Media briefing: Off the charts. A year of broken climate records – how worried should we be?



Professor Emily Shuckburgh (chair), Director of Cambridge Zero, University of Cambridge;

Dr Fredi Otto, co-lead of World Weather Attribution and Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London;

Professor Daniel Bebber, Associate Professor in Biosciences at the University of Exeter;

Dr Maximilian Kotz, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Dr Marina Romanello, Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown and Senior Research Fellow at University College London.


A year ago in June 2023, global temperatures started deviating from previous records resulting in it being the hottest year on record with temperatures just shy of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Every single month since then has set new heat records, and every day over the last year has seen higher sea surface temperatures than any corresponding day in previous years. El Niño has conspired with climate change, but the records seen in recent months and over the last year are still way beyond previous El Niño years.

Although temperature records are being regularly broken, this trend is getting little attention from leaders. With an extreme wet winter in the UK damaging harvests and food security and the approaching European summer likely bringing further extreme weather challenges for farmers and public alike, what reaction should we be seeing from leaders in the face of the real-world evidence and impacts?

Specifically, the briefing will consider:

  • How worried should we be by heat records being broken by wide margins on a regular basis and what are the consequences?
  • Is there is a growing gap between temperatures and impacts, and the acknowledgement and response to them from leaders?
  • What real world impacts on people and livelihoods are we seeing and how could this evolve over the summer months?
  • What specifically do escalating climate impacts mean for agriculture around the world, food supplies and food security as well as people’s health?

If you are a journalist who would like to attend the briefing please contact George Smeeton:, t: +44 (0)7908 517 186