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New climate warnings as hottest March adds to 10-month run of record-breaking temperatures

(image credits-Unsplash)

Last month was the hottest March on record, according to climate scientists – the tenth month in a row to set new temperature highs.

According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (CS3), this March was hotter than any previous record for the month, with global temperatures 1.68 degrees C above pre-industrial, 19th-century levels, when scientists believe man-made pollution began to affect the Earth’s climate.

The March figures mean that the global average temperature for the last 12 months is also the highest on record, at 1.58 degrees above the pre-industrial average. That is above the threshold of a 1.5C degree-rise that world leaders have agreed, to prevent climate change becoming catastrophic and potentially irreversible.

Data source: ERA5. Credit: C3S/ECMWF.

According to the Copernicus scientists, sea surface temperatures outside the polar regions were at record highs in March, averaging 21.07 degrees. The rate of warming also appears to be increasing: in Europe, March was the continent’s second warmest on record – 2.12 degrees warmer than the average between 1990 and 2020.

Beyond Europe, temperatures were most above average in the eastern half of North America, in Greenland, eastern Russia, Central America, and in parts of South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica.

Environmentalists have warned that climate change is having a global impact, leading to rising sea levels and disrupted weather patterns, in which droughts, floods, heatwaves and other threats become more common.

Data source: ERA5. Credit: C3S/ECMWF.

Samantha Burgess, the deputy director of the Copernicus unit, warned that the new record temperatures should be seen as a warning that measures to avert climate change should be increased.

“March 24 continues the sequence of climate records toppling for both air temperatures and ocean surface temperatures, with the 10th consecutive record-breaking month,’ she said.

“Stopping further warming requires rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.’

Wildfires are some of the most serious climate anomalies in regions like Canada and Southern Europe (photo-Unsplash)

Scientists have been alarmed by the increasing temperatures, as they are occuring just as the El Nino phenomenon in the southern Pacific – which temporarily raises water temperatures, and is linked to drought and other disrupted weather patterns – is beginning to weaken.

In the science journal, Nature, another warning was sounded by Dr Gavin Schmidt, the director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “It’s humbling, and a bit worrying , to admit that no year has confounded climate scientist’s predictive capabilities more than 2023 has,” Dr Schmidt said.