Did you think September was crazy hot this year? It wasn’t just your imagination. With the ninth month of the year comes the start of fall, but it certainly didn’t feel that way — September this year felt like summer’s overenthusiastic cousin, and we were busy fanning ourselves and trying to keep cool. Well, it turns out that this year’s September was actually the hottest on record. . . by a kind of frightening amount.
According to data compiled by the Japan Meteorological Agency, this past September was warmer than any other Septembers on record by 0.15 degrees Celsius, or 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit. Its temperature anomaly was 0.50 degrees Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) compared to the average from 1981 – 2010. Last year’s September was previously the record holder.
“There were many locations that have been warmer during the first week of September than they were in all of August,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist Jake Crouch told Climate Central.
But the bad news isn’t relegated to only September. This data means that there is a very, very large chance that this year will break a new record itself. Combine the long-term warming effects by manmade gases with the short-term warming effects of El Niño — this year, the strongest since the famously large one of 1997 – 1998 — and we’re looking at a 99% chance of it being the hottest year on record.
Though it may seem like only a fraction of a change in temperature, consider that the planet only needs to warm by 10 degrees Fahrenheit to get rid of all ice cover in Greenland and Antarctica. The warmer the planet, the more we’ll see intense droughts, wild weather, melting glaciers, warmer oceans, rising sea level, and increased ocean acidity — all of which can have a devastating impact on the ecosystem as we know it, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency.
We’re breaking records left and right, but the victory is not a sweet one — even if you’re a fan of the summer months.
(Image via Nickelodeon Animation Studios.)