Scientists have confirmed that 2023 was the hottest year on record so far.

It comes as the average temperature was 14.98C, beating the previous hottest year set in 2016 by 0.17C, according to the EU’s climate change service Copernicus.

However, the Met Office is warning that the record could be short-lived with their forecasts for 2024 suggesting that it could be even hotter and may rise more than 1.5C above the period between 1850-1900.

This average is used as a proxy for the pre-industrial climate as it is as far back as meteorological records go.

2024 could be even hotter than 2023, scientists warn 

2023 also came close to breaching the boundary of 1.48C above while smashing a series of climate records in the process.

The Leader: Global temperature: difference from 1850-1900 average. Global temperature: difference from 1850-1900 average. (Image: PA)

The global community committed in the Paris Agreement to try and limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels as it gives the best chance of stabilising the climate and reducing the damage to people and wildlife.

This measurement is taken as a decadal average so one year going beyond this does not mean the treaty has failed.

July 2023 was recorded as the hottest month in the last 120,000 while Antarctic sea ice has been at an historic low.

Every month from  June through to December was hotter than any other corresponding month in the previous year.

Plus, continents except Australia and many ocean areas saw record-breaking annual air temperatures for the year.

El Nino, a cyclical natural phenomenon in the tropical eastern Pacific which brings heat to the surface, added an extra warming effect to the atmosphere and oceans to from greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to rise.

Now, scientists are e urging the global community to radically cut emissions and prevent further warming as each fraction of a degree destabilises the Earth’s climate.

Although changes of 1.5C in our day-to-day experience of air temperature is negligible, on a global average it has a very different meaning and the smallest changes can have large ramifications.

Some climate analysts have likened it to changes in body temperature whereby a difference of 1C can separate a healthy person from one with a fever.

Dr Nick Dunstone, a Met Office climate scientist, said: “The extraordinary global heat through 2023 made it possible to signal it would be the hottest year on record well before the year had finished. This level of warming is in line with climate projections.

“We expect the strong El Nino in the Pacific to impact the global temperature through 2024. For this reason we are forecasting 2024 to be another record breaking year, with the possibility of temporarily exceeding 1.5C for the first time.”