“Our Hemisphere’s Temperature Just Reached a Terrifying Milestone”

Our planet’s preliminary February temperature data are in, and it’s now abundantly clear: Global warming is going into overdrive.

There are dozens of global temperature datasets, and usually I (and my climate journalist colleagues) wait until the official ones are released about the middle of the following month to announce a record-warm month at the global level. But this month’s data is so extraordinary that there’s no need to wait: February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month.

Using unofficial data and adjusting for different base-line temperatures, it appears that February 2016 was likely somewhere between 1.15 and 1.4 degrees warmer than the long-term average, and about 0.2 degrees above last month—good enough for the most above-average month ever measured. (Since the globe had already warmed by about +0.45 degrees above pre-industrial levels during the 1981-2010 base-line meteorologists commonly use, that amount has been added to the data released today.)

Keep in mind that it took from the dawn of the industrial age until last October to reach the first 1.0 degree Celsius, and we’ve come as much as an extra 0.4 degrees further in just the last five months. Even accounting for the margin of error associated with these preliminary datasets, that means it’s virtually certain that February handily beat the record set just last month for the most anomalously warm month ever recorded. That’s stunning.

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2 thoughts on ““Our Hemisphere’s Temperature Just Reached a Terrifying Milestone”

  1. We can attest that our February was warmer than usual. We live in southern California and had a week with temperatures above 90 F. So much for the effect of El Nino! Really Scary Data! It reminds me of the 20/20 program years ago about the last days on Earth. Global warming was the most likely cause ending civilization.

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    • Same here in Vancouver! Flowers and buds started appearing 3 and 4 weeks early. I’ve never been here in the spring, but my husband says things are warming up way too fast. The days of getting a few inches of snow in the winter around these parts are just about over, it seems. Depressing.

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