08 May 2024, 09:08

World sweltered as April smashed global heat records

PARIS, May 8, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - April marked another "remarkable" month of
record-breaking global air and sea surface temperature averages, according to
a new report by the EU's climate monitor published on Wednesday.

The abnormally warm conditions came despite the continued weakening of the El
Nino weather phenomenon that contributes to increased heat, said the EU's
Copernicus Climate Change Service, pointing to human-caused climate change
for exacerbating the extremes.

- Record heat -

Since June last year, every month has been the warmest such period on record,
according to Copernicus.

April 2024 was no exception, clocking in at 1.58 degrees Celsius above the
1850-1900 pre-industrial average.

"While unusual, a similar streak of monthly global temperature records
happened previously in 2015/16," Copernicus said.

The average temperature over the last 12 months was also recorded at 1.6C
above pre-industrial levels, surpassing the 1.5C target set by the 2015 Paris
Agreement to limit global warming.

The anomaly does not mean the Paris target has been missed, which is
calculated over a period of decades.

But it does signal "how remarkable the global temperature conditions we are
currently experience are", Copernicus climatologist Julien Nicolas told AFP.

Last month was the second warmest April ever recorded in Europe, as was March
and the entire winter period.

- Diverging extremes -

Swathes of Asia from India to Vietnam have been struck by scorching heat
waves in recent weeks, while southern Brazil has suffered deadly flooding.

"Each additional degree of global warming is accompanied by extreme weather
events, which are both more intense and more likely," Nicolas said.

Diverging extremes in the form of floods and droughts peppered the planet in

Much of Europe saw a wetter April than usual, although southern Spain, Italy
and the western Balkans were drier than average, Copernicus reported.

Heavy rain resulted in flooding over parts of North America, Central Asia and
the Persian Gulf.

While eastern Australia was hit with heavy rains, the bulk of the country
experienced drier than normal conditions, as did northern Mexico and around
the Caspian Sea.

- Warmer oceans -

The natural El Nino pattern, which warms the Pacific Ocean and leads to a
rise in global temperatures, peaked earlier this year and was headed towards
"neutral condition" in April, Copernicus said.

Still, the average sea surface temperatures broke records in April for the
13th consecutive month.

Warming oceans threaten marine life, contribute to more humidity in the
atmosphere and puts at risk its crucial role in absorbing planet-heating
greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate forecasts suggest the second half of the year could even see a
transition to La Nina, which lowers global temperatures, Nicolas said, "but
conditions are still rather uncertain".

The end of El Nino does not mean an end to high temperatures.

- More records -

"The extra energy trapped into the ocean and the atmosphere by increasing
concentrations of greenhouse gases will keep pushing the global temperature
towards new records," Copernicus director Carlo Buontempo said in a

The UN already in March warned that there was a "high probability" that 2024
would see record temperatures, while 2023 capped off a decade of record heat,
pushing the planet "to the brink".

It was "still a little early" to predict whether new records would continue
to be broken, Nicolas said, given that 2023 was exceptional.

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