This year’s September was the hottest ever, according to new data, suggesting 2020 could become the warmest year on record.
The global average for the month was 0.05 ° C (0.09 ° F) warmer than 2019 and 0.08 ° C (0.14 ° F) warmer than 2016 – the two previously warmest September ever recorded – after the latest data from the Copernicus climate of the European Union monitoring service.
It’s the third monthly record broken this year: 2020 has seen the hottest January and May ever, leading scientists to believe it could be the hottest year on record. Devastating forest fires in Australia and the United States this year have been linked to climate change.
“The past five years have been the five warmest ever,” said Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at Copernicus Climate Change Service.
“The world is already warming at least one degree above the pre-industrial era, and this trend will continue unless we curb greenhouse gas emissions,” she added.
In September, temperatures were also unusually high off the coast of northern Siberia, in the Middle East, as well as in South America and Australia.
Warming in Siberia is of particular concern to climate researchers as it causes permafrost – carbon-rich soil that is supposed to stay frozen – to melt and release more carbon into the atmosphere, which further contributes to global warming.
The region experienced record-breaking heat in the spring and even forest fires with temperatures as high as 10 ° C (18 ° F), which was warmer than the May average. According to Copernicus, the exceptional temperatures continued throughout the summer, with the June average temperature for all of Arctic Siberia being more than 5 ° C (9 ° F) above the 1981-2010 average.
This warmth has also resulted in the Arctic sea ice level being observed at its second lowest level ever, which contributed to a global rise in sea levels.
“This is not a new normal,” Vamborg warned, “but a constant reminder that this is the path we are on and one that we can change if we do something about greenhouse gas emissions.”