October breaks global heat record

The world is now almost 1°C hotter than it was before humans started burning fossil fuels on an industrial scale two centuries ago. This is after a record-setting October finished 0.98°C warmer than the 20th century average – the temperature it should have been without external influence.  

That data has been compiled by various agencies, including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States and the Japan Meteorological Agency. 

It shows that October also set the record for the biggest single increase from year to year, as the month was 0.19°C hotter than the previously record-setting October of 2014.

These show that regional record temperatures have been set in Australia, southern Asia, most of Africa and Central America. The last 12-months are also the hottest such period in recorded history

Since 2000, monthly temperature records have been broken 32 times.


Courtesy of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

In South Africa, this global jump in average temperatures – driven by one of the strongest El Niño phenomenon ever recorded – has seen records set throughout the country. Towns in Limpopo sweltered in 50°C heat, while much of Gauteng sat in the high 30s.

The heat has also exacerbated the existing drought, by reducing rainfall and ensuring a second year of low crop yields. Municipalities have struggled with the increased demand for water, with ageing infrastructure crumbling. This has led to water shortages in even the largest metros.  

The South African Weather Agency predicts that sustained rainfall will only return towards the middle of next year, after the current El Niño fades.

But the phenomenon is set to get stronger in the short-term, with a peak in December. The various agencies say this fact, and the temperature records already broken, mean 2015 will probably be the hottest year ever recorded – taking away the record set by 2014. 


These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sipho Kings
Sipho is the Mail & Guardian's News Editor. He also does investigative environment journalism.
Advertising

Safety at schools: ‘Keep your distance and your pen’

The department of basic education has developed guidelines to assist schools with minimising the spread of the coronavirus

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday