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Tenth consecutive hottest month raises concerns over forecasting accuracy

Tenth consecutive hottest month raises concerns over forecasting accuracy

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
10.04.2024 12:30

March was the tenth consecutive warmest month ever recorded, and scientists warn that we are approaching a point where we may not be able to predict the full effects of climate change.

The behaviour of the Earth's population towards the climate crisis can be compared to the plot of the Netflix movie Don't Look Up. Scientists have been warning and sounding the alarm for a long time. Still, politicians and global leaders seem more interested in maintaining their power and profits than taking effective action. Depending on their level of awareness, some people feel powerless to make a change, while others are happy about the arrival of an unnaturally warm spring.

The hottest March ever recorded

The increase in greenhouse gas emissions has caused anomalies that are becoming unpredictable. March was the tenth consecutive hottest month on record, which is a concerning trend for scientists. If it continues until August 2024, it will become extremely challenging to predict future developments accurately. Climate models based on historical data will no longer be reliable.

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, notes that temperature records are broken monthly by up to 0.2 degrees Celsius. In an article for Nature, he wrote: "It’s humbling, and a bit worrying, to admit that no year has confounded climate scientists’ predictive capabilities more than 2023 has."

The ability of science to predict climate is diminishing

As The Guardian reports, Schmidt listed several likely causes of the anomaly – the El Niño effect, reductions in cooling sulphur dioxide particles due to pollution controls, the fallout from the January 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption in Tonga, and an increase of solar activity in the run-up to a predicted solar maximum.

However, based on preliminary analyses, he concluded that all these factors are insufficient to explain the 0.2 degrees Celsius increase.

"If the anomaly does not stabilise by August – a reasonable expectation based on previous El Niño events – then the world will be in uncharted territory. It could imply that a warming planet is already fundamentally altering how the climate system operates, much sooner than scientists had anticipated," he concluded.

Source: The Guardian

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