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World News April 9, 2024

March marks 10th straight month of record global heat

In March 2024, Europe’s climate monitor reported that it was the hottest March on record, marking the 10th consecutive month of historic heat. Sea surface temperatures also reached a “shocking” new high. This adds to a year already marked by climate extremes and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, prompting urgent calls for more rapid action to mitigate global warming.

Since June 2023, each month has surpassed previous records for heat, with March 2024 being no exception. Globally, March was 1.68 degrees Celsius hotter than the average March between 1850-1900, the pre-industrial era reference period. Large areas of the planet experienced above-average temperatures, including parts of Africa, Greenland, South America, and Antarctica. This March also concluded the hottest 12-month period on record, exceeding pre-industrial averages by 1.58 degrees Celsius.

Despite these alarming trends, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the 1.5-degree Celsius warming limit agreed upon in the Paris Agreement has been breached, as this threshold is measured over decades, not individual years. However, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the world is likely to surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius warming in the early 2030s.

The oceans, which cover 70% of the planet, play a crucial role in regulating surface temperatures. They have absorbed 90% of the excess heat generated by carbon pollution since the industrial age began. Warmer oceans lead to more moisture in the atmosphere, contributing to erratic weather patterns such as intense winds and heavy rainfall.

The weakening of the El Niño climate pattern, which typically leads to warmer global temperatures, was observed in March. While Copernicus records date back to 1940, other sources of climate data like ice cores and tree rings provide evidence of past climate conditions.

Scientists are debating whether the extreme heat observed over the past year aligns with previous forecasts or represents uncharted territory. Despite these debates, human-caused greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Levels of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide increased in 2023, highlighting the urgent need for significant reductions to achieve the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

Source – CGTN

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