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2023 set to be the hottest year on record, nearing 1.5 degree climate change threshold

This year is likely to be the hottest on record, with the average temperature set to be 1.4 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

The data was released by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization late last week.

The report found that the El Niño pattern, which brought higher temperatures, emerged in the Northern Hemisphere during the spring and accelerated in the summer.

Dave White with the Arizona State University Global Futures Laboratory told PBS’s “Arizona Horizon” that is approaching a dangerous 1.5 degrees above the norm.

"Which is set forth in the Paris Climate Accord as a critical threshold beyond which we see the acceleration of climate impacts and some of the worst effects," White said.

Jennifer Vanos, a professor at ASU’s School of Sustainability, also told PBS’s “Arizona Horizon” that rise in heat was seen locally.

“We saw a month of temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit and part of that equation is climate change, and we can’t ignore that. So, we have to think what can we do about that? What adaptation efforts can help protect people’s lives today," Vanos said. 

The report says the heat will likely continue in 2024, as effects from El Niño patterns have their greatest impacts on global temperatures after peaking. 

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.