Experts “gobsmacked” by September’s record high global temperatures

september record temp

This September smashed the previous temperature record set for the month by 0.5ºC, making it the largest leap in temperature ever noted and leading scientists to argue that “the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical”.  

With one scientist, Zeke Hausfather from the Berkeley Earth Climate Data Project, calling the average temperatures of this most recent September “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas”, another has called for world leaders to step up their efforts to combat global warming, and quickly.  

“The unprecedented temperatures for the time of year observed in September – following a record summer – have broken records by an extraordinary amount,” says Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the European entity that provides authoritative information about the past, present and future climate activity around the globe. “This extreme month has pushed 2023 into the dubious honour of first place, on track to be the warmest year and around 1.4°C above preindustrial average temperatures. Two months out from COP28, the sense of urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical.” 

Unprecedented temperatures  

Temperatures were up an astonishing 1.8ºC over preindustrial levels, and 0.5ºC on the previous records for the month.  

The average surface air temperature for the planet was 16.38ºC, nearly a degree above the average for 1991 to 2020.  

Weather patterns and carbon emissions blamed  

A flip from La Niña to El Niño and carbon emissions are being blamed as the primary drivers of what was the hottest September on record for the planet.  

El Niño is a climate pattern that sees the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, thus pushing air temperatures up.  

High levels of carbon dioxide emissions combined with El Niño have created a set of circumstances that has forecasters anticipating 2023 to be the hottest year on record, with 2024 possibly exceeding that.  

France, Germany, Poland and the UK all experienced record-busting warmth in September, while on the other side of the planet, many parts of Australia hit 3ºC to 5ºC above normal.  


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Photo source: BCF, Unsplash