A combination of the El Nino in the pacific and the general upward trend in global temperature pushed last month’s temperatures higher than any month since records began in 1880 according to new data from NASA.
While some of the rise can be attributed to the El Nino event, Andrew Freedman argues that we should not overstate this:
“The previous warmest February, according to NASA, was in 1998, which was also a year with an extremely strong El Niño… However, in an important indication of how far human-caused global warming has shifted the baseline state of the planet’s climate, February 2016 came out 0.846 degrees Celsius, or 1.52 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than February 1998, despite the similar intensity of the El Niño events in both years.
“In fact, studies indicate that with the highest levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere in all of human history, global average temperatures may now be higher than any time since at least 4,000 years ago.”
The latest NASA data comes on the heels of recent Australian research that suggests that global warming is accelerating, and that we are now on course to pass the Paris COP21 agreed limit of 1.5 degrees of warming as early as 2020, and the upper limit of 2 degrees by 2030 rather than 2050 previously anticipated. If correct, these projections imply that humanity has all but run out of time on climate change.