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Temperatures measured in summer 2023 are ‘unprecedented’ in 2,000 years, researchers say

A closer look at tree rings adds to the growing list of evidence showing unprecedented temperatures measured on Earth over the past year.

The summer of 2023 was the hottest in the Northern Hemisphere’s extratropics – from New Orleans to the North Pole – in the last 2,000 years, according to a study published Tuesday in Nature.

Land temperatures in this part of the Northern Hemisphere were 2.07 degrees Celsius — or about 3.73 degrees Fahrenheit — higher in the summer of 2023 than instrumental averages between 1850 and 1900, researchers found after combining measurements from thousands of weather stations to analyze the month of June. -Surface air temperatures through August in the extratropical region of the Northern Hemisphere, which include 30 to 90 degrees north, according to the study.

The researchers also spent months taking samples to compare the tree ring reconstruction with nine of the longest temperature-sensitive tree chronologies available for the results, Jan Esper, professor of climatology at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, and lead author of the study, told reporters at a press briefing Monday.

PHOTO: Children and adults cool off in a fountain in a lower Manhattan park on a hot afternoon in the city on July 6, 2023 in New York.

Children and adults cool off in a fountain in a lower Manhattan park on a hot afternoon in the city on July 6, 2023 in New York.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images, FILE

Tree rings are “the only indicator” capable of providing reconstructions of annual temperatures, especially since early instrumental temperatures tend to have a “warm bias,” Esper said.

These observations give scientists “a complete picture” of natural climate variability, Esper said.

PHOTO: A woman walks with a fan on a hot afternoon in midtown Manhattan on July 6, 2023 in New York.

A woman walks with a fan on a hot afternoon in midtown Manhattan on July 6, 2023 in New York.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images, FILE

Even though data shows there is enough chance of extreme summers before industrialization, almost all “cold years” can be attributed to volcanic eruptions, Esper said.

The sampled regions provide a “fairly good spatial representation” in terms of longitude but have some limitations in terms of latitude, said Max Torbenson, a research associate in the department of geography at Johannes Gutenberg University and co-author of the paper. during Monday’s press briefing.

Although the warming studied in the paper cannot be applied on a global scale, it demonstrates “the unprecedented nature of current warming” as well as the need for urgent action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, said the authors.

Several reports have named 2023 as the hottest year on record. Copernicus, Europe’s climate change service, has named every month of 2024 the hottest in recorded history.

PHOTO: A person drinks a bottle of water while walking in the heat in Las Vegas, July 30, 2023, as temperatures reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.78°C).

A person drinks a bottle of water while walking in the heat in Las Vegas, July 30, 2023, as temperatures reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.78 C).

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

The planet recorded a streak of 11 consecutive months of record global temperatures after Copernicus named last month the hottest April on record.

The results of the most recent paper are “very, very concerning,” Esper said.

“The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be and the harder it will be to mitigate,” Esper said of climate change.

ABC News’ Daniel Peck contributed to this report.

ABC News

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