Climate MattersJanuary 12, 2024

2023: Earth’s Hottest Year on Record


  • According to combined NOAA and NASA data, global temperatures in 2023 ranked highest in the 144-year record, at 1.4°C (2.52°F) above the early industrial (1881-1910) baseline average.  

  • 2023 has been added to the global warming stripes graphic, showing the rapid rise in global temperatures due mainly to carbon pollution.

CM: Top 10 Hottest Years 2024 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: Top 10 Hottest Years

Global temperatures shattered records in 2023

Carbon pollution from burning coal, oil, and natural gas has never been higher, according to the latest Global Carbon Project study. This heat-trapping pollution is pushing the planet toward new temperature records. 

According to the latest combined data from NOAA and NASA, global surface temperature in 2023 ranked highest in the 144-year record at 1.4°C (2.52°F) above the early industrial (1881-1910) baseline average.  

CM: Change in Global Temperature 2023 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: Change in Global Temperature 2023

Global temperatures in 2023 shattered previous records for seven continuous months (June to December), spanning the record-hottest boreal summer and fall seasons. 

CM: 2023 Global Warming Stripes (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: 2023 Global Warming Stripes

The planet is heating up — earning another dark red stripe.

The warming stripes graphic, created by Professor Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, visualizes the average global temperature anomaly each year since 1850. 

A blue stripe represents a below-average annual temperature relative to the 1971-2000 average, and red an above-average temperature. 

Another darkest-red stripe has been added to represent 2023's record global temperature.

Extreme heat in 2023 driven by climate change

Last year’s record global average temperatures reflect extreme and often dangerous heat events driven by human-caused climate change, including:

  • Heat waves driven by climate change affected parts of Europe, China, the U.S., northern Africa, South America, South Asia, and Madagascar, according to World Weather Attribution. 

  • Nearly everyone (90% of people worldwide) experienced at least 10 days of temperatures very strongly influenced by climate change during the 12-month streak ending in October 2023.

  • During Earth’s record-hottest summer, 45 U.S. cities experienced heat made at least 2x more likely by human-caused climate change on 50% to 98% of all summer days. 

More warming, more extremes

As the planet warms, many dangerous extreme events — from heat waves to wildfires and heavy rainfall and flooding — have become more frequent and/or intense, putting health and safety, livelihoods, infrastructure, and ecosystems at risk. 

The rise in weather and climate extremes — reflected in a record-breaking 28 U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2023 — is consistent with well-established science on the consequences of carbon pollution. 

According to the latest IPCC reports: “It is an established fact that human-induced greenhouse gas emissions have led to an increased frequency and/or intensity of some weather and climate extremes since pre-industrial time, in particular for temperature extremes.”

Not just one hot year — decades of rapid warming

CM: Rapid Warming Since 1850 (EN) 2023
Click the downloadable graphic: Rapid Warming Since 1850

As exceptional as 2023 has been, it won’t be the last record-breaking year.

It’s part of a larger trend of rapid warming since the industrial revolution kicked off a 17-decade surge in heat-trapping pollution from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. More pollution traps more heat and causes more warming.

Over the last 100 years, humans have released CO2 pollution at a far faster rate than any point in the previous 800,000 years of Earth history. 

As a result, the planet has warmed far faster in the last 50 years than at any point in at least the past 2,000 years.

If warming continues at this pace, many of the extreme events and harmful impacts that people are already experiencing will worsen and bring new risks. 

We know what’s causing rapid warming

CM: Human Influence on Warming Since 1850 (EN) 2023
Click the downloadable graphic: Human Influence on Warming Since 1850

The main cause of rapid global warming today is heat-trapping pollution from human activities.

Climate has changed throughout Earth’s long history — including very rapidly at points in the deep past.

But the warming observed since 1850 cannot be explained by natural drivers of climate change — including El Niño, changes in the activity of the sun, and emissions from large volcanoes.

Climate models can only explain observed warming since 1850 when they include the effects of human activities — especially the increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution. 

Paired pollution and warming trends continue today. Heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution from burning coal, oil, and natural gas has never been higher, and the planet is hotter now than at any time in at least the last 125,000 years.

We know how to slow warming for a safer future 

CM: Solar and Wind Energy Capacity By 2035 2023 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: Solar and Wind Energy Capacity By 2035

Because we know the main cause of rapid warming, we know how to slow this trend and ensure a safer future with less warming and fewer risky extreme events: deep, rapid, and sustained reductions in heat-trapping pollution

Moving toward clean and efficient sources of energy is key to achieving this.   

Many of the solutions we need to reduce emissions and thus curtail the impacts of climate change are already available. Climate Central resources show progress and potential in every state:


Looking for more indicators of global climate change?

NOAA’s Global Climate Dashboard provides data and science explainers for 14 indicators of climate change and natural climate variability — from greenhouse gases to ocean heat content, Arctic sea ice, and El Niño and La Niña. 

How is human-caused climate change influencing daily local temperatures?

  • Climate Central’s Climate Shift Index map tool shows which parts of the world are experiencing temperatures boosted by human-caused climate change, every day.

  • The Climate Shift Index is now available in KML format. Fill out this form to receive the KML links and create custom maps.

  • Sign up here to receive custom email alerts when strong Climate Shift Index levels are detected in your local area. 


Submit a request to SciLine from the American Association for the Advancement of Science or to the Climate Data Concierge from Columbia University. These free services rapidly connect journalists to relevant scientific experts. 

Browse maps of climate experts and services at regional NOAA, USDA, and Department of the Interior offices.  

Explore databases such as 500 Women Scientists, BIPOC Climate and Energy Justice PhDs, and Diverse Sources to find and amplify diverse expert voices. 

Reach out to your State Climate Office or the nearest Land-Grant University to connect with scientists, educators, and extension staff in your local area. 


Monthly global temperature analyses are independently calculated by NASA and NOAA/NCEI. Climate Central combines the NOAA and NASA information to re-baseline global temperatures using an earlier pre-industrial baseline of 1881-1910, consistent with the Paris Agreement warming limits (1.5°C and 2°C) above pre-industrial levels. NOAA data begins in 1850 and NASA data begins in 1880. Climate Central’s rankings are based on the longest period of overlap, beginning in 1880. NASA’s calculations are extended to account for temperature changes at the poles, where there are fewer stations. NOAA does not use any extrapolation to account for low station density at the poles.