An innovative examination of the world-renowned HadCRUT5 global temperature dataset uncovers that a grand total of six months, including the month of March in the year 2023, have exceeded the critical threshold of 1.5°C global warming. This threshold holds significant importance as it aligns with the target set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN-FCCC) under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The assessment, carried out by EarthSystemData UK, scrutinised HadCRUT5—a prominent global data collection employed by the United Nations for monitoring worldwide climate conditions. The data was recalibrated relative to the average temperatures recorded during the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900, in accordance with the methodology employed by the United Nations to determine the 1.5°C threshold.
The months that surpassed the 1.5°C warming mark include: January 2016 (+1.51°C), February 2016 (+1.63°C), March 2016 (+1.62°C); February 2020 (+1.53°C), March 2020 (+1.53°C); and March 2023 (+1.56°C). These findings mark the initial extended periods during which the global temperature has exceeded the prescribed ‘safe warming limit’ outlined by the UN-FCCC. However, it does not signify a formal violation of the legally binding targets set forth in the Paris Agreement. To confidently attribute the breach to human-induced factors, a multi-year average exceeding +1.5°C is required.
“Notwithstanding, these early data points are indicative of an impending sustained breach. They serve as an unequivocal warning—supplementing the multitude of climate catastrophes that have unfolded thus far—and now, the numbers paint a vivid picture before us,” remarked Dr. Craig Wallace, the analyst responsible for the study. “The years 2016, and to some extent, 2020, were influenced by the formidable El Niño phenomenon, which elevated global temperatures alongside the human-driven carbon emissions. However, the exceptional figure recorded in March 2023 is particularly noteworthy as it occurred during the concluding stages of a La Niña phase, which inherently cools the planet and offsets a fraction of the human-induced warming. This suggests that the actual human-driven temperature increase in March surpassed the reported +1.56°C mark.”