Phil Plait reports on yet another spike in global warming.

February 2016 was the hottest February on the planet on record, a staggering 1.35° C hotter than the average. The previous hottest Februaries were 1998 (0.88° above average) and 2015 (0.87°). That’s a huge jump.

Those numbers are from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of the premier centers for keeping tabs on our ever-warming globe. They are from temperature measurements over land and ocean going back to 1880. They representtemperature anomalies, that is, deviations from an average. In this case, the average is taken over the range of 1951–1980. That makes comparing temperatures easier, and shows that February 2016 was the hottest recorded February for 136 years.

It’s not just El Niño, either, he says; not even close.

And another article (scroll down), this one by Eric Holthaus, elaborates.

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.

With an update later:

As of Thursday morning, it appears that average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have breached the 2 degrees Celsius above “normal” mark for the first time in recorded history, and likely the first time since human civilization began thousands of years ago.* That mark has long been held (somewhat arbitrarily) as the point above which climate change may begin to become “dangerous” to humanity. It’s now arrived—though very briefly—much more quickly than anticipated. This is a milestone moment for our species. Climate change deserves our greatest possible attention.



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