Tenth consecutive monthly global heat record shocks climate scientists

Tenth consecutive monthly global heat record shocks climate scientists

Tenth consecutive monthly global heat record shocks climate scientists

An excavator drives past a dried-up pond in Vietnam’s southern Ben Tre province on March 19, 2024. 

Nhac Nguyen | Afp | Getty Images

Scientists on Tuesday confirmed that last month was the hottest March on record, extending an extraordinary run of global heat that has renewed calls for an urgent reduction in planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said March was the 10th month in a row when temperatures have been hotter than ever for the respective time of year. The record-breaking run stretches back to June last year.

The EU’s climate monitor said March was 1.68 degrees Celsius (3.02 Fahrenheit) hotter than an average March between the pre-industrial reference period of 1850 to 1900. March was 0.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous high logged in March 2016.

“March 2024 continues the sequence of climate records toppling for both air temperature and ocean surface temperatures, with the 10th consecutive record-breaking month,” Samantha Burgess, deputy director of C3S, said in a statement.

“The global average temperature is the highest on record, with the past 12 months being 1.58°C above pre-industrial levels. Stopping further warming requires rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” she added.

Extreme heat is made much more likely by the climate crisis, the chief driver of which is the burning of fossil fuels.

Chloe Brimicombe, a climate researcher at Austria’s University of Graz, told CNBC that yet another month of record-breaking global heat was due to human-caused climate change.

“We’ve seen extreme heatwaves and storms and flooding in the Southern Hemisphere again this year. Our global cocoa prices have been impacted. We’ve also seen below average snowfall in Central Europe [and] we are on track for over half of our alpine glaciers in Europe to disappear by the end of the Century,” Brimicombe said via email.

“It could be one very long hot summer and not in a good way.”

‘Increasingly concerned’

Jonathan Bamber, director of the Bristol Glaciology Centre at the U.K.’s University of Bristol, noted that the temperature records broken so far this year follow the hottest year on record.

“One year could possibly, may be an extreme outlier but the data we are witnessing already in 2024 are pretty disturbing,” Bamber told CNBC via email.

“They hint at feedbacks in the climate system that are stronger than the models predict and are making me and many of my colleagues increasingly concerned about the pace and rate of climate breakdown.”

A rickshaw puller is splashing water on his face to get relief during a heatwave in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 6, 2024.

Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

C3S’ latest monthly climate bulletin comes shortly after the United Nation’s weather agency sounded a “red alert” to the world after it said a series of climate records last year gave new meaning to the phrase “off the charts.”

In its annual “State of the Global Climate” report, researchers at the World Meteorological Organization confirmed 2023 as the hottest year on record and said the period between 2014 and 2023 also reflected the hottest 10-year period on record.

The global average temperature in 2023 stood at 1.45 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, WMO researchers said, marginally below the key warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The 1.5 degrees Celsius level is widely recognized as an indicator of when climate impacts become increasingly harmful to people and the planet, as outlined in the landmark Paris Agreement.

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