The year 2024 begins with new temperature records: “It is a very important and disastrous signal”

After the record heat of 2023, the year 2024 started pessimistically: never before has a January been so warm and, for the first time, the planet exceeded the warming threshold of 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era for 12 consecutive months, reports AFP, quoted by Agerpres.

The climate has already warmed by approximately 1.2°C compared to the years 1850-1900. PHOTO archive

Between February 2023 and January 2024, the global surface air temperature was 1.52°C higher than in the period 1850-1900, according to data from the European Copernicus Observatory.

“This does not mean that we have exceeded the threshold of 1.5°C set in Paris” in 2015 to try to stop global warming and its consequences, recalls Richard Betts, director of studies on the impact of climate change at the British National Meteorological Office.

For this to happen, this limit would have to be exceeded in a stable way for several decades.

However, it is yet another reminder of the profound changes we have already brought to our global climate and to which we must now adapt“, he added.

“We are approaching the 1.5°C limit faster than predicted”

What is happening should be seen as a warning, experts say.

“This is a very important and disastrous signal (…), an alert to tell humanity that we are approaching the 1.5°C limit faster than predicted,” Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Climate Impact Research Institute (PIK) in Germany told AFP.

How the world's states should respond to this “climate earthquake”

Countries must “to quickly align their policies and financial flows” to reduce emissions and “to work towards agreement on ambitious climate finance targets at COP29” in Baku in December, Stephanie Roe, climate specialist at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said in response to this “earthquake for the climate”.

Already, the current climate has already warmed by about 1.2°C compared to the years 1850-1900. And at the current rate of emissions, Giec estimates that the 1.5°C threshold has a one in two chance of being reached on average by 2030-2035.

In January 2024 the average temperature was 13.14°C. It is the warmest January on record since records began, following a record in 2023.

The value is 0.12°C higher than the previous record from January 2020 and 0.70°C above normal values ​​from 1991-2020. And compared to the pre-industrial era, it is 1,660°C warmer.

The monthly heat record was broken for the eighth month in a row

It is the eighth month in a row for which the monthly heat record has been broken, points out the European Copernicus Observatory.

January was marked by a heat wave in South America, which recorded record temperatures and devastating fires in Colombia and Chile, with dozens of deaths in the Valparaiso region.

The surface of the oceans is overheating

Despite cold spells and sometimes significant rainfall in some parts of the globe, exceptional improvement was seen in Spain and southern France, as well as parts of the United States, Canada, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

The ocean surface is overheating, with a new January record average temperature of 20.97°C.

This is the second warmest for all months combined, less than 0.01 °C from the previous record set in August 2023 (20.98 °C).

This heat continued even after January 31, reaching new absolute records and exceeding the highest values ​​of August 23 and 24, 2023, Copernicus mentions, according to Agerpres.

And this, while the El Nino climate phenomenon is slowing down in the equatorial Pacific, which should normally contribute to a slight drop in the mercury.

2024 “starts with a new record month”laments Samantha Burgess, deputy head of the climate change department (C3S) at Copernicus.

“A rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the only way to stop growth global temperatures,” she concluded.