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Hottest September on record by 0.5 degrees raises future concern


HQ Team

October 5, 2023: This year has seen some record-breaking heat temperatures in the summer months, but the September numbers have raised concerns about the heat levels in the coming years.

Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather posted on the social networking site X; “The first global temperature data is in for the full month of September. This month was, in my professional opinion as a climate scientist – absolutely gobsmackingly bananas. JRA-55 beat the prior monthly record by over 0.5C, and was around 1.8C warmer than preindustrial levels.”

The month’s mercury measurements, which are recorded by the Japan Meteorological Agency and Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, were befitting that of hot summer months rather than an approaching autumn.

The World Meteorological Organization, WMO, stated that “this continues an extended streak of extraordinary land and sea-surface temperatures and is an ominous signal about the speed with which greenhouse gases (GHG) are changing the climate.”

“The temperature anomalies are enormous – far bigger than anything we have ever seen in the past. Antarctic winter sea ice extent was the lowest on record for the time of year,” said Petteri Taalas, the agency’s Secretary-General.

Summer High

The summer months of June and July broke all previous records. A report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service showed that June 2023 has been just over 0.5°C above the 1991-2020 average, smashing the previous record of June 2019. July was the hottest month in 120,000 years, with the hottest week and day ever recorded. According to preliminary analysis based on the reanalysis data from Japan named JRA-3Q, the average global temperature on 7 July was 17.24 degrees Celsius.

This was 0.3°C above the previous record of 16.94 °C on 16 August 2016 — a strong El Niño year.

“What is especially worrying is that the warming El Niño event is still developing, and so we can expect these record-breaking temperatures to continue for months, with cascading impacts on our environment and society,” WMO’s Taalas said.added.

Even though scientists have been warning about the rising temperatures, the September record still came as a shock to some researchers. “I’m still struggling to comprehend how a single year can jump so much compared to previous years,” Mika Rantanen, a climate researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, posted on X. 

EL Nino

The World Meteorological Organization stated that there was a 90% probability of the EL Nino event continuing during the second half of this year.

“The onset of El Niño will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The  WMO report released in May predicted that there is a 98% likelihood that at least one or the next five-year period as a whole, will be warmest on record, beating the record set in 2016 when there was an exceptionally strong El Niño.

Samantha Burgess, Deputy DIrector of Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) , stressed that September 2023 is one for the record books.

“This extreme month has pushed 2023 into the dubious honour of first place – on track to be the warmest year and around 1.4°C above pre-industrial average temperatures,” she said.

With the COP28 UN climate change conference taking place in Dubai next month, “the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical,” she added.

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