Joint second-warmest March recorded, says EU agency

Published April 7, 2023
An aerial view shows melting snow on a ski slope, at a ski centre in Bjelasnica, near Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 5, 2023. — Reuters
An aerial view shows melting snow on a ski slope, at a ski centre in Bjelasnica, near Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 5, 2023. — Reuters

PARIS: Earth had its joint second-warmest March on record with Antarctic sea ice shrinking to its second-lowest extent for that month, the EU’s climate monitoring agency said on Thursday.

“The month was jointly the second-warmest March globally,” tied with 2017, 2019 and 2020, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said. The hottest March on record was in 2016.

Its report is based on computer-generated analyses using billions of measurements from satellites, ships, aircraft and weather stations around the world.

It said temperatures were above average over southern and central Europe and below average over most of northern Europe.

They were far warmer than average over much of North Africa, south-western Russia, Asia, north-eastern North America, South America, Australia and coastal Antarctica.

Conversely, it was much colder than average over western and central North America, the agency said.

Global warming is causing sea ice to decline and sea levels to rise, raising warnings that dangerous tipping points could be reached. Copernicus said Antarctic sea ice extent was the second lowest for March in the 45-year satellite data record, at 28 per cent below average.

It reached 3.2 million square kilometres on average, 1.2m sq km below the 1991-2020 average for the month. It had reached the smallest area on record in February for the second year in a row, continuing a decade-long decline.

In the north meanwhile, Arctic sea ice extent was 4pc below average and joint fourth lowest for March on record, though concentrations were above average in the Greenland Sea.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2023

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