In what seems like an endless summer of scorching heat, September has taken the lead in reaching new and alarming temperatures. The European climate agency recently reported that Earth has set a new record for how far above normal temperatures were last month.
September’s average temperature was 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1991-2020 average for the same month. This marks the highest deviation from the average in the 83-year record-keeping history of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Carlo Buontempo, Director of Copernicus, expressed his astonishment, stating, “It’s just mind-blowing really. Never seen anything like that in any month in our records.”
While July and August typically have higher temperatures due to being warmer months, September experienced the biggest anomaly or departure from normal temperatures. Scientists consider temperature anomalies as crucial data in understanding climate change.
“This is not a fancy weather statistic,” warned Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London. “It’s a death sentence for people and ecosystems. It destroys assets, infrastructure, harvest.”
According to Copernicus, the average temperature for September was 61.48 degrees Fahrenheit, surpassing the previous record set in September 2020 by a notable 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Such a significant margin in climate records raises serious concerns.
Hot temperatures were observed globally, primarily driven by persistent and unusual warmth in the world’s oceans. Unlike the usual cooling-off period in September, the oceans remained exceptionally warm after a scorching spring, explained Buontempo.
Looking ahead, Earth is on track to experience its hottest year on record, with temperatures about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than pre-industrial times. Samantha Burgess, Copernicus’ deputy director, emphasized this alarming trend.
This record-breaking warmth serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for collective action to address the climate crisis.
Rising Temperatures: A Disturbing Trend
In a recent report by Copernicus, it was revealed that this past September was 3.15 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the mid-1800s. This alarming increase in temperature comes despite the global agreement made in 2015 to limit future warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times.
While the global threshold goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius is intended for long-term temperature averages rather than single months or years, scientists have expressed grave concern over the rising records. The combination of rapid global warming, which surpasses anything the Earth has witnessed in centuries, and the temporary warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean known as El Nino, has led to an unprecedented situation.
Climate scientist Jessica Moerman, who is also the president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, explains, “This double whammy together is where things get dangerous.” Although El Nino does play a role in these increased temperatures, experts stress that climate change itself is the primary driver behind this warming trend.
The issue is further exacerbated by the continued opening of new oil and gas reserves for exploitation. As Professor Otto points out, “There really is no end in sight.” With more record-breaking hot events on the horizon, both humans and nature are left with little time to recover.
Looking ahead, experts predict that El Nino will continue to intensify, leading to even higher temperatures next year. Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather went so far as to describe this month’s temperature rise as “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas.”
It is evident that urgent action is needed to combat this alarming escalation in global temperatures. Failure to address this issue will have dire consequences for both our environment and our future.