extreme heat being placed inside of an ambulance by paramedics.
Paramedics from Phoenix Fire Station 18 transport a resident to the hospital during a heat wave in Phoenix, Arizona, US, on Thursday, July 20, 2023. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A photograph showing the side of a building with numerous air conditioning units. A single worker is seen amongs the units scaling the wall.
A worker washes windows next to air conditioning units at an apartment building in Tokyo, Japan, as temperatures soared to nearly 16F above the seasonal average on Friday, July 21, 2023. Photo: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A young boy carries a battery powered fan through a street. In the foreground of the photo are a pattern of fans.
A young boy carries home a battery-powered fan amid a heat wave and electricity shortage in Gaza city, on July 19, 2023. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images
A man pulling a rickshaw wearing a cloth over his head due to the heat. The passengers in the rickshaw, a mother and her children, are using an umbrella to stay in the shade.
A mother is seen holding an umbrella over her child inside a hand pulled rickshaw to escape from heat wave in Kolkata , India , on 3 July 2023. Photo: Debarchan Chatterjee/NurPhoto via Getty Images
A man carring an illuminated icon from a burnin montastery in Greece.
A volunteer carries an icon from a burning monastery as a wildfire spreads in Acharnes, north of Athens, on August 23, 2023. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images
A young boy sitting on a large with his back to the camera while he watches people in the background look through rubble.
A boy watches as rescue teams search through the rubble in the eastern city of Soussa, Libya on September 21, 2023, following deadly flash floods. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images
A photograph showing the mountains behind the Hollywood sign covered in snow.
The Hollywood sign stands in front of snow-covered mountains after another winter storm on March 01, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. The final in a series of winter storms in the region brought snow levels to as low as 1,000 feet in some places. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
A night time photo showing a fire burning along a mountain ridge. Nothing is visible except for the outlines of trees against the fire and smoke.
The McDougall Creek wildfire burns in the hills of West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, on August 17, 2023. Canada experienced a record-setting wildfire season, with official estimates of over 33.9 million acres. Photo: Darren Hull/AFP via Getty Images
A foggy and hazy Washington Monument is seen in the background, with a silhouette of soldiers in the foreground marching around the Reflection Pool.
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps rehearse in hazy smoke for the Sunset Parade at the Lincoln Memorial on June 8, 2023 in Washington, DC. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
An aerial photograph of a lone house completely surrounded by water. The cloudy sky is reflected in the water surrounding the house.
In this aerial picture from May 26, 2023, a house is seen in flooded areas caused by heavy rains across Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images
A photograph showing a farmer from behind as he stares out at a dried and ruined corn crop.
Farmer José Braidotti, who has lost his last three crops due to drought, stands next to dry corn plants in his fields on March 12, 2023 in San Jeronimo del Sud, Argentina. According to experts, this drought, linked to La Niña climate pattern, was the worst in sixty years and affected 55% of the country. Photo: Sebastian Lopez Brach/Getty Images
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