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Hot, Hotter, Hottest: 2023 Expected to Be the Hottest Year on Record

And, are the impacts of climate change accelerating?

As we wrap up 2023, there is a question about our climate's future. Will it continue to get hotter? Are temperatures going to rise much more dramatically in the near term?

Read this NPR Up First segment: 2023 will be the hottest year on record. Is this how it's going to be now?

It is pretty certain that 2023 will be the hottest year on record for earth. It certainly was plenty hot in 2023. People who live in Phoenix can tell you that. The projection is that 2024 can be even hotter due to ocean temperatures.

A larger question that was briefly mentioned in the above story is about the rate of warming. Earlier this week there was another article about how "some scientists" are anticipating a rapid rise in world temperatures, matching those of the 1970s. However, there is no consensus on that issue.

Which brings up the issue of science in general. How we got to the point where science is not always being believed is really amazing. People don't understand that many times "the science" on a subject is always developing. Sometimes a big announcement is made, e.g., "eggs are bad for you" (back a decade or more ago) and that dominates the news, and then the position is reversed.

Science is not exact at all. However, when it comes to climate change the scientific community has coalesced on the fact that climate change is being caused by humans and the burning of fossil fuels. This is not an "eggs are bad for you" moment in science.

What this means is that we need to be prepared for more rain, more snow, more heat, more draught, more heat-related deaths. Emergency management's role is consequence management, and we will have many more disaster consequences if this warming climate continues, whether it speeds up or not.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.