September was hottest on record as wildfires burn and sea ice melts
Yet another global temperature record tumbled last month, when the world experienced its hottest September.
Globally, surface air temperatures 0.05C warmer than the same month in 2019, making it the warmest on record, scientists said.
It was also the hottest September Europe has seen, beating the previous record for the continent, set in 2018, by around 0.2C, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
Temperatures in the Siberian Arctic continued to be warmer than average, amid a hot spell that has affected parts of the region since early spring and caused concern among climate scientists. Unseasonal warmth were also noted across various other global regions, including parts of South America, the Middle East and Australia, the scientists said.
It comes amid alarm about record-breaking wildfires in the western USA – where dozens have been killed and thousands of homes destroyed – and melting sea ice.
In August, scientists believe the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth may have been reached in California, when the mercury tipped 54.4C.
Monitoring by C3S also confirms that the average Arctic sea ice extent for September – the month when it is at its lowest after the summer melt before refreezing in winter – was the second lowest recorded for the month, after 2012.
The C3S, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), monitors the global and European climate, producing analysis using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.
Carlo Buontempo, director of Copernicus Climate Change Service at ECMWF, said: ‘In 2020, there was an unusually rapid decline in Arctic sea ice extent during June and July, in the same region where above average temperatures were recorded, preconditioning the sea ice minimum to be particularly low this year.
‘The combination of record temperatures and low Arctic sea ice in 2020 highlight the importance of improved and more comprehensive monitoring in a region warming faster than anywhere else in the world.’
2019 was the second hottest year on record globally – and the warmest in Europe.
In the UK, scientists said last year that ten of the UK’s warmest years have all come since 2002.
There is growing alarm among scientists at the rate of global warming, with the world not on track to meet its target of stopping warming going 2C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the landmark Paris Agreement.
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