April 2020 Tied With 2016 As The Warmest April On Record


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockMay 7 2020, 18:28 UTC

polar bear on melting ice floe in arctic sea. FloridaStock/Shutterstock

The European Union’s climate monitoring network has announced that April 2020 is tied with April 2016 as the hottest April since records began. This latest announcement adds to the already troubling trend of record-breaking temperatures that have been registered in the first quarter of 2020.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported that global temperatures in April 2020 were just a statistically insignificant 0.01°C below April 2016. The record provides further indication that 2020 is likely to become the hottest year on record.


Globally, the regions that experienced the most above-average temperatures were Siberia, northern and central Greenland, the Alaskan coast, as well as parts of Antarctica and the Arctic ocean. The polar regions also saw less average sea ice cover compared to the 1981-2010 average.

Surface air temperature anomaly for April 2020 relative to the April average for the period 1981-2010. Data source: ERA5. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF.

While the global average temperature continues to increase, the local temperature might unexpectedly swing the other way. For April, this was mostly found in central Canada and southern and southeast Asia, all of which were cooler than usual.

Europe also saw a drier and hotter month across most of the continent, with hotter than average temperatures in the west part of the continent and colder in the North East. Rains fell mainly in the Iberian Peninsula and the cooler Eastern part of Europe.


An absolutely scorching month has been witnessed in Switzerland. The Alpine country’s average temperature for April was 3°C (5.4°F) above average over the last 30 years and almost 5°C (9°F) above the average for 1871-1900. It was also the warmest April for France.

Surface air temperature anomaly for May 2019 to April 2020 relative to the average for 1981-2010. Data source: ERA5. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF.

The last 12 months point to an increase of 1.3°C (2.34°F) above the pre-industrial level, nearing the threshold of 1.5°C (2.7°F) established as the benchmark to avoid in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Based on current trends and without substantial political changes, that threshold will be met in 2030.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution (just 150 years), humanity has released an incredible amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Chief among them is carbon dioxide, which has reached a level unseen in at least 800,000 years.


To stay below the 1.5°C (2.7°F) cap, the UN says we need to decrease emissions by 7.6 percent annually over the next decade. Due to the exceptional circumstance of the Covid-19 pandemic this year, emissions are expected to fall by 8 percent.