17 March 2016
Data released by NASA has revealed that February’s global temperature records set a shocking new high, leading the agency to warn of a “climate emergency”.
Reporting on the data, The Guardian noted that “the Nasa data shows the average global surface temperature in February was 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month between 1951-1980, a far bigger margin than ever seen before.”
Quoting Jeff Masters and Bob Henson from the Weather Underground website it seems that we could be entering an era where “unprecedented” becomes a regular touchstone: “February dispensed with the one-month-old record by a full 0.21C – an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by,” said Masters and Henson.
“This result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases.
“We are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2C warming over pre-industrial levels.”
The Guardian also sought the view of Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the LSE. Referring to the maximum 2C increase (the “danger limit”) set at the UN climate summit in Paris, he said: “This is a very worrying result. These results suggest that we may be even closer than we realised to breaching the [2C] limit.
“We have used up all of our room for manoeuvre. If we delay any longer strong cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, it looks like global mean surface temperature is likely to exceed the level beyond which the impacts of climate change are likely to be very dangerous.”