March Records Highest Global Temperature Ever Recorded

Tue 9th Apr, 2024

March of this year marked the warmest on record, according to the EU Earth observation service Copernicus. The average surface temperature of the Earth soared to 14.14 degrees Celsius last month, a remarkable increase compared to a typical March from the late 19th century, which would have been 1.68 degrees cooler before the onset of industrialization and human-induced climate change.

This unprecedented high temperature continues a trend that has persisted for ten consecutive months. Copernicus has reported new temperature records for each month since June 2023.

The string of successive records is attributed not only to the ongoing rise in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere but also to the weather phenomenon known as El Niño. El Niño causes significant heating of the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of America at the equator. Although the current El Niño is gradually diminishing, the ocean remains warmer than ever. Copernicus indicates a new record ocean surface temperature of 21.07 degrees Celsius for March, just surpassing February's high of 21.06 degrees Celsius.

This achievement brings a historic milestone within reach. Between 2015 and 2016, global temperature records were broken for 15 consecutive months. Nearly all of these previous high temperatures have now been exceeded, with only the April record from 2016 standing.

Over the past twelve months, temperatures have risen to 1.58 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, well surpassing the 1.5-degree Celsius limit outlined in the Paris Agreement. This threshold was breached for the first time in mid-January. To curb global warming, significant and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions toward net zero are imperative.

Copernicus derives global temperatures from measurements obtained from weather stations, satellites, ships, and aircraft. These measurements enable the calculation of average temperatures since the mid-19th century. However, current temperatures are expected to far exceed those of previous centuries.

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