The Earth’s average temperature was 0.05 degrees Celsius (0.09 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the previous record, which was set last September.
The new September record was driven by exceptionally hot weather that touched nearly every continent.
Europe alone saw its warmest ever September, with record-breaking heat in the middle of the month in France and unseasonably hot weather near the Black Sea. The Middle East sweltered, too, with temperature records set in Turkey, Israel and Jordan.
Over all, temperatures clocked in at 0.63 degrees Celsius warmer than the average for September over the past 40 years.
That means the month was nearly 1.3 degrees hotter than pre-industrial levels.
Global temperatures must be kept from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels to avoid major impacts on the climate, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded.
But the astonishing temperatures recorded only partially describe the dangers of global warming, a phenomenon that continued to affect the lives of millions last month.
And thousands of miles away in Siberia, a part of the world usually covered in snow for much of the year, the uncontrollable fires continued to spew carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Scientists at Copernicus estimated last month that CO2 emissions from fires in the Arctic Circle have increased by more than a third compared with 2019, with 244 megatonnes of carbon produced from January 1 to August 31, 2020. By comparison, 181 megatonnes of carbon were produced for the whole of 2019.