November is sixth straight month to set a heat record, scientists say

The sun rises behind the Shard skyscraper in London on November 25 (AFP via Getty Images)
The sun rises behind the Shard skyscraper in London on November 25 (AFP via Getty Images)

November became the sixth month in a row to break record temperatures for heat globally, European climate experts have revealed.

With only weeks remaining, 2023 is on course to smash the record for the hottest year.

This November beat the previous hottest November by nearly a third of a degree Celsius, the European Space Agency's Copernicus Climate Change Service said on Wednesday.

November averaged 14.22C, 0.85 degrees warmer than the average in the last 30 years.

The month was 1.75C warmer than pre-industrial times, tying with October and behind September for the highest above average for any month.

"The last half year has truly been shocking," said Copernicus deputy director Samantha Burgess. "Scientists are running out of adjectives to describe this."

This year has been 1.46C warmer than pre-industrial times so far, and about a seventh of a degree warmer than the previous warmest year of 2016, Copernicus scientists calculated.

Copernicus records go back to 1940, while the United States government calculated records go back to 1850.

Scientists, using proxies such as ice cores, tree rings and corals, have said this is the warmest decade Earth has seen in about 125,000 years, and the last few months have been the hottest of the last decade.

Scientists say the driving forces behind the six straight record hottest months are human-caused climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas, and the natural El Niño-La Niña cycle.

The world is in a potent El Niño, a temporary warming of parts of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide and adds to global temperatures already spiked by climate change.

"It's only going to get warmer as long as the world keeps pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," said Ms Burgess, who warned that means "catastrophic floods, fires, heatwaves, droughts will continue".

London saw its hottest day of the year on September 9 with a high of 32.7C recorded in Heathrow, the Met Office said.