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Why 2024 could be the hottest year in recorded history

2024 may be even hotter than the "gobsmackingly" hot 2023, which featured extreme — and often deadly — weather and climate events around the globe.

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    • Global Warming
Why 2024 could be the hottest year in recorded history
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    The big picture

    A hotter 2024 would lend credence to the hypothesis that global warming is accelerating.

    2024 may be the hottest year in recorded history

    2024 may be the hottest year in recorded history

    "If things follow the normal pattern, 2024 should be a bit hotter than 2023. But 'the normal pattern' may not exist anymore," said Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University.

    Between the lines

    The combination of human-caused global warming from the burning of fossil fuels for energy, along with deforestation, plus other factors like a naturally occurring El Niño, have boosted 2023's record warmth, stunning many in the scientific community.

    Go deeper

    A historically strong El Niño is likely to bring drought, flooding, wildfires and record temperatures in the coming months; see how it all may unfold.

    How the El Niño climate pattern affects the world's weather

    How the El Niño climate pattern affects the world's weather

    El Niño creates the largest natural variability in the planet’s climate on the time scale of a few years. Occurring about once every two to seven years, it involves wind shifts, ocean temperature changes and altered weather patterns, radiating outward from the waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean.

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