After a scorching 2023, the global temperature in January 2024 was the highest ever recorded for the month. According to the European climate observatory Copernicus, the global average temperature was 13.14°C, 0.12°C above the temperature of the hottest January so far, in 2020.
The index was also 0.70°C higher than the average for January recorded between 1991 and 2020.
Copernicus has daily global temperature records dating back to 1940. The monthly bulletins generated by the observatory use billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations to analyze the state of the global climate.
This was the eighth consecutive month in which the temperature record for the respective month of the year was broken. Last year — which broke all records and was the hottest in 125,000 years — was marked by extreme weather events, such as the historic drought that hit the Amazon, the gigantic forest fires in Canada and the floods in China.
The global temperature anomaly (as the variation in temperature relative to the average is called) for January 2024 was smaller than those for the last six months of 2023, but larger than any before July 2023.
Around the world, temperatures varied in January, being well above average in eastern Canada, northwest Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and below average in western Canada, the central United States and most of Siberia Eastern.
In Europe, in the Nordic countries, thermometers were well below the average of the last 30 years, while the south of the continent had rates well above the average.
The month was 1.66°C warmer than an estimate of the January average from 1850 to 1900. This period is used as a reference to temperatures before the Industrial Revolution, which caused greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activities to soar. .
“2024 kicks off with another record-breaking month — not only is it the hottest January on record, but we’ve also just experienced a 12-month period more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial reference period” , analyzes Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, highlighting the importance of stopping global warming.
“Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are the only way to stop global temperatures from rising.”
So much heat can be explained, in part, by the occurrence of El Niño, a phenomenon that warms the waters of the Pacific Ocean in the region of the Equator and tends to raise temperatures around the world.
However, a data analysis carried out by Folha showed that the Earth has experienced five El Niños more severe than the current one in the last 70 years. In other words, the global temperature last year was already very high, even without taking into account the intensity of the phenomenon.
In January, the World Meteorological Organization, linked to the UN, stated that the trend towards warming like that recorded in 2023 will continue this year, still under the effects of El Niño.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) projected, in turn, that there is about a 33% chance that 2024 will be warmer than 2023, and a 99% chance that it will be within five years. hottest on record.
NOAA also predicts that El Niño, which has already begun to weaken, is expected to last until the end of summer.
The planet has already warmed 1.2°C since the Industrial Revolution. Thus, extreme weather events are already affected by climate change.
According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), heat waves, like those that hit Brazil repeatedly in 2023, have tripled in the world compared to the pre-industrial period.