Apia, Samoa (31 January, 2024) - Although 2023 was the warmest year on record globally, it was the 3rd warmest year on record in the Western Pacific region. December 2023 was the warmest December on record, with August, September and October also warmer than their corresponding months in all previous years. 2016 was the hottest year on record for the Western Pacific.
The 5 warmest years on record in the Western Pacific have all occurred over the last 10 years.
The map shows the Western Pacific area and December 2023 surface air temperatures compared to the 30-year long-term average from 1991. The map shows most Pacific Island countries experienced warmer than average temperatures (area in red) with temperatures more than 1.2 °C in the eastern Kiribati region, associated with the 2023-24 El Nino event.
“From my experience at the national level in Fiji, every new decade is warmer than the previous one with the 6 warmest years on record in Fiji having all occurred over the last 10 years. There is a consistent and similar warming trend observed at the regional level. I am currently living in Samoa and find it very hot and humid here as well,” said Terry Atalifo, the Pacific Regional Climate Centre Coordinator.
According to Dr. Nicholas Herold with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology “While the second half of 2023 was extremely warm, the first 5 months of the year were much closer to the 1991 - 2020 average, consistent with La Niña conditions at the beginning of the year.”
Nighttime temperatures during July to December were warmer than any other July to December period on record. While daytime temperatures during August, September, October and December were also warmer than the same months in all previous years.
This data was derived from daily ERA5 values and compared to a 1991-2020 base period. ERA5 is the latest climate reanalysis produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) as part of Copernicus Climate Change Services.
This analysis was performed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology via the Australian and New Zealand funded Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), for the period 1950 onwards, and the region represented covers 25°N - 30°S and 120°E - 120°W.
To learn more about the Pacific RCC, visit www.pacificmet.net/rcc
For more information, contact Patricia Mallam ([email protected])