The Inertia for Good Editor

Photo: NOAA

The Inertia

Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association have been ringing the alarm on global temperature changes for a long time now. It seems every month they have new data or at least a new way to provide context for what those changes look like. Earlier this month it was revealed that average global sea surface temperatures reached a new record high in February 2023. NOAA and Climate Reanalyzer are now saying data shows a 365-day streak of daily sea surface temperature records.

Consistent with that trend, this past Wednesday saw a new all-time high set for the past 12 months, at 21.2C.

This is nothing new, of course. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s 2023 State of the Global Climate report, the nine-year span between 2015 and 2023 were the nine warmest years on record. Record monthly near-surface temperatures had already been observed from April to December, and the 10-year average global temperature between 2014 and 2023 was 1.20 +/- 0.12 °C above the average recorded between 1850 and 1900.

“It’s not just that the global-average sea surface temperature has been record-breaking every single day… but it’s the absurdly-large margins by which the records have been broken,” Brian McNoldy, a senior researcher at the University of Miami in Florida, told Axios.

El Niño conditions popping up in 2023 and extending through this winter likely contributed those “absurdly-large margins,” but many researchers point out the upward warming trend only contributes to how extreme we experience natural weather events like El Niño or the La Niña conditions now predicted as early as April-June. As forecasters up the likelihood of a La Niña, a stronger Atlantic hurricane season is expected as a result.

“If you look at the record, we are seeing certainly tropical cyclones forming earlier than June 1, and we’re seeing systems extending well beyond the end of November. So that, hurricane season has certainly become longer both on the front and the back,” says NOAA’s Richard Spinrad.


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.