European and Japanese researchers say October on planet Earth was the hottest for that month ever on record.
The researchers made the designation after combining data from buoys, surface weather stations, satellites and other sources in near-real-time.
October came in at about 1.7° Celsius, or 3° Fahrenheit above the long-term average.
That made it “the second highest monthly temperature anomaly that we’ve seen all year after September 2023,” climate scientist Zeke Hausfather told Axios via email, adding that it is “increasingly likely” that some data analysis will show that 2023 was the first individual year to have an annual average temperature above 1.5° Celsius, or 34.7° Fahrenheit, compared to preindustrial levels.
To set a global monthly record, warmth had to be both extreme and widespread, as happened in October.
Anomalous warmth took place last month in Asia, the Canadian Arctic, the northeast U.S., the Caribbean Sea, northern two-thirds of South America, Europe, much of Africa and western Australia—though parts of central Australia, southern Chile and Argentina, the northern Rockies, Scandinavia and northwest Russia were among the few areas cooler than average.
Simultaneous extreme heat waves raging across the U.S. and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere would be “virtually impossible” if not for climate change, according to analysis from the World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA), an international group of scientists who assess the role of climate change in extreme weather events.
While the WWA’s scientists have conceded that El Niño—a weakening of trade winds that causes northern U.S. and Canada to be dryer and warmer than usual—has been a factor this year, they state that it’s the burning of fossil fuels that has been the main driver of the rising temperatures.
The warming trend does not appear to be easing, either, with temperatures spiking across much of the southern and eastern United States so far this November, as well, with unseasonable warmth looking to carry toward Thanksgiving.