April 2023 was Earth’s fourth-warmest April since global record-keeping began in 1850. It was 1 degree Celsius (1.80°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported May 12. NASA and the European Copernicus Climate Change Service also rated April 2023 as the fourth-warmest April on record.
Land areas had their 11th-warmest April on record in 2023, with global ocean temperatures the warmest, according to NOAA. This marked the second-highest monthly ocean temperature for any month on record, just 0.01°C (0.02°F) shy of the record-warm ocean temperatures set in January 2016. The tremendous ocean heat helped push the Southern Hemisphere to its warmest month on record, beating the previous record set in March 2016 by 0.06 degree Celsius (0.10°F). The Northern Hemisphere had its ninth-warmest April, although ocean-only temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere tied with 2020 as the warmest on record for the month.
Africa had its fourth-warmest April; South America had its ninth-warmest April; Asia had its 22nd-warmest April; and North America, Europe, and Oceania had an above-average April temperature that did not rank among the top-20 warmest Aprils on record.
Human-caused climate change made April’s record-breaking humid heatwave in Bangladesh, India, Laos and Thailand at least 30 times more likely, according to rapid attribution analysis by an international team of leading climate scientists as part of the World Weather Attribution group. The study also concludes that the high vulnerability in the region, which is one of the world’s heatwave hotpots, amplified the impacts.
The year-to-date period of January-April is the fourth-warmest on record, and according to NOAA’s latest Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook and the statistical model it uses, “it appears that it is virtually certain that 2023 will be a top 10 year,” with a 27.6% chance of 2023 being the warmest year on record.
NOAA said that the contiguous U.S. experienced an April that was 0.3°F above average, which ranked in the middle third of the historical record. Eleven states along the East Coast had a top-10 warmest April; only North Dakota had a top-10 coldest April.
Seven separate weather disasters costing at least $1 billion have hit the U.S. so far in 2023: five severe weather outbreaks, one flood, and one winter storm.
NOAA ups the odds for an El Niño
In its May 11 monthly discussion of the state of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, NOAA increased its odds for an El Niño event to occur this year. NOAA said that neutral conditions are expected to transition to El Niño during the May-July period, with an 80% chance of a moderate El Niño and a 55% chance of a strong El Niño by the end of 2023.
NOAA’s and Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society ENSO forecast for the peak portion of the Atlantic hurricane season (August-September-October) is a 0% chance of La Niña, a 7% chance of ENSO-neutral, and a 93% chance of El Niño. El Niño events tend to suppress Atlantic hurricane formation because of an increase in wind shear over the Main Development Region for hurricanes, particularly over the Caribbean.
Arctic sea ice: 10th-lowest April extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during April 2023 was the 10th-lowest in the 45-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Antarctic sea ice extent in April was the third-lowest on record.
Notable global heat and cold marks for April 2023
The information below is courtesy of Maximiliano Herrera. Follow him on Twitter: @extremetemps
– Hottest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere: 47.1°C (115.5°F) at Matam, Senegal, April 26;
– Coldest temperature in the Northern Hemisphere: -50.9°C (-59.6°F) at Summit, Greenland, April 6;
– Hottest temperature in the Southern Hemisphere: 40.4°C (104.7°F) at Vioolsdrif, South Africa, April 4; and
– Coldest temperature in the Southern Hemisphere: -72°C (-97.6°F) at Concordia, Antarctica, April 21.
Major weather stations in April: seven all-time heat records, no all-time cold records
Among global stations with a record of at least 40 years, seven set, not just tied, an all-time heat record in April, and no stations set an all-time cold record:
Phetchabun (Thailand) max. 43.5°C, April 15;
Tak (Thailand) max. 44.6°C, April 15;
Tak Agro (Thailand) max. 45.4°C, April 15: New national record high for Thailand;
Vientiane (Laos) max. 41.4°C, April 15;
Agalega Island (Mauritius) max. 35.3°C, April 17;
Luang Prabang (Laos) max. 42.7°C, April 18; and
Sayaburi (Laos) max. 42.9°C, April 19: New national record high for Laos.
Two all-time national/territorial heat records set or tied in 2023
As of the end of April, two nations or territories had set or tied an all-time national heat record in 2023:
Thailand: 45.4°C (113.7°F) at Tak Agromet, April 15; and
Laos: 42.7°C (108.9°F) at Luang Prabang, April 17; beaten one day later with 42.9°C (109.2°F) at Sayaburi, April 18.
Three all-time national/territorial cold records set or tied in 2023
As of the end of April 2023, three nations or territories had set or tied an all-time national cold record:
Myanmar: -6.0°C (21.2°F) at Hakha, Jan. 17 (tied);
China: -53.0°C (-63.4°F) at Jintao, Jan. 22; and
Cyprus: -12.8°C (8°F) at Trodos Mt. Station, Feb. 8 (tied).
Thirty-one additional monthly national/territorial heat records and three additional monthly cold records beaten or tied as of the end of April
In addition to the two all-time heat records listed above, 31 additional monthly all-time heat records have been set in 2023, for a total of 33 all-time monthly heat records:
– Jan. (13): Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Cyprus, Nigeria
– Feb. (4): Chile, Taiwan, Pakistan, Cyprus
– March (3): Botswana, Vietnam, Taiwan
– April (11): Cabo Verde, Botswana, Turkmenistan, Mauritius, Antigua and Barbuda, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Andorra, Saba, St. Barthelemy
In addition to the three all-time cold records listed above, three nations or territories have set a monthly all-time cold record in 2023, for a total of six monthly cold records:
– Feb. (1): Montenegro
– March (2): St. Eustatius, Martinique
Hemispherical and continental temperature records in 2023
– Lowest temperature reliably recorded in January in the Southern Hemisphere: -51.2°C (-60.2°F) at Concordia, Antarctica, Jan. 31; and
– Highest temperature ever recorded in April in Europe: 38.8°C (101.8°F) at Cordoba, Spain, April 27.
Editor’s note: This post was updated to add the April monthly record for St Barthelemy.
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