March Marks Yet Another Record In Global Heat

Brussels (Reuters) Tuesday's announcement by the European Union's climate change monitoring service marked the world's warmest March ever and a 10-month stretch of record-setting temperatures.

Compared to previous years, each of the last 10 months was the world's warmest on record, the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said monthly.

C3S said that the year ending March was the warmest ever. Global average temperature was 1.58 degrees Celsius over 1850-1900 pre-industrial levels from April 2023 to March 2024.

The scientists used C3S' 1940 dataset and other data to determine that March was the hottest since pre-industrial times. World records show 2023 was the warmest year since 1850.

This year's extreme weather and heat have caused devastation. From January to March, climate change-driven drought in the Amazon jungle caused a record number of wildfires in Venezuela, while drought in Southern Africa destroyed harvests and left millions hungry.

Last month, marine scientists warned that warmer temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere could cause the worst coral bleaching disaster in history.

C3S blamed human-caused greenhouse gas emissions for the extreme heat. Other causes raising temperatures include El Nino, which warms eastern Pacific Ocean surface waters.

El Nino peaked in December-January and is fading, which may help halt the year's hot trend. C3S reported that the world's average sea surface temperature reached a record high in March despite El Nino lessening, while marine air temperatures remained extremely high.

"The main driver of the warming is fossil fuel emissions," said Imperial College London's Grantham Institute climate scientist Friederike Otto.

Drone attacks in Russia and Middle East turmoil have raised oil prices. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, reached $90 a barrel, their highest level since Hamas's October attack on Israel.

Otto added that failing to curb these emissions will continue to overheat the world, causing more droughts, fires, heat waves, and excessive rainfall.