In a startling revelation, January 2024 has officially become the hottest January on record, with global temperatures surging 1.66°C above the pre-industrial average. This marks the eighth consecutive month of record-breaking temperatures, according to a report by Europe’s Earth observation agency Copernicus.
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Alarming 12-Month Trends
The concerning trend extends over the past 12 months, which have witnessed the highest global temperatures ever recorded, soaring 1.52°C above the average between 1850 and 1900. The urgency to curb greenhouse gas emissions is emphasized by Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Hotspots Across the Globe
Thermometer readings reveal significant deviations in southern Europe, eastern Canada, northwestern Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, all registering well above the average of the past three decades. These regions face the immediate threat of extreme weather events and climatic disruptions.
Europe’s Divergent Climate Experience
While southern Europe, eastern Canada, northwestern Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia grapple with rising temperatures, Europe experiences a paradox. January 2024 brought unprecedented cold and snowstorms, disrupting transportation and closing schools in Scandinavia. Simultaneously, western Europe faced flooding and at least one fatality due to strong winds and heavy rain.
Spain: Record Warmth Amidst the Chill
Spain, in particular, witnessed its warmest January since records began in 1961. Mainland Spain recorded an average temperature of 8.4 Celsius, surpassing the average by 2.4 degrees and setting a new record, 0.4 degrees r than the previous benchmark in 2016.
Ominous Outlook for 2024
Following the record-breaking year of 2023, experts predict that 2024 will surpass its predecessor in terms of extreme temperatures. The looming threat is attributed to escalating greenhouse gas emissions and the influence of El Niño, a cyclical phenomenon known for altering ocean circulation and weather patterns.
El Niño’s Impact and Lingering Concerns
While El Niño weakens in the equatorial Pacific, global sea surface temperatures hit an all-time high in January. Daily sea temperatures continue to rise in early February, surpassing previous records reported in August. This persistent warming raises significant concerns about the ongoing impact on climate and weather patterns.