Tenth consecutive monthly heat record alarms and confounds climate scientists

If the anomaly does not stabilise by August, ‘the world will be in uncharted territory’, says climate expert.

Global surface temperatures in March were 0.1C higher than the previous record for the month, set in 2016, and 1.68C higher than the pre-industrial average, according to data released on Tuesday by the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

This is the 10th consecutive monthly record in a warming phase that has shattered all previous records. Over the past 12 months, average global temperatures have been 1.58C above pre-industrial levels. This, at least temporarily, exceeds the 1.5C benchmark set as a target in the Paris climate agreement but that landmark deal will not be considered breached unless this trend continues on a decadal scale.

The UK Met Office previously predicted the 1.5C goal could be surpassed over the period of a year and other leading climate monitoring organisations said the current levels of heating remain within the bounds anticipated by computer models.

However the sharp increase in temperatures over the past year has surprised many scientists, and prompted concerns about a possible acceleration of heating. Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, one of the vice-chairs of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), noted the planet has been warming at a pace of 0.3C per decade over the past 15 years, almost double the 0.18C per decade trend since the 1970s. “Is this within the range of climate variability or signal of accelerated warming? My concern is it might be too late if we just wait to see,” she tweeted.

Read the full article by The Guardian here.

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