Warmest April ever fuelled weather extremes across globe: WMO


PTI, May 10, 2024, 8:59 PM IST

Representative image (source: iStock)

New Delhi: The world experienced the warmest April ever and the eleventh consecutive month of record-high temperatures, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed on Friday.

Sea surface temperatures have been record high for the past 13 months, it said.

The WMO said this is happening due to naturally occurring El Niño — unusual warming of waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean — and the additional energy trapped in the atmosphere and ocean by greenhouse gases from human activities.

A similar streak of record high temperatures happened previously during the strong El Niño event of 2015-2016.

The average temperature of 15.03 degrees Celsius in April was 1.58 degrees Celsius higher than the month’s average for 1850-1900, the designated pre-industrial reference period, the WMO said citing data from the European climate agency – Copernicus Climate Change Service.

It was 0.67 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average for April and 0.14 degrees Celsius above the previous high set in April 2016.

The record temperatures were accompanied by high-impact weather events – including intense heat in many parts of Asia, drought in southern Africa and extreme rainfall in the Arabian Peninsula. Persistent heavy rainfall in East Africa and southern Brazil has worsened in the first week of May, leading to devastating and deadly floods.

“The high number of extreme weather and climate events (including record daily and monthly temperatures and rainfall amounts) are more likely in a warmer world,” WMO climate expert Alvaro Silva said.

“The sea surface temperature in several ocean basins, including in the tropical belt, continues to be record high, releasing more heat and moisture to the atmosphere and thus exacerbating conditions,” he said.

There were big temperature differences within Europe in April. Outside Europe, temperatures were most above average over northern and northeastern North America, Greenland, eastern Asia, northwest Middle East, parts of South America, and most of Africa.

India suffered repeated heatwaves in April and the early part of May, with the India Meteorological Department issuing numerous advisories and warnings to protect people’s health. The highest maximum temperature of 47.2 degrees Celsius had been recorded at Gangetic West Bengal on April 30. Schools were closed in Bangladesh as a safety precaution against the dangerous heat.

Thailand recorded many new station temperature records – for instance 44.1 degrees Celsius at Mueang Phetchabun Phetchabun on April 27, according to the Thailand Meteorological Department. In Myanmar there were also new temperature records of 48.2 degrees Celsius at Chauk.

It was predominantly wetter than average over most of north-western, central and north-eastern Europe. Most of southern Europe was drier than average, according to Copernicus.

Conditions were wetter than average over central, eastern and southern North America, across Central Asia, the Persian Gulf countries, easternmost Asia, eastern Australia, southern Brazil. Heavy rainfall often led to floods.

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