Ten Extreme Climate Events of 2023

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Ten Extreme Climate Events of 2023

The year 2023 has marked a significant milestone in our ongoing fight against climate change. Scientists have declared that 2023 was the hottest year on record, with scorching temperatures driven by climate change and further amplified by El Niño, a naturally occurring climate phenomenon that takes place every two to seven years.

The year 2023 has also broken many heat records.

EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service analysis shows that 2023 is warmer than pre-industrial levels by more than 1.4 °C and is dangerously close to the warming limit of 1.5°C set by the Paris Agreement. Scientists and researchers believe that going beyond the 1.5°C benchmark heightens the risk of warming-related catastrophes, according to researchers (Ramirez, 2023).

CNN reports that every month in 2023, from June to December, was the hottest month on record, and two days in November, for the first time, were more than two degrees warmer. Liz Bentley, chief executive of the UK’s Royal Meteorological Society, commented on how temperatures are rising exponentially and have outpaced climate projections.

“If you look at climate projections, when we expect to see temperature changes of close to 1.5 degrees Celsius, indeed, it has come sooner than many would have expected”, she told CNN.

But scientists are more concerned about the long-term warming of 1.5°C and above rather than individual years that they believe will place humanity at the brink of survivability, the article notes.

As scorching temperatures in 2023 swept across most of North America, Asia, and Europe, the World Weather Attribution report says that the heatwaves in South and Southeast Asia were 30 times more likely due to climate change. 

Eco-Business looks back at 2023 and lists the year’s ten extreme weather events.

1. Record-breaking heat across Asia

Many parts of Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Laos saw record-high temperatures in April. Temperatures were as high as 45.4°C in Tak, Thailand. Vietnam recorded its highest temperature ever at 44.1°C in Thanh Hoa province, south of Hanoi, on 6 May. China’s summer saw scorching temperatures. Sanbao, a remote township in Xinjiang’s Turpan Depression, reached a national record high of 52.2°C at one point. China’s capital, Beijing, suffered through 27 consecutive days of temperatures above 35°C, leading to a temporary ban on outdoor work.

2. Libya’s destructive floods

Libya’s destructive floods. Storm Daniel, which landed on 10 September, brought massive rain that resulted in catastrophic floods that broke dams near the eastern city of Derna and wiped out entire neighbourhoods in the African country. Floods have killed more than 4,300 people and damaged critical infrastructure.

3. Heavy snow in Los Angeles

The state, synonymous with sunshine, was swamped with snow in February, cutting power to more than 120,000 utility customers.

4. A strong cyclone in Southeast Africa

Cyclone Freddy lingered for a month in the Southeast African countries of Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It killed over 1000 people and displaced over 500,000 residents. The storm is also a factor in Malawi’s worst cholera outbreak.

5. A severe sandstorm in Beijing, China

The sandstorm engulfed the capital with particles with a density of PM10, so tiny that they could travel to the lungs. The particles reached a peak concentration of 1,667 micrograms per cubic metre, which far exceeds the daily average guideline of 45 micrograms per cubic metre set by the World Health Organization. People were urged to stay indoors, and the city’s parks operations were suspended.

6. Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar

Cyclone Mocha, which hit Myanmar in May, has had its strongest winds at 250 km per hour in the last ten years. The storm killed 145 people and severely damaged critical infrastructure.  

7. Spring heatwaves in Australia

Spring heatwaves in Australia in September are very unusual for the month. Temperatures reached 34.2 °C, a staggering 12 degrees higher than the September average.

8. Category five Typhoon Mawar

Category five Typhoon Mawar battered the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and Guam. The typhoon has wind speeds of up to 289 km per hour (180 miles per hour) and is the strongest storm in 2023.

9. Extreme heat in Europe and the US

Extreme heat in Europe and the US in July. The heat also brought raging wildfires in the Italian Island of Sardinia, where temperatures reached 47°C, and in the Greek island of Rhodes. The article notes that ocean temperatures around Greece, Spain, Turkey, and Italy also rose to unsafe levels.

10. Record heat in Chile

Record heat in Chile caused deadly wildfires. Chile’s temperatures soared above 40°C in February, triggering wildfires that claimed 24 people and scorched 270,000 hectares of land.

The extreme weather events in 2023 demonstrate the urgent need to address climate change through adaptation and mitigation.

Everyone has a role, from governments to companies and organisations to individuals. Sustainable practices, reducing GHG emissions, and climate adaptation strategies can significantly reduce the impacts, damages, and losses caused by climate change.


Ramirez, R. (2023, December 6). 2023 will officially be the hottest year on record, scientists report. CNN. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2023/12/06/climate/2023-hottest-year-climate/index.html

Dewan, A., Shveda, K., & Robinson, L. (2024, January 9). World is dangerously close to a global warming limit as 2023 goes down as hottest on record. CNN. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2024/01/09/climate/temperature-rise-2023-climate-copernicus-intl/index.html

Aiman, R. (2023 December 27). ‘The hottest year’: 10 extreme weather events in 2023. Eco-Business. Retrieved from https://www.eco-business.com/news/the-hottest-year-10-extreme-weather-events-in-2023/

Ho, S. (2023, May 17). Asia’s heatwave made 30 times more likely by climate change: study. Eco-Business. Retrieved from https://www.eco-business.com/news/asias-heatwave-made-30-times-more-likely-by-climate-change-study/

Extreme humid heat in South Asia in April 2023, largely driven by climate change, detrimental to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. (2023, May 17). World Weather Attribution. Retrieved from https://www.worldweatherattribution.org/extreme-humid-heat-in-south-asia-in-april-2023-largely-driven-by-climate-change-detrimental-to-vulnerable-and-disadvantaged-communities/

Stanway, D. (2023, June 1). Asia climate woes mount as heat shatters May records. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/asia-climate-woes-mount-heat-shatters-may-records-2023-06-01.

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