February shatters global temperature records
16 March 2016, Nirapad News: October was a record-breaker as was December, and so was January. It is easy to become accustomed to regular reports that the month just past was the warmest ever recorded.
Despite all that, February was a shocker. It was the warmest month ever recorded, but it was also the warmest by an extremely large margin.
February was 1.35 degrees Celsius above the long term (1951-1980) average. October was the first month, any month, since records began in 1880 that had been more than 1.0C above that average, reports Al Jazeera.
That now looks rather lame compared with February’s whopping margin of 1.35C.
It is in the Arctic that warming has been most remarkable. Huge swathes of the polar region – including Canada, Alaska, Eastern Europe and Russia – were more than 4C above average during February.
Throughout the winter months the region has been experiencing exceptional weather conditions. In late December, temperatures at the North Pole were close to freezing, 30 to 35C above average.
Jeff Masters of Weather Underground points out that the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard has been largely free of ice this winter, despite lying 78 degrees north. This might help explain why the air temperature at Longyearbyen airport has been about 10C above average.
Now climate skeptics – and there are plenty in powerful government and policy-formulating positions in the US and the UK – might justifiably point out the contribution made by the ongoing but weakening El Nino.
For comparison, during the last major El Nino of 1997-98, the February figure was just +0.88C.
In fact, climate scientists generally ascribe just a 0.1 to 0.2C increase in global temperatures as a result of El Nino.