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Earth just experienced its hottest September ever recorded

Following the hottest summer on record, 2019 continues to head for the history books. Last month was officially the hottest September on record, just slightly hotter (.04 degrees Fahrenheit) than the previous record-holder, September 2016.

Last month was 1.02 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average September from 1981-2010 and about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit above the preindustrial level, according to data released Friday by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an organization that tracks global temperatures.

According to AFP, the organization is treating the two months as joint record-holders because the difference is negligible. 

September follows a record-setting summer, which recorded the hottest June and July, and the second hottest August. This July was the hottest month on record since record-keeping began 140 years ago.

Most of Europe, parts of the U.S., Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, northern China and parts of the Arctic all experienced significantly hotter than average Septembers, the organization said. Temperatures in Norway, Sweden, southwestern parts of Russia and parts of Antarctica were lower than average.

Scientists continue to warn that human activity is heating the planet at a dangerous rate, and high temperatures pose a more lethal threat to humans than any other type of extreme weather event. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies recently warned the threat posed by extreme heat "will only become more serious and more widespread as the climate crisis continues."

According to CBS News climate and weather contributor Jeff Berardelli, heat waves are more directly linked to climate change than any other weather phenomenon, because of hot air masses "pool" extra warming, exacerbating the expansion and intensity of heatwaves. "There is no doubt in the scientific community that heatwaves will continue to get worse in the future due to human-caused climate change," Berardelli said. 

According to the U.N., the international goal is to limit temperature growth this century to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. With the most recent September data, that goal is quickly approaching, and is likely to be surpassed around 2030, Berardelli said. "In a business as usual scenario warming may very well surpass 3 degrees Celsius which will have devastating impacts on the Earth's ecosystems."

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