WMO: World's average temperature in 2023 highest in record

The United Nations weather agency says the global average temperature in 2023 was the highest in recorded history.

The World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, on Tuesday released a report on the state of the global climate in 2023.

The report says the global average near-surface temperature in 2023 was at about 1.45 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline. It says it was the warmest year in 174 years of the observational record.

The WMO also warns that over 90 percent of the ocean experienced "marine heatwave" conditions in 2023. It says the high temperatures have a profound negative impact on marine ecosystems and coral reefs.

The report says both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice shrank last year. In February, Antarctic sea-ice extent reached a record low since satellite observation began.

Countries have set a goal under the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in the global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The report says extreme weather such as floods and extreme heat had a major impact on many parts of the world, and points out shortages in financing for attaining the goal.

WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said, "Never have we been so close -- albeit on a temporary basis at the moment" to the 1.5-degree limit. She added, "The climate crisis is the defining challenge that humanity faces."