The current year is on course to be the warmest since records began. That was announced Thursday by the EU’s Copernicus climate change service.
The report said the hot September, following a summer of record temperatures, tipped the scales. It noted that average temperatures in 2023 have been 1.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
That’s only 0.1 degrees below the 1.5 degrees of the Paris climate agreement issued as a climate target, which should not be exceeded in the long term until the end of the century. In September, however, the temperature was already 1.75 degrees higher than in the pre-industrial reference period from 1850 to 1900.
The statement continued that this year’s September was not only the warmest ever recorded globally. Temperatures also averaged 0.93 degrees above the reference period from 1991 to 2022, the most muscular swing recorded for a month. “With two months to go before the (UN World Climate Conference) COP 28, the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more important,” Copernicus Vice President Samantha Burgess said, according to the release.
There was also a negative record for Antarctic sea ice extent in September. It remained at an all-time low of nine percent below the average for the 1991-2020 reference period. In the Arctic, sea ice extent was the fifth lowest in September.
More and less precipitation
In terms of precipitation, the picture was mixed in September. While much of Western Europe received more rain than usual, and there was even flooding in Greece and Libya due to Storm Daniel, other parts of Europe, the U.S., Mexico, Central Asia and Australia recorded the driest September.
The European Union’s Copernicus climate change service regularly publishes data on Earth’s surface temperature, sea ice cover and precipitation data. The findings are based on computer-generated analyses incorporating billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations worldwide.