After the record heat we’ve seen in the last few months, as well as after the record carbon dioxide emissions seen last year, it would stand to reason that few people would be surprised with the increasing global temperatures.
But sadly, a huge portion of our population doesn’t actually believe in global warming (about forty percent), so they were surprised to hear that the global temperature record was broken in February. The findings were reported by NASA, along with a few other concerning bits of information about the current climate change situation.
Not only was last month the hottest February ever recorded for the planet, but it was also the most anomalously warm month Earth has seen in over 135 years. While the heat trapping greenhouse gasses are primarily at fault, the exceptionally hot El Niño also played a big part.
This February actually continued a streak, getting us within a month’s range to beat a previous record set in 1944 – the longest amount of months to set a record heat. We just tied to 1944’s ten months in a row, and by the way things are going, we’re going to beat the record.
According to NASA, February 2016 was 2.43 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than the February average between 1951 and 1980, and 0.8 degrees warmer than the previous record-holding February, in 1998. This January just lost the record by 0.36 degrees, which is by how much February was warmer than it.
The assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, Chip Knappenberger, had this to say about the situation:
Global temperatures were especially warm in February, largely as a result of a strong, ongoing, and all-natural El Niño event. Natural variability is acting on top of a slow warming pressure that is being added by emissions of greenhouse gases from human-activities. The result is a slow background rise in temperatures punctuated by shorter-term rises and falls.
Not only was this February the warmest on record, but it was also the fifth month in a row to be hotter by at least two degrees Fahrenheit than the average. It also sets up the perfect start for 2016 to beat the record set last year, possibly seeing the record as the hottest year recorded for the third time in a row.
Even worse, last year was reported by the NOAA observatory in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, to see the biggest jump in carbon dioxide emissions. Very concerning is also the state of the arctic, which has seen record low sea ice levels in the past two months.
Image source: Wikimedia