Tuesday 9 April 2024

March 2024 was the hottest March since records began.

March 2024 was the hottest March since records began, according to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service,  making it the tenth consecutive month to be the hottest recorded instance of that month; i.e. every month since June 2023 has been the hottest example of that calendar month. In addition, July 2023 was the hottest calandar month ever recorded, while 2023 was the hottest year since records began.

The average global surface air temperature for March 2024 was 14.14°C, which is 0.10°C higher than the previous hottest March recorded (in 2016) and 0.73°C above the March monthly average for the period 1990-2020, as well as 1.68°C warmer than the March average for the period 1850-1900.  The global average surface air temperature for the period April 2023-March 2024 was also the highest ever recorded for that period, 0.70°C above the average for 1990-2020 and 1.58°C above the average for the period 1850-1900.

Surface air temperature anomoly for March 2024. European Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The average sea surface temperature between 60° north and 60° south for March 2024 was 21.07°C, the hottest for any calendar month ever recorded, exceeding the previous record holder, February 2024, by 0.01°C, and only 0.02°C below the highest daily sea surface temperature ever recorded, on 26 February 2024. 

Sea surface temperature percentiles for March 2024. European Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The high temperatures experienced in the past year have been linked to a combination of anthropogenic global warming, driven by emmissions of carbon dioxide and methane, with an El Niño - Southern Oscillation climate system over the Pacific Ocean, a natural phenomenon which also tends to drive temperatures upwards. However, the El Niño system appears to have been weakening over the past months, with sea surface temperatures over the eastern equatorial Pacific actually being lower than the average for 1990-2020, while global temperatures have continued to rise, suggesting that the El Niño system may be playing as large a role in driving this year's high temperatures as previously assumed.

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