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Scientists are in a state of shock. According to NASA, February has just obliterated all world heat records for the month by a shocking margin. Last month was 1.35 degrees C hotter than all mean temperatures for the month reported for the 1951-1980 period.
Scientists couldn’t help but utter strong words such as ‘shocking,’ ‘stunning,’ and ‘climate emergency’ to describe the situation. The recent temperature leap was larger than anything they saw before.
The previous record holder was this year’s January, which was 1.15 degrees C hotter than the historic average for the month. But the jump of 0.21 degrees C in just one month was too much even for the most optimistic researchers.
Jeff Masters and fellow researcher Bob Henson of the Weather Underground deemed NASA’s recent report a ‘bombshell.’ The two authors described the February spike as ‘extraordinary.’
“February dispensed with the one-month-old record by a full 0.21C – an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by,”
the two researchers wrote in a recent piece on their site.
They also argued that the shocking record was a ‘reminder’ of global warming’s long-term effects and the need to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. According to their reporting, we are basically ‘hurtling’ towards the plus-two-degrees-C scenario, which will push global warming to a dangerous path.
Attendees at the UN climate summit in Paris agreed that global temperatures should not rise by more than 2 degrees C over pre-industrial times. So, world leaders are now working on keeping warming in check, and at least reach a 1.5 degree C goal.
Furthermore, 2015 was the warmest year on record, but 2016 is a likely candidate to shatter that record soon. If that happens, the heat record would have been broken for three consecutive years.
Gavin Schmidt of Goddard Institute for Space Studies believes that we may be in a ‘climate emergency’ at the moment. He deemed the latest monthly heat record “stunning” and “unprecedented.”
Bob Ward, a climate scientist from the London School of Economics, deemed the report ‘worrying.’ He underscored that the last five months were warmer than any prior months. The scientist is concerned that we may soon be breaching the 2 degree limit. So, he called for urgent cuts in carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases.
Image Source: Flickr