The past few months scientists have watched global temperatures shatter records, but February marked a staggering new high. Data from NASA and NOAA revealed that compared to past Februaries, last month was 1.35°C warmer than average. Most researchers believe this is evidence we’re hurtling towards the 2°C limit set in Paris faster than anticipated.
Normally isolated temperature spikes in one month wouldn’t cause comment since scientists typically prefer to look at trends over the long term. Yet Gavin Schmidt, Chief of Lab at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies tweeted that February was different and presented the severe data the agency collected.
Some speculated that El Niño was behind the staggering temperature increases, since it’s the most drastic storm since 1998. Still, scientists agree that while El Niño is a factor, it’s not wholly to blame. Director Michael Mann from the Penn State Earth System Science Center said, “We would have set an all-time global temperature record [in 2015] even without any help from El Niño.”
Rather, scientists say the blame for the hot temperatures rests with our old nemesis – carbon emissions. NOAA lead scientist Pieter Tans said, “CO2 levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years. It’s explosive compared to natural processes.”
January was 1.15°C above recorded data for that particular month as well; in their report, NOAA said that December through February broke records when compared against any other three-month period in recorded history.
Policy Director Bob Ward from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change warned of the consequences of delaying further action. He said now is the time to cut emissions or the temperature could keep rising quickly.
Via The Guardian