Last month was the sixth-warmest in Europe since 1979 and cooler than the three warmest months of March worldwide, according to a statement from Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation agency. Generally, global temperatures were close to the second and third warmest Marches (2017 and 2019) on record, while in the westernmost parts of Europe, temperatures were close to or just below average, but well above average around the Baltic sea and in the east. The above-average temperatures were not just confined to eastern Europe – instead reaching Russia and many other countries in Asia, including the western and northern coasts of Alaska. The warmer than normal temperatures extended to Mexico and southern and eastern parts of the USA, over parts of South America, central and northern Africa and western Australia, and over and near the Ross Ice Shelf and Antarctic Peninsula.
Unusually mild temperatures between Greenland and Iceland were evident from the below-average sea-ice cover there. Northern and western Canada, Greenland, East Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent and eastern Australia were colder than average as well. Ocean temperatures were predominantly higher than the 1981-2010 average, especially to the east of Japan, although there were areas of all the major oceans where the air temperature was below normal. This does not change global warming March 2020 was still almost 2 degrees Centigrade (35.6 Fahrenheit) warmer than the average between 1981 and 2010. Why is this important? The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it is vital that we keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees, and ideally below 1.5 degrees. The average temperature for the twelve months to March 2020 is close to 1.3°C above the level.