NASA researchers have reported that global temperatures this February smashed previous records.
Scientists have been warning about climate change for decades, and the latest data continues to suggest that average global temperatures are trending upward. According to a report from the Guardian, NASA climate scientists have found that this past February was one of the hottest on record.
The data shows that the average surface temperature on Earth was as much as 1.35 degrees Celsius warmer than historical February averages taken from 1951 to 1980.
The spike was one of the biggest upsets in monthly averages in recent memory. Just the month before, the global average temperature was 1.15C higher than the long-term January average. According to weather analysts Jeff Masters and Bob Henson,
“NASA dropped a bombshell of a climate report. 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 latest NASA climate data follows a trend of record-breaking temperatures in recent years. “We are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2C warming over pre-industrial levels,” Masters and Henson wrote.
Global leaders have reached a tentative understanding that limiting global temperature rise to 2C over pre-industrial levels would allow us to avoid some of the worst effects of climate change. As records are broken year after year, however, scientists fear that not enough is being done to slow the rate of warming worldwide.
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has kept meticulous monthly temperature records, and director Gavin Schmidt recently spoke up about the alarming data. “Normally I don’t comment on individual months (too much weather, not enough climate), but last month was special,” he tweeted.
A NASA press release describing the February data can be found here.