select search filters
roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

expert reaction to February 2024 being globally the warmest on record

Scientists react to February 2024 being the warmest year on record according to Copernicus.


Dr Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London, said:

“There’s now so much evidence pointing to the fact that our climate is warming, if you want to deny climate change, you might as well claim the earth is flat too.

“Billions of measurements from weather stations, satellites, ships, and planes point to the very basic fact that our planet is heating up at a dangerous pace.

“People should not be surprised that we have broken another record. Humans continue to burn oil, gas, and coal, so the climate continues to warm. It is a very well understood relationship.

“There is no silver bullet or magic fix for climate change. We know what to do – stop burning fossil fuels and replace them with more sustainable, renewable sources of energy. Until we do that, extreme weather events intensified by climate change will continue to destroy lives and livelihoods.

“People who think we can keep warming to 1.5C and continue to open new gas and oil fields might as well claim the earth is flat and believe in Bigfoot.

“West Africa endured a month of extreme temperatures in February, affecting tens of millions of people. In March, World Weather Attribution will publish a study detailing how climate change increased the intensity and likelihood of that heat.”


Prof Adam Scaife, Head of Long Range Prediction at the Met Office, said:

“2024 is the first calendar year where there is a significant chance of breaching the 1.5 °C level, but whether this happens will depend on the balance between the extra warmth from the current El Niño and whether we get a decrease later in 2024 from La Niña.”


Prof Richard Allan, Professor of Climate Science, University of Reading, said:

“The record global warmth we have been experiencing in February 2024 and over the past year is almost entirely due to continued greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, though lower levels of harmful aerosol particle pollution in some regions is also now contributing a bit to warming rather than masking it. Global temperatures have been given an extra boost by warm El Niño conditions affecting thousands of miles of the equatorial eastern Pacific and although this slow ocean fluctuation has peaked, its warming influence will linger during 2024.

“What is more surprising is that sea surface temperatures are at record levels over regions far away from the centre of El Niño action such as the tropical Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The widespread substantial warmth of the sea surface is consistent with a combination of ocean fluctuations on top of a continued powerful heating effect from rising greenhouse gas concentrations and other smaller factors. A temporary breach of the Paris climate goals is a harbinger of more dangerous climate impacts on the horizon.

“A lesser reported observation is the near record annual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from February 2023 to February 2024 which is also explained by emissions from human activities along with an extra boost from El Niño. To halt further rises in carbon dioxide and limit warming of climate and the increased severity of extreme weather events, rapid and massive cuts in greenhouse gases across all sectors of society are essential.”



Declared interests

Richard Allan: no conflicts of interest


in this section

filter RoundUps by year

search by tag