Newsletter Issue 40 (February 2024)

The Weather of January 2024 – A dry and warm January with a very cold interlude

With the northeast monsoon over the south China coast generally weaker than normal for most of the time in the month, January 2024 was overall warmer than usual in Hong Kong despite a very cold episode in the latter part of the month. The weather became very cold on 23 January with temperatures at the Observatory dropping to a minimum of 6.3 degrees. There were also icing reports at Tai Mo Shan on 23 – 24 January.

Warmest January on record, 12-month average over 1.5°C above preindustrial

Jan 2024 was the warmest Jan in ERA5 data, going back to 1940. The global air temperature was 13.14°C, which is 0.70°C above the 1991-2020 average for Jan and 0.12°C above the previous warmest Jan. Taking into account the average of the last twelve months, the global mean temperature was the highest on record at 0.64°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.52°C above the 1850-1900 preindustrial average.

Scientists discover an alarming change in Antarctica’s past that could spell devastating future sea level rise

Evidence from a 2,000-foot-long ice core reveals that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet shrank suddenly and dramatically around 8,000 years ago, according to new research — providing an alarming insight into how quickly Antarctic ice could melt and send sea levels soaring. Even if the world meets ambitious targets to limit global heating, West Antarctica will experience substantial ocean warming and ice shelf melting.

Climate experts sound alarm over thriving plant life at Greenland ice sheet

A study has documented the change since the 1980s and shows that large areas of ice have been replaced with barren rock, wetlands and shrub growth, creating a change in environment. The findings show a near-quadrupling of wetlands across Greenland, which are a source of methane emissions. According to the findings, there are signs that the increased vegetation is resulting in further ice loss.

Amazon’s record drought driven by climate change

One of our planet’s most vital defences against global warming is itself being ravaged by climate change. It was the main driver of the Amazon rainforest’s worst drought in at least half a century, according to a new study. In October, the Rio Negro – one of the world’s largest rivers – reached its lowest recorded level near Manaus in Brazil, surpassing marks going back over 100 years.



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