September breaks global and European records for hottest ever

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The world this year experienced its hottest September on record, scientists have reported.

Surface air temperatures last month were 0.05C warmer than in September 2019, making it the hottest September on record globally, experts from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said.

It was also the hottest September Europe has seen, beating the previous record for the continent, set in 2018, by around 0.2C. Temperatures were also well above average in other parts of the world including in the Middle East, parts of South America and Australia, the scientists said.

And temperatures in the Siberian Arctic continued to be warmer than average, continuing the hot spell that has affected parts of the region since early spring.

Monitoring by C3S also confirms that the average Arctic sea ice extent was the second lowest recorded for September, the month when sea ice is at its lowest after the summer melt before it refreezes in winter, after 2012.

The C3S, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), monitors the global and European climate, producing computer-generated analyses using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

Carlo Buontempo, director of C3S at ECMWF, said: “In 2020, there was an unusually rapid decline in Arctic sea ice extent during June and July, in the same region where above average temperatures were recorded, preconditioning the sea ice minimum to be particularly low this year.

“The combination of record temperatures and low Arctic sea ice in 2020 highlight the importance of improved and more comprehensive monitoring in a region warming faster than anywhere else in the world.”

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