Wednesday 28 September 2016

Warnings of 'climate emergency' as February breaks global temperature records

Published 14/03/2016 | 14:18

This illustration obtained from NASA yesterday shows that 2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Photo: AFP/Nasa/Getty
This illustration obtained from NASA yesterday shows that 2015 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Photo: AFP/Nasa/Getty

For the third month in a row, global temperatures in February broke records as the warmest seasonally adjusted month in more than a century, according to a new NASA report.

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The data is calculated by comparing the temperature for a particular month with the average temperature for that month in the baseline period of 1951-1980.

The global surface temperature across land and ocean in February 2016 was 1.35C warmer, topping the previous record set just one month earlier when January reached 1.15C above the average and raising further concerns about global warming.

Dr Jeff Masters and Bob Henson of the Weather Underground blog called this 0.21C difference “an extraordinary margin”, describing the result as “a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases”.

Scientists say the unprecedented leap was spurred on by the combined impact of man-made global warming and a very strong El Nino pattern in the Pacific Ocean.

However, this year topped the previous February record, set in 1998, and came out 0.846C warmer, despite the comparable intensity of the El Nino events in both years.

“This is really quite stunning... it's completely unprecedented,” Stefan Rahmstorf, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research and a visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We are in a kind of climate emergency now.”

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