Record temperatures reveal long-term heating

| 15th October 2019
The answer to Earth's energy needs is floating in the skies above. Photo: Conceptual Image Lab, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Earth photo courtesy of NASA/ISS Expedition 13 crew.
The answer to Earth's energy needs is floating in the skies above. Photo: Conceptual Image Lab, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Earth photo courtesy of NASA/ISS Expedition 13 crew.
September 2019 was the fourth month in a row to come close to or break temperature records.


The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Union, has announced record temperatures for September on a global level, making it the fourth month in a row to be close to or breaking a temperature record.

The last four months have been exceptionally warm on a global level. June 2019 was the warmest June on record, July the warmest month ever recorded in this data set, and August 2019 settling for the second warmest August.

September 2019 was on-par with record temperatures. All this is a reminder of the long-term trend in global heating.

Alarming reminder

Compared to the latest standard thirty-year climatological reference period, 1981-2010, September was about 0.57°C degrees above average. This is close to 1.2°C above the pre-industrial level as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and about as warm as September 2016 (0.02°C warmer), the previous warmest September in this data record.

The difference of the average temperatures for September 2019 and September 2016 is very small, according to the C3S data, only 0.02°C. Both months will share the top spot together, due to a smaller than the typical difference between the values provided by the global temperature datasets of various institutions. 

Regions with most markedly above average temperatures include central and eastern USA, the Mongolian plateau and parts of the Arctic. In Europe, temperatures were above average over most of the continent, especially in the south and south-east.

Below-average temperatures in Europe occurred over much of Norway and Sweden, and over the far east of the continent. Globally, much below average temperatures were only recorded in a few regions, including southwestern Russia and parts of Antarctica.

Jean-Noël Thépaut, Director of Copernicus ECMWF, said: “The recent series of record-breaking temperatures is an alarming reminder of the long-term warming trend that can be observed on a global level. With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future.”

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), a flagship Earth observation programme that routinely publishes monthly climate bulletins reporting on the changes observed in global surface air temperature, sea ice and hydrological variables. 

More information about climate variables in September and climate updates of previous months as well as high-resolution graphics can be downloaded here

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