October temperature record broken as 2023 'near certain' to be warmest year ever

EU climate monitor says average surface air temperature for the month was 1.7°C warmer than pre-industrial average

A wildfire approaches a village near Alexandroupolis in Greece earlier this year. Average global temperatures are on the rise. Bloomberg
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The world's warmest October was recorded this year, according to the EU's climate monitor, which said 2023 was "near certain" to be the hottest on record.

Data released by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) showed an average surface air temperature across the planet of 15.3°C for the month.

This is 0.4°C warmer than the previous global record for October set in 2019 and 1.7°C warmer than the pre-industrial average, between 1850-1900.

The extraordinary temperatures were partly due to El Nino as it continued to develop in the equatorial Pacific.

Rainfall was above average across most of Europe, with Storm Babet hitting parts of northern Europe, and Storm Aline affecting Portugal and Spain, each bringing heavy rain and flooding.

In the wider world it was wetter than average in several regions including the south-west of North America, parts of the Arabian Peninsula, areas of Central Asia and Siberia, south-eastern China, Brazil, New Zealand and parts of southern Africa.

C3S said such conditions were often associated with the transit of cyclones, which triggered heavy rainfall and often substantial damage.

Figures released by the body also showed Antarctic sea ice was at record lows, with a monthly value 11 per cent below average. Arctic sea ice extent reached its seventh lowest value for October, at 12 per cent below average.

The average sea surface temperature for October was 20.79°C, the highest on record for the month.

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the C3S, said: "October 2023 has seen exceptional temperature anomalies, following on from four months of global temperature records being obliterated.

"We can say with near certainty that 2023 will be the warmest year on record and is currently 1.43ºC above the pre-industrial average.

"The sense of urgency for ambitious climate action going into Cop28 has never been higher."

Updated: November 09, 2023, 8:13 AM