Global temperatures in October, as well as the entire year-to-date, were the planet’s hottest on average since record-keeping began in 1880, the US government says.
It was also the 38th consecutive October in which global average temperatures were higher than the average for the 20th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported.
“The January-October combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest such period on record, surpassing the previous record set in 1998 and 2010,” NOAA said.
The combined average temperature over land and ocean surfaces in October was 14.74 degrees Celsius, which beat the previous record for the month by 0.01 degrees Celsius.
Warmer than average temperatures were recorded over most of the Earth’s land surface, except for large parts of Central Asia.
“Record warmth was notable across a large area of southern South America, the US western coastal regions, Russia’s far east, parts of southern and south eastern Asia, much of southern and western Australia, and parts of southern Europe,” NOAA said.
The average October temperatures globally over land alone were the fifth highest on record for the month.
The global sea surface temperature was 16.51 degrees Celsius in October, the highest on record for the month and the sixth consecutive monthly high, NOAA said.
“Record warmth was observed in parts of every major ocean basin,” it said.
While climate change is developing faster than expected, the financial support for those who are the most affected still evolves at a snail’s pace.
Greenpeace’s Stefan Krug
“Nearly all of the Indian Ocean was record warm or much warmer than average.”
In the Arctic, the average extent of sea ice in October was the sixth smallest for the month since record-keeping began in 1979.
Antarctic sea ice also declined in October, ending a string of six consecutive months of increasing sea ice in the region.
Britain makes major pledge to UN Climate Fund
Meanwhile, Britain pledged up to $US1.13 billion to a United Nations fund to help poor nations cope with global warming, the UK government said.
The contribution is equivalent to about 12 per cent of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), whose total funds currently stand at $US9.3 billion after new pledges made on Thursday.
The GCF is a major part of a plan agreed in 2009 whereby rich countries would mobilise $US100 billion a year from both public and private sources from 2020 to help developing nations adapt to a changing global climate and reduce their own carbon emissions.
The UN set an informal target of $US10 billion in initial contributions this year, a goal that Germany – host of Thursday’s donor conference – said was now within sight.
Thursday’s pledges included money that was already announced as well as new pledges from Britain, Italy, Finland, New Zealand, Mongolia and Panama.
Last week US president Barack Obama announced a $US3 billion contribution during a speech to university students in Brisbane.
Greenpeace hailed the pledges as “a first and important step” but rapped Australia, Russia and others for making none.
Canada and Australia are among the major donors yet to announce contributions.
“While climate change is developing faster than expected, the financial support for those who are the most affected still evolves at a snail’s pace,” Stefan Krug, head of the political unit of Greenpeace Germany, said.
The cash pledged will help emerging economies curb their own greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes such as heatwaves, mudslides and rising sea levels.
It is seen as vital to unlock a UN climate deal meant to be agreed to in late 2015 in Paris.
That deal will aim to limit a rise in average global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.