This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including a new report on the state of amphibians, a newly launched initiative to save coral reefs, and new temperature records in September.
1. 2023 on Track to Be Hottest Year in History, Scientists Warn Amid ‘Anomalously’ Warm September
The world just experienced its hottest September ever after shattering the previous record by an “extraordinary” margin, with temperatures at around 1.75C above pre-industrial levels, according to several climate models.
The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), Europe’s leading earth observatory agency, said the average global surface air temperature last month was 16.38C, 0.93C above the 1991-2020 average for September and a staggering 0.5C above the previous warmest September recorded in 2020. This makes it “the most anomalous warm month of any year” in the ERA5, the latest climate reanalysis produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of C3S, extending from 1940 onwards.
“The unprecedented temperatures for the time of year observed in September – following a record summer – have broken records by an extraordinary amount. This extreme month has pushed 2023 into the dubious honour of first place – on track to be the warmest year and around 1.4C above preindustrial average temperatures,” said Samantha Burgess, C3S Deputy Director.
Read more here.
2. Extreme Heat Persists Around the World As Scientists Warn El Niño Has Yet to Peak
There is no doubt among the scientific community that global warming has led temperatures globally to hit record highs this year, a trend that is set to persist in the years to come, according to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report published in May. The UN body found that there is a 98% chance that at least one of the next five years will be the hottest on record and a 66% chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5C above the 1850-1900 average for at least one of the five years.
But besides planet-warming greenhouse gases, experts are keeping a close eye on El Niño, a weather event associated with the warming of sea surface temperatures in the central-east equatorial Pacific that typically occurs every few years.
Read more here.
3. 41% of Amphibians Are Threatened with Extinction, As Experts Blame Climate Change and Habitat Loss
The world’s amphibians are in dire need of protection as 40.7% of all species are threatened with extinction, a new study has found.
According to the report published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature illustrating the findings of the second Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA2), the status of amphibians is deteriorating globally, especially in the Neotropics, one of six major biogeographic areas of the world that extends south from the Mexican desert into South America as far as the subantarctic zone.
Among the causes of population decline, researchers identified climate change, which is responsible for 39% of status deterioration since 2004, and habitat loss – driven by agricultural activities, timber and plant harvesting as well as infrastructure development – responsible for about 37% of status deterioration.
Read more here.
4. Coral Reef Breakthrough Launches to Prevent Extinction of One of the World’s Most Threatened Ecosystems
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a network including 45 countries that represent over 75% of the world’s coral reefs, has launched the Coral Reef Breakthrough in partnership with the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR) and the High-Level Climate Champions (HLCC). The Coral Reef Breakthrough aims to secure the future of at least 125,000 km2 of shallow-water tropical coral reefs with investments of at least US$12 billion to support the resilience of more than half a billion people globally by 2030.
Coral reefs exist in more than 100 countries and territories, and support at least 25% of marine species; they are integral to sustaining Earth’s vast and interconnected web of marine biodiversity and provide ecosystem services valued up to $9.9 trillion annually1. More than one billion people, including vulnerable coastal communities, whose daily lives are inextricably linked with life below water, depend healthy coral reefs. They essential to the security, resilience, and climate adaptation of many of the most climate-vulnerable nations on Earth, yet the functional existence of these critical ecosystems is at stake due to the climate crisis and other anthropogenic stressors. The window for protecting these ecosystems is closing rapidly.
Read more here.