EU says last month warmest September on record globally

For the 12-month period through September, the planet was nearly 1.3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. (File/AFP)
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Updated 07 October 2020

EU says last month warmest September on record globally

PARIS: Earth’s surface was warmer last month than during any September on record, with temperatures since January tracking those of the hottest ever calendar year in 2016, the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme said Wednesday.
This year has now seen three months of record warmth — January, May and September — with June and April virtually tied for first, the Copernicus Climate Change Service reported.
“There is currently little difference between 2020 and 2016 for the year-to-date,” Copernicus senior scientist Freja Vambourg told AFP.
For the 12-month period through September, the planet was nearly 1.3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
That is alarmingly close to the 1.5C threshold for severe impacts detailed in a major 2018 report by the UN’s climate science advisory panel, the IPCC.
The Paris Agreement has enjoined nations to cap global warming at “well below” 2C, and 1.5C if feasible.
So far, Earth has warmed on average by one degree, enough to boost the intensity of deadly heatwaves, droughts and tropical storms made more destructive by rising seas.
Climate change driven by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels has picked up pace in recent decades.
Nineteen of the 20 last years are the warmest since accurate readings began in the late 19th century.
Since the late 1970s, the global thermometer has crept up 0.2C every decade, according to EU data.
Temperatures in September were “exceptionally high” over northern Siberia, which — along with much of the Arctic Circle — has seen freakishly warm weather for months.
September was brutal in the Middle East, with new high temperatures reported in Turkey, Israel and Jordan.

Parts of North Africa and Tibet were also scorching hot, while maximum daytime values reached 49C in Los Angeles County early in the month.
Across California, five of the state’s six biggest wildfires in history were still burning at the end of the month.
“September was warmer by 0.05C than September 2019, the previous warmest September,” the Copernicus report said.
Last month’s global record for heat was all the more remarkable because of the regional cooling effect of a naturally occurring La Nina weather event over the tropical Pacific.
Arctic sea ice, meanwhile, shrank to its second lowest extent last month, slipping below four million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) for only the second time since satellite records began in 1978, according to C3S.
The Arctic ice cap floats on ocean water around the North Pole, and thus does not contribute directly to sea level rise when it melts.
But it does accelerate global warming.
Freshly fallen snow reflects 80 percent of the Sun’s radiative force back into space.
But when that mirror-like surface is replaced by deep blue water, about the same percentage of Earth-heating energy is absorbed instead.
Climate change has also disrupted regional weather patterns, resulting in more sunshine beating down on the Greenland ice sheet, which is melting — and shedding mass into the ocean — more quickly than at any time in the last 12,000 years, according to a study last week.
In 2019, the ice sheet — which holds enough frozen water to lift global oceans seven meters (23 feet) — shed more than half-a-trillion tons, roughly equivalent to three million tons of water every day, or six Olympic pools every second.


Iranian man arrested over deaths of family in English Channel

Updated 38 min 51 sec ago

Iranian man arrested over deaths of family in English Channel

  • He faces manslaughter charges after migrant couple and two of their children drowned when the boat they were in capsized

LONDON: An Iranian man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the deaths of four members of an Iranian-Kurdish family in the English Channel.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammed Panahi, 35, and their children Anita, 9, and Armin, 6, drowned on Tuesday after the boat they were in capsized as they attempted to cross the Channel from France.

Their 15-month-old son, Artin, and two people are still missing. An official from the French coastguard said there is no hope of finding any more survivors, after a search-and-rescue operation in “unfavorable” conditions was called off on Tuesday night.

The Iranian suspect was allegedly piloting the semi-rigid vessel, which was carrying 22 people from the Grande-Synthe migrant camp near Dunkirk, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Dunkirk prosecutor Sebastien Pieve said the man was arrested after survivors who were taken to hospital gave statements to police.

“He told us he was just a migrant but the information we have gathered against him, notably from 13 others who were interviewed, suggests that he is close to the smugglers and his claims do not stand up,” Pieve said.

The man, who is in provisional custody, is under investigation and faces charges of involuntary homicide, endangering the lives of other people, helping “illegals” as part of an organized gang, and criminal association, according to reports. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and be deported from France after serving his sentence.

Pieve said an aim of the police inquiries is to dismantle the smuggling ring responsible for the people being on the vessel.

A growing number of migrants are attempting risky journeys across the Channel in small, dangerous vessels provided by smugglers because of a reduction in the number of commercial sea crossings between the UK and France as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 7,400 migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year, compared with about 1,800 during the whole of 2019, according to Press Association calculations.