Record temperatures in April: infographics that show the scale of the problem

Since June last year, every month has broken its own monthly heat record.

April 2024 is no exception to the rule with an average temperature of 15.03°C, or 1.58°C higher than a normal April in the climate of the pre-industrial era (1850-1900 ).

World map showing temperature anomalies recorded in April 2024, compared to the average April temperatures between 1981 and 2010, according to the Copernicus Observatory. – AFP.
World map showing temperature anomalies recorded in April 2024, compared to average April temperatures between 1981 and 2010, according to the European Copernicus Observatory. – AFP.

“Although unusual, such a series of monthly records had already been observed in 2015/2016,” specifies Copernicus.

Over the last 12 months, the global temperature has been on average 1.61°C higher than in the pre-industrial era, exceeding the limit of 1.5°C set by the 2015 agreement. This anomaly should, however, be noted on average over several decades to consider that the climate has reached this critical threshold.

Read also
Climate affair: a historic condemnation that goes beyond

Nevertheless, these figures show “how remarkable the global temperature conditions we are currently experiencing are”, underlines Julien Nicolas, climatologist at the Copernicus Climate Change Department (C3S), during an interview with the AFP.

Last month was the second warmest April ever recorded in , as were March and the entire winter period.

Contrasts on bad

“Each additional degree of climate warming is accompanied by extreme climatic events, both more intense and more probable,” recalls Julien Nicolas, while the last few weeks have been marked by extreme heat waves in Asia, from India to Vietnam, while southern suffered deadly floods.

However, regarding precipitation, Copernicus does not show clear trends for April: the month was wetter than normal in a large part of Europe, but drier in the south of the continent.

Same contrast outside Europe: in a large part of North , in Central and Eastern Asia, in the Gulf and southern Brazil, extreme rains caused flooding. But in northern Mexico, around the Caspian Sea and across large parts of , drought dominated.

Oceans: small inflection

The ocean surface temperature once again broke a monthly record in April, at 21.04°C on average excluding areas near the poles, marking a 13e monthly record in a row.

World map showing ocean surface temperature anomalies in April 2024, according to Copernicus data.
World map showing ocean surface temperature anomalies in April 2024, according to Copernicus data. – AFP.

This overheating threatens marine life, brings more moisture into the atmosphere and threatens the ability of the oceans to fulfill their crucial role in absorbing human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the temperature marked a slight inflection compared to March and its absolute record, all months combined (21.07°C).

El Niño calms down

The natural climatic phenomenon El Niño “continued to weaken” in April to move towards “neutral conditions”, estimates Copernicus.

This natural variation concerns the equatorial zone of the Pacific Ocean and induces global warming.

El Niño “reached its peak at the start of the year”, notes Julien Nicolas, which can explain a slight change in average temperatures in April compared to March.

Read also
2023, year of heat and climatic extremes in Europe

“Model projections indicate a possible transition to La Niña conditions in the second half of the year but conditions are still quite uncertain,” continues the climatologist.

La Niña is the counterpart of El Niño, which produces opposite effects. But the end of El Niño will not change the underlying warming trend.

“This phenomenon is superimposed on long-term trends which persist and are directly linked to warming linked to the increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to the quantities of heat which are absorbed and stored in particular in the oceans,” underlines Mr. Nicolas.

2024, towards new records?

These trends will continue “to push global temperatures towards new records,” predicts Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S.

At the end of March, the UN had already warned that there was a “high probability” that 2024 will in turn display unprecedented temperatures, while 2023 concludes a decade of record heat, pushing the planet “to the brink of the abyss”.

-

-

PREV Moscow displays military equipment seized in Ukraine
NEXT Macron once again talks about sending troops “if the Russians break through the front lines” – Libération