Hottest February since 1880

Over the last weekend in February, NASA reported that the planet’s average surface temperature was 1.35 degrees (Celsius) warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline used by the agency. Writing for Slate Magazine, climate journalist Eric Holthaus put that into historical context. February 2016 was Earth’s hottest February since records began in 1880, according to the US space agency, which Australian experts have described as an ‘awful’ and ‘dismaying’ result that may signal humanity has crossed a crucial tipping point.

The record heat in February broke a new global heat record set in January. March could be hotter than February. But the result shocked climate scientists because it went far beyond even the most powerful El Ninos on record. The best comparison is the super El Nino of 1998, which several experts stated was as powerful as this year’s weather event.

February of that year was 0.88 degrees warmer than the baseline a massive 0.47 degrees below last month’s increase. Leading climate scientist Professor Tim Flannery said the ‘awful’ February result was not simply a quirk of the El Nino and La Nina weather patterns that work in tandem to fluctuate global temperatures, wind patterns and rainfalls. “Laid on top of that is this enormous burden of pollution that humans have been putting into the atmosphere for decades and that is supercharging these natural cycles and bringing about these very, very worrying conditions”, Professor Flannery said. Professor Tim Flannery – Councillor – Australian Climate Council.