August 2021 is the 440th consecutive month the planet has reported above average temperature, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Record shattering climate developments continue unabated. August 2021 was the sixth-warmest August since record keeping started 142 years ago, according to the latest assessment by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) of the US’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Global surface temperature in August 2021 was 0.90 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 15.6°C. If only land-only surface temperature is considered, August 2021 was the second-warmest on record, after the August of 2016.
Warmer-than-normal months have been recorded frequently since 2009. For instance, nine of the 10 warmest Augusts have been recorded since 2009, according to the NCEI assessment.
“The near-record warm global land surface temperature was mainly driven by the record-warm Northern Hemisphere land surface August temperature,” NCEI said.
For Asia, August 2021 was the second-warmest on record. It was the third-warmest August for the African continent. “North America, South America and Oceania had a top-nine warm August on record. Although Europe had an above-average August temperature, it was the coolest August since 2008,” NCEI said.
However, there is another record on warming being set continuously every month. “August 2021 marked the 45th consecutive August and the 440th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average,” according to the NCEI assessment of month-wise temperature records since 1880.
It means those who were born before 1985 had an experience of the planet’s normal average temperature. Nearly 52 per cent of the world population is below the age of 30 years. For this population group, the average temperature experienced currently is the new normal, even though they inherit a warmer planet.
The year 2021 is also on track to be one of the hottest years on record. During January-August 2021, the global surface temperature was recorded as the sixth-highest on record. Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook, from NCEI, has forecasted that 2021 will be one of the 10 warmest years on record.
In August this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis report, said the planet’s average surface temperature rise would cross 1.5°C in the next 20 years and 2°C by the middle of the century, if we don’t cut down emissions of greenhouse gases.
“In the first two decades of the 21st century, the average global surface temperature was 0.99°C higher than the 1850-1900 level. But in the decade of 2011-2020, the rise was 1.09°C above the historic base period, indicating a faster warming of the planet,” Down To Earth inferred the IPCC report in August 2021.
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