Hottest March adds to 10-month run of record-breaking temperatures

EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service says March 2024 shows continued ‘toppling’ of records.

March was a record-hot month
March was a record-hot month (Gareth Fuller/PA)

March was the 10th month in a row to be the hottest on record for the time of year, as global climate records continue to topple, scientists said.

The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) shows March 2024 was hotter globally than any other previous record for the month, with temperatures 1.68C warmer than the estimate for pre-industrial times.

It is the 10th month in the row to break records for the respective month of the year, the Copernicus analysis found.

The global average temperature for the last 12 months is also the highest on record, at 1.58C above the pre-industrial average from 1850-1900, pushing the world – temporarily at least- above the 1.5C threshold to which countries have agreed to limit global warming to avoid its most dangerous impacts.

Sea surface temperatures outside the polar regions were at record highs in March, averaging 21.07C for the month, marginally above the 21.06C recorded for February.

(Press Association Images)

The figures from C3S also show how temperatures have risen significantly in recent years, with the global average temperatures over the past 12 months up 0.7C on the 1991-2020 average, and this March 0.73C warmer than average for that period.

European temperatures were 2.12C warmer than the 1991-2020 average in March, making it the second warmest on record for the continent and only 0.02C cooler than March 2014, the data show.

Outside Europe, temperatures were most above average over eastern North America, Greenland, eastern Russia, Central America, parts of South America, many parts of Africa, southern Australia, and parts of Antarctica, the analysis shows.

Samantha Burgess, deputy director of C3S, said: “March 2024 continues the sequence of climate records toppling for both air temperature and ocean surface temperatures, with the 10th consecutive record-breaking month.

“The global average temperature is the highest on record, with the past 12 months being 1.58C above pre-industrial levels.

“Stopping further warming requires rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” she warned.