March marks 10th straight month as the hottest on record, scientists say

FILE-People enjoy Recreio dos Bandeirantes beach amid a heat wave in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 17, 2024. (Photo by TERCIO TEIXEIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

March marked the 10th straight month as the hottest on record. Last month, the average of 14.14 degrees Celsius (57.9 degrees Fahrenheit) exceeded the previous record from 2016 by a tenth of a degree, according to the European Union climate agency Copernicus.

The Associated Press noted that since June 2023, the globe has shattered heat records monthly, with marine heat waves across large areas of the globe’s oceans being a factor. 

Scientists tell the AP that the record-breaking heat during March wasn’t a surprise because of a powerful El Nino, which refers to a climatic condition that warms the central Pacific and changes global weather patterns. 

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According to the AP, climate scientists associated most of the record heat to human-caused climate change from carbon dioxide and methane emissions produced by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.

In March, global sea surface temperature averaged 21.07 degrees Celsius (69.93 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest monthly value on record and slightly higher than in February.

According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change, the world set a goal to keep warming at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). 

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But Copernicus’ temperature data is monthly and uses a different measurement system than the Paris baseline, which is averaged over two or three decades.

Citing Copernicus data, the AP reported that the globe has experienced 12 months with average monthly temperatures 1.58 degrees Celsius (2.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the Paris threshold.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.