World experienced hottest April on record, climate monitor says

Sweltering Earth endures 11-month warming streak as global air and sea surface temperatures soar.

The world experienced its hottest April on record, continuing an 11-month streak of unprecedented high temperatures, the European Union’s climate change monitoring service has said.

Each month since June 2023 has ranked as the planet’s hottest on record, compared with the corresponding month in previous years, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said on Wednesday.

The exceptionally warm conditions occurred despite a weakened El Nino – the weather phenomenon that warms the Pacific Ocean and leads to a rise in global temperatures – leading the researchers to blame human-induced climate change.

April was 1.58 degrees Celsius (2.84 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than an estimate for the same month in the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period, C3S said.

While there are temperature variations associated with natural cycles such as El Nino, “the extra energy trapped into the ocean and the atmosphere by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases will keep pushing the global temperature towards new records”, said C3S director Carlo Buontempo.

Average temperatures over the last 12 months surpassed the crucial 1.5C (2.7F) warming threshold set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which is calculated over decades, meaning it remains within reach.

In 2015, almost 200 governments signed an agreement to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy in the second half of the century. Last year, the United Nations said the world is not on track to meet the long-term goals of that deal, including capping global warming at 1.5C.

Weather extremes across the globe

Eastern Europe and most of Africa particularly heated up in April, C3S said, backing reports of record heatwaves that forced schools to shutter in South Sudan and saw countries like Slovakia record their highest daytime temperatures above 30C (86F) in spring.

Across the world, April marked a month of diverging extremes in the form of floods and droughts.

Parts of South and Southeast Asia, from Bangladesh to Vietnam, were struck by scorching heatwaves, while southern Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, and the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania have suffered deadly flooding.

Pakistan recorded double the normal monthly rainfall in April, making it the country’s wettest month in more than 60 years.

Much of Europe witnessed a wetter-than-usual April but southern Spain, Italy, and the Western Balkans were drier than average, C3S reported.

Meanwhile, eastern Australia was hit with heavy rains, although most of the country saw drier than normal conditions, as did northern Mexico.

Average sea surface temperatures were also unusually high, breaking records in April for the 13th consecutive month, despite the weakening El Nino, the agency said.

Warmer oceans threaten marine life, and contribute to a hotter atmosphere, making water bodies less effective in absorbing planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies