(Paris) The world experienced its second warmest March, and Antarctic sea ice volume reached its second lowest level for the month, after a record high in February, according to European Climate Observatory data released Thursday.
“After a record low in extent in February, Antarctic sea ice reached its second-lowest level for March in the 45 years for which satellite data was recorded,” said Samantha Burgess, deputy head of the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Observatory.
In March, which coincides with the Australian fall, the amount of sea ice was 28% less than average. Thus, it has reached 3.2 million kilometers2or 1.2 million less than the 1991-2020 average for the month, a Copernicus spokesperson said.
On the other side of the Earth, Arctic sea ice extent was 4% below average.
Copernicus also estimates that last month was the second-hottest March globally, tied with March of 2017, 2019, and 2020. It holds the record for March in 2016.
Last month, temperatures were above average in central and southern Europe but below average in most of northern Europe.
It was much warmer than normal across large areas including northern Africa, southwestern Russia and most of Asia, where several monthly records were broken.
Well above average temperatures have been recorded in northeastern North America, Argentina and its neighbors, large parts of Australia and coastal regions of Antarctica.
The past eight years have been the hottest on record anywhere in the world, all exceeding pre-industrial temperatures by more than a degree, Copernicus established in January.
This warming is the result of human activity, in particular the use of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases.
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