February 2024 stands out as the hottest in history

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The first two months of 2024 marked a milestone in global climate history. In a series of alarming but predictable events, Last February was the warmest on record to date. This information, provided by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) of the European Union, underlines the increasing trend in global temperatures. In addition, it highlights the combined impact of human activities and natural phenomena such as El Niño on our planet’s climate.

February 2024 stands out as the hottest in history1

A temperature to remember.

February 2024 recorded a temperature of 1.77 °C above the pre-industrial average. This February temperature record adds to a worrying string of nine consecutive months of global temperature records. Providing clear evidence of accelerated climate change and the fundamental role that natural and anthropogenic variables play in it.

The El Niño effect, causing temporary warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern Pacific, manifests itself with extraordinary force in 2024. Exacerbating the effects of human-caused climate change and taking temperatures to unprecedented highs. The effects are felt throughout the world. In Europe, average recorded temperatures were 3.3°C above the monthly average recorded between 1991 and 2020. While, on our continent, Chile suffered one of the largest forest fires in decades, with more than 15 thousand houses burned and 110 deaths.

The worst is just beginning.

This phenomenon, far from being an isolated anomaly, is part of an alarming trend that has been developing for years. Only 2023 stood out as the hottest year recorded in the last 125 thousand years. “Although it may seem surprising, it was already expected, since the continuous warming of the climate system inevitably leads to new temperature extremes,” said researcher Carlo Buontempo. Unfortunately, it seems like things are only going to get worse every year.

And the records taken by the sensors show that the ocean waters are even warmer. In February 2024, the water surface reached 21.06 °C. The previous record was set in August 2023, when it reached 20.98 °C. Human activity, especially the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, appear as the main drivers of climate change. Irreversibly altering the Earth’s natural weather patterns.

The emission of greenhouse gases combined with natural events such as El Niño create ideal conditions for extreme climate anomalies, such as the one experienced in February 2024.. This record not only sets a precedent when it comes to climate records, it also serves as an immediate call to action to address the consequences of the phenomenon.

Catastrophic effects.

Among the most immediate implications of this increase in temperature are the accelerated melting of glaciers and ice sheets and the rise in sea level. Although, the most harmful for us have to do with the exacerbation of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and floods. Situations that put millions of human lives and entire ecosystems at risk.

Never before has the union of global efforts to mitigate climate change been so needed. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, together with the adoption of sustainable practices and the implementation of green technologies, stand out as fundamental actions to cushion the already irreversible effects of global warming. Obviously, it is vital to strengthen international policies and agreements focused on the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development that ensures the well-being of future generations.

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