February 2024 was the most well liked on document, with world temperatures surpassing crucial local weather threshold


February units a brand new world heat document


February units a brand new world heat document

03:33

The world has marked one more consecutive month of record-breaking warmth. New knowledge from Copernicus, the European Union’s local weather change monitoring service, reveals that final month was the most well liked February on document globally, with “exceptionally excessive” temperatures in each the air and sea. 

The document warmth comes because the U.S. continues to battle climate extremes. In current weeks, communities throughout the nation have seen spring- and summer-like temperatures, excessive rain and flooding, huge snowfall, and hearth climate circumstances that drove Texas’ largest-ever wildfire that shortly turned one of many greatest in U.S. historical past. These sorts of extremes are a byproduct of the local weather change-fueled rise in world temperatures, and are solely anticipated to grow to be extra frequent and intense as warming continues. 

Daily temperature chart showing warming
Every day world common floor air temperature anomalies (°C) relative to estimated values for 1850-1900 plotted as time collection for every year from Jan. 1, 1940 to March 3, 2024.

C3S/ECMWF


Based on Copernicus, the typical world floor air temperature in February was 13.54 levels Celsius (roughly 56.4 levels Fahrenheit). That’s 1.77 levels Celsius above the pre-industrial common for February, main it to grow to be the ninth consecutive month the place every month was the warmest on document globally. That comes after 2023 broke the document for the warmest yr.

The very best February temperatures, deemed “exceptionally excessive,” have been seen throughout the first two weeks of the month, Copernicus discovered. Scientists with the group stated that the day by day world common temperature throughout that point reached 2 levels Celsius above the pre-industrial common on 4 consecutive days, from Feb. 8 to 11. 

pr-fig4-timeseries-era5-sst-daily-60s-60n-1979-2024.png
Every day sea floor temperature (°C) averaged over the extra-polar world ocean (60°S–60°N) for 2015 (darkish blue), 2016 (gentle blue), 2020 (yellow), 2023 (pink), and 2024 (black line). All different years between 1979 and 2022 are proven with gray traces. 

Copernicus Local weather Change Service/ECMWF


The world’s oceans — which take in 90% of Earth’s warmth — additionally noticed document excessive temperatures. Copernicus discovered that the typical world sea floor temperature for February was 21.06 levels Celsius (69.9 levels Fahrenheit), which the company stated is “the best for any month within the dataset.” 

Such excessive ocean temperatures solely add to the cycle of world warming. Warming oceans result in melting sea ice, which is important in reflecting the solar’s rays to assist keep cooler temperatures. With out the ice, sea ranges proceed to rise and temperatures proceed to extend, two elements that gas excessive climate occasions. 

Hotter oceans additionally result in rampant coral bleaching, additional threatening marine ecosystems and economies.

global map of sea surface temperatures

Copernicus Local weather Change Service/ECMWF


Local weather scientists have lengthy warned of a number of local weather thresholds that put the world at additional threat of climate extremes that threaten folks worldwide, primarily those that stay alongside coasts and on islands. These thresholds embody reaching a number of years of world temperatures 1.5 levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges, or an much more dire 2 levels of warming. January marked the first time on document that world common temperatures reached the 1.5 diploma warming threshold over a 12-month interval. 

February surpassing these milestones doesn’t imply the world as a complete has surpassed the edge, however it does point out that human actions are persevering with on a path of doing so. 

Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Local weather Change Service, stated that whereas the information is “outstanding,” it is “probably not shocking as the continual warming of the local weather system inevitably results in new temperature extremes.” 

“The local weather responds to the precise concentrations of greenhouse gases within the environment,” he stated. “So except we handle to stabilize these, we are going to inevitably face new world temperature information and their penalties.” 

The current information come amid an ongoing El Niño occasion that began final summer season. The system happens each two to seven years when the Pacific Ocean experiences “warmer-than-average” floor temperatures. The latest El Niño peaked in December, and at that peak, the World Meteorological Group stated it was “one of many 5 strongest on document.” 

“It is now progressively weakening, however clearly it’ll proceed to impression the worldwide local weather within the coming months,” WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis stated at a current briefing. “So even after it disappears utterly, we are going to nonetheless really feel the impacts of this occasion.” 

This El Niño particularly was at the least partially fueled by human exercise, she stated, as people proceed to burn fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gases that primarily blanket the environment, trapping in warmth from the solar. 

“El Niño is a naturally occurring occasion, however all the things now, all El Niño occasions, all La Niña occasions, happen within the context of a local weather which has been radically modified by human actions,” Nullis stated. “We do anticipate above-normal temperatures within the coming months.” 

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