April 2024 was warmer globally than any previous April in the data record and it was the eleventh month in a row that was the warmest for the respective month of the year, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has said.

The April 2024 average surface air temperature was 15.03°C, 0.67°C above the 1991-2020 average for April and 0.14°C above the previous high set in April 2016, said C3S, which is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and managed by the European Commission.

The unusual phenomenon of the eleventh month in a row being warmest for the respective month was witnessed early during 2015-16, C3S said. This development is being attributed to the emergence of El Nino, which causes drought and prolonged dryness in Asia, from June 23. 

Carlo Buontempo, Director of the C3S, said: “El Niño peaked at the beginning of the year and the sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical pacific are now going back towards neutral conditions. 

El Nino weakening

“However, whilst temperature variations associated with natural cycles like El Niño come and go, the extra energy trapped into the ocean and the atmosphere by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) will keep pushing the global temperature towards new records.” 

The month of April was 1.58°C warmer than an estimate of the April average for 1,850-1,900, the designated pre-industrial reference period. 

The global-average temperature for the past 12 months (May 2023 – April 2024) is the highest on record, at 0.73°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.61°C above the 1,850-1,900 pre-industrial average, it said.

C3S said the El Niño in the eastern equatorial Pacific continued to weaken towards neutral conditions, but marine air temperatures in general remained at an unusually high level. 

El Nino, in particular, has resulted in prolonged dry periods and droughts in parts of India. According to India Meteorological Department, data from 710 districts show that 56 per cent of the country received deficient, large deficient or no rain between March 1 and May 7.

Impact on India

The deficient rainfall has affected Indian agriculture, while reducing the storage in the 150 major reservoirs to 28 per cent of the capacity. The country’s southern region has in particular been badly affected with the storage in 37 of the 42 reservoirs in the region below 40 per cent of the capacity. 

The global sea surface temperature (SST) averaged for April 2024 was 21.04°C, the highest value on record for the month, marginally below the 21.07°C recorded for March 2024.

This is the thirteenth month in a row that the SST has been the warmest in the ERA5 data record for the respective month of the year. 

In the case of El Nino, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has said it is over. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an arm of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has, on the other hand, said there is a 85 per cent chance of a transition to El Nino Southern Oscillation neutral by June 2024.