February breaks global temperature records
Date published: Monday, 14th March 2016
Drought-hit land in Thailand
Global temperatures in February smashed previous monthly records by an unprecedented amount, according to Nasa data, sparking warnings of a climate emergency.
The result was “a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases”, wrote Jeff Masters and Bob Henson in a blog on the Weather Underground, which analysed the data released on Saturday.
It confirms preliminary analysis from earlier in March, indicating the record-breaking temperatures.
The global surface temperatures across land and ocean in February were 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month, from the baseline period of 1951-1980.
The global record was set just one month earlier, with January already beating the average for that month by 1.15C above the average for the baseline period.
Although the temperatures have been spurred on by a very large El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, the temperature smashed records set during the last large El Niño from 1998, which was at least as strong as the current one.
The month did not break the record for hottest month, since that is only likely to happen during a northern hemisphere summer, when most of the world’s land mass heats up.
“We are in a kind of climate emergency now,” Stefan Rahmstorf, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research and a visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales, told Fairfax Media.
“This is really quite stunning ... it’s completely unprecedented,” he said.