Global Temperature Surpasses the Critical 2°C Threshold in November 2023

For the first time, global temperature anomaly reached more than 2°C for one specific day. What does that mean specifically, and how is this global temperature anomaly related to the Paris Agreement?

In the international agreement on climate change, the Paris Agreement, policymakers from 195 parties agreed that global temperature increase should not exceed, on average 2°C at the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial reference period. A reference period of 30 years is used to measure the threshold defined in the agreement because the agreement aims at the overall climate and not at single weather events. Climate is defined as the weather statistics over a longer time of at least 30 years. By averaging global temperature data over those 30 years, extreme years are smoothed, so the temperature data represent a climatological period.

Daily global surface air temperature anomaly 2023, source:

The diagram shows the temperature developments of every single year since pre-industrial times. The reference time period for the years 1850 to 1900 is shown as a white horizontal line and represents the pre-industrial temperature baseline. The thin lines show the global temperature anomaly for each year. Temperature anomaly describes the temperature difference to the reference period. For example, a temperature anomaly of +1°C explains that the global temperature for a single day is 1°C higher than the reference temperature.

On the 17th of November 2023, the global temperature anomaly reached more than 2°C for the first time (red line in the diagram shows the year 2023). However, this temperature anomaly record of 2°C is just a new extreme value. Still, there is no direct connection to the Paris Agreement, which considers a climatological period of 30 years.

Climatologists expect that in the future, the threshold for single days will be reached more often, if CO2 is not drastically reduced globally. This was also discussed during the ExtremWetterKongress in September.

The current El Niño phenomenon is a critical factor in this alarming development, exacerbating global temperature increases and leading to extreme weather events like severe droughts and floods. This phenomenon acts as a catalyst, amplifying the already detrimental effects of climate change. It intensifies the impact of El Niño and its counterpart, La Niña, and contributes to their increased frequency. The year 2023 has witnessed a notable surge in extreme weather events worldwide – including droughts, floods, heatwaves, forest fires, and severe urban heatwaves. These events are not isolated incidents but a direct consequence of the heightened global temperatures and altered climatic conditions caused by climate change.

In response to these alarming climate trends, the European Union has set ambitious targets to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 involving the entire economy. One of the measures is the expansion of the existing Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), significantly enhancing the scope of sustainability reporting. This requests 50’000 EU companies to collect comprehensive data on environmental, social, and corporate governance standards in order to demonstrate the company’s impact on climate change and analyse how climate change influences their business models. This shift necessitates in-depth climate risk analyses, which are also integral to the EU taxonomy.

meteoblue emerges as a crucial player in this landscape, offering precise, site-specific climate risk assessments. Our service supports small and large companies in strategic planning and operational decisions by evaluating potential future risks linked to climate change through scientific models. Our concise and affordable reports integrate RCP emission scenarios from the IPCC and analyse up to 29 climate dimensions, such as temperature, precipitation, and flooding risks. On this journey, meteoblue works with esteemed partners such as sustainable AG from Munich, building on our expertise and capabilities synergies. This collaboration has been instrumental in successfully navigating numerous audits and developing solutions that comply with and meet the standards set by new EU regulations, including the CSRD and the EU taxonomy.

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