Scientists say Earth has broken global temperature records for the ninth month in a row

Scientists say Earth has broken global temperature records for the ninth month in a row

People walk through the downtown streets with umbrellas due to rising temperatures, in Lima, Peru, February 5, 2024. Photo by Sebastian Castañeda/Reuters

Washington (AFP) – For the ninth month in a row, the Earth has obliterated global temperature records – with February, the winter as a whole, and the world's oceans recording new warming marks, according to the European Union climate agency Copernicus.

The latest record in this global hot streak fueled by climate change includes sea surface temperatures that were not only the hottest in February, but surpassed any month on record, rising beyond the August 2023 mark and still rising at the end of the month. Copernicus reported on Wednesday that February, as well as the previous two winter months, had risen well beyond the internationally set threshold for long-term temperature rise.

Read more: “We're frankly amazed.” Why did 2023's record temperature surprise scientists?

The last month that did not set a record for hottest month was May 2023, and that was a third of roughly 2020 and 2016. Copernicus records have fallen regularly from June onwards.

The average temperature in February 2024 was 13.54 degrees Celsius (56.37 degrees Fahrenheit), breaking the old record set in 2016 by about an eighth of a degree. February was 1.77 degrees Celsius (3.19 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in the late 19th century, according to Copernicus calculations. Only last December was above pre-industrial levels for the month compared to February.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world set a goal of trying to keep temperature rises at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The Copernicus numbers are monthly and not the same as the Paris Threshold measurement system, which is averaged over two or three decades. But Copernicus data show that the past eight months, from July 2023 onwards, have exceeded 1.5 degrees of warming.

Climate scientists say most of the record heat is caused by human-caused climate change in the form of carbon dioxide and methane emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas. The additional heat comes from the natural phenomenon of El Niño, a warming of the central Pacific Ocean that changes global weather patterns.

“Given the strong El Niño phenomenon since mid-2023, it is not surprising that we will see higher than normal global temperatures, as El Niño pumps heat from the ocean into the atmosphere, causing air temperatures to rise. But the amount by which records have been broken is exciting.” For concern, said Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, who was not part of the calculations.

“We also see a persistent ‘hot spot’ over the Arctic, where rates of warming are much faster than the world as a whole, leading to a cascade of impacts on fisheries, ecosystems, melting ice, and changing ocean current patterns that have driven climate change.” “Long-term and far-reaching effects,” Francis added.

Francesca Guglielmo, a senior climate scientist at Copernicus, said record high ocean temperatures outside the Pacific, where El Niño is concentrated, show this is more than just a natural effect.

Read more: Reduced sea ice and extreme ocean heat in 2023 offer a glimpse of future warming, the study says

The North Atlantic sea surface temperature has been at a record high — relative to the exact date — every day for a year on record since March 5, 2023, “often by seemingly impossible margins,” according to a University of Miami tropical scientist. Brian McNoldy.

These other ocean areas “are a symptom of the trapped heat of greenhouse gases that have built up over decades,” Francis said in an email. “This heat is now emerging and pushing air temperatures into uncharted territory.”

“These abnormally high temperatures are very concerning,” said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald. “To avoid rising temperatures, we must act quickly to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

This was the warmest winter – December, January and February – by nearly a quarter of a degree Celsius, surpassing 2016, which was also an El Niño year. The three-month period was the period during which any season exceeded pre-industrial levels in Copernicus records, which go back to 1940.

Francis said that on a scale of 1 to 10 for how bad the situation is, she gives what is happening now “a 10, but soon we will need a new scale because what is a 10 today will be a five in the future unless society can” stop the buildup of heat-trapping gases.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *