Apr 9, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Earth has its warmest March on record, beating 2023's milestone

Global surface air temperature anomalies
Data: ERA5, Copernicus Climate Change Service; Chart: Axios Visuals

March marked the globe's 10th month in a row that set its warmest respective month on record.

Driving the news: This morning Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service announced the milestone, making a recent preliminary finding official.

Why it matters: Copernicus is among the most closely-watched and respected sources of temperature data, and reports before the U.S.' climate agencies, NOAA and NASA.

State of play: Last month was 0.73°C (1.3°F) above the 1991-2020 average for March, and 1.68°C (3.0°F) above estimated preindustrial levels, which are calculated for the period from 1850-1900, Copernicus found.

Between the lines: Two other key records were also set during March: the hottest 12-month period, and the milestone for the hottest global average sea surface temperatures, Copernicus showed.

  • Many regions of the globe were unusually warm during March, including large parts of Europe, eastern North America, Greenland, parts of South America, Africa, southern Australia and Antarctica.
  • April has started out with record heat in multiple locations worldwide, particularly across Europe, southeast Asia and parts of Africa.
  • In Europe, many locations have already seen temperatures soaring well into the 80s°F, exceeding records for the earliest such heat.

What they're saying: "Stopping further warming requires rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Service Samantha Burgess said in a statement.

What's next: As an intense El Niño event continues to weaken in the tropical Pacific, global air and ocean temperatures may begin to decline relative to other top 5 record years.

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