Last month was the world’s hottest November on record while Europe’s autumn temperatures were the highest in history

  • Global temperatures were 0.8C warmer than typical November from 1981-2010
  • In Europe they were 2.2C hotter, according to an EU satellite monitoring service
  • Temperatures were particularly above-average in Northern Europe and Siberia

Last month was the world’s hottest November on record ‘by a clear margin’ as Europe basked in its highest autumn temperatures in history, the EU’s satellite monitoring service said today. 

Global temperatures were 0.8C warmer than the typical November from 1981-2010, and in Europe they were 2.2C hotter, according to the Copernicus Climate Change service (C3S).   

Northern Europe and Siberia saw particularly unusual weather, with Norway seeing its joint-hottest November since 1900 and Sweden and Finland also breaking records. 

‘These records are consistent with the long-term warming trend of the global climate,’ said C3S director Carlo Buontempo.  

November temperatures were higher than usual in most of the world (as shown by the red areas on the maps above), with especially warm weather in northern Europe, Siberia and the Arctic Ocean. Only a few areas, shown in blue, saw colder-than-usual weather  

In Europe, the average autumn temperature was 1.9C above the 30-year average and 0.4C higher than the previous record in 2006. 

Temperatures were ‘considerably higher than average’ over the Alps and in much of northern Europe last month. In Europe, November was the joint-second warmest on record. 

The weather was also ‘exceptionally’ warm across much of Siberia and the Arctic Ocean, with unusually high temperatures in Canada and Alaska. 

South America saw warm weather east of the Andes ‘over a region stretching from Peru to Patagonia’, while parts of Australia saw heatwaves and the country as a whole had its warmest November on record. 

In the US, the year to October 2020 has seen record temperatures in Florida, New Mexico and Arizona. 

There were also notably high temperatures in much of Africa in November, including heatwaves in Malawi and Mozambique.   

A few parts of the world saw colder than average weather, including parts of India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Antarctica.  

However, the global average for November was the highest ever, and the five hottest years in history have all come since 2015. 

November was about 0.8C warmer than the average from 1981-2010, as shown on this graph, continuing a consistent trend of hotter-than-usual weather in the last two decades 

Buontempo called on governments to ‘see these records as alarm bells and consider more seriously than ever how to best comply with the international commitments set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement’.

The landmark deal sets nations the task of limiting the temperature rises to ‘well-below’ 2C above pre-industrial levels.

With just over 1C of warming so far, Earth is already dealing with the devastation caused by more frequent and stronger extreme weather events such as wildfires and tropical storms. 

Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement in 2017, but president-elect Joe Biden has vowed to rejoin the pact.  

While carbon emissions has fallen drastically at times during the global economic standstill caused by the pandemic, scientists say any improvement is likely to be temporary.  

In September the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said the brief drop in emissions ‘is not going to change the big picture’ on greenhouse gases.  

Australia, where people are pictured at Manly Beach near Sydney on November 28, was among the places to see record temperatures in November during the Southern Hemisphere spring

Last week, the WMO said that 2020 was on course to be among the three hottest years ever recorded.

The Copernicus service said that with just one month left to go, 2020 is on par to match 2016, the current record holder. 

The 12-month period from December 2019 to November 2020 has seen above-average temperatures over ‘virtually all of Europe’, it said. 

Globally, the same 12-month period was 0.65C warmer than the 1981-2010 average.  

Satellite images also showed that the extent of Arctic sea ice was the second lowest for November in the database, which began in 1979.

The largest negative sea ice concentration anomalies were in the Kara Sea, while there was below average cover in the eastern Canadian archipelago and Baffin Bay.

‘This trend is concerning and highlights the importance of comprehensive monitoring of the Arctic, as it is warming faster than the rest of the world,’ said Buontempo. 

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