Jan 4, 2024 - News

San Antonio could have an even hotter 2024

Global average temperature anomalies, 1850-2023
Data: NOAA. Note: Uses 1901-2000 mean. 2023 data is through November; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

This year may be even hotter than the "gobsmackingly" hot 2023, which featured extreme — and often deadly — weather and climate events around the globe.

Why it matters: A hotter '24 would lend credence to the hypothesis that global warming is accelerating, Axios climate expert Andrew Freedman writes.

What they're saying: "If things follow the normal pattern, 2024 should be a bit hotter than 2023. But 'the normal pattern' may not exist anymore," said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.

  • "In any event, it's certainly going to be one of the hottest years in the record."
  • The National Weather Service predicts an equal chance of temperatures being above normal and below normal through March.

The big picture: The combination of human-caused global warming from the burning of fossil fuels for energy, along with deforestation — plus other factors like a naturally occurring El Niño — boosted 2023's record warmth, stunning many in the scientific community.

What happened: 2023 was the hottest year on record for San Antonio, with 75 days over 100° and 131 days over 90°, according to the NWS.

  • Aug. 9, 10, 11 and 17 were the hottest days, with temperatures reaching 106°.

Studies have tied many of these events directly to climate change.

But there are skeptics. "During the typical first year of an El Niño, we see a global temperature spike in the last few months of the year followed by very warm conditions during the first months of the following year," said Robert Rohde, a scientist at Berkeley Earth, an independent group that tracks global temperatures.

The bottom line: "The only really important question is how many more years like this we have to have before the reality of how bad climate change is breaks into the public's consciousness," Dessler said.

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