April 2016 marks 7 straight record-breaking months; puts year on track to be hottest on record.
New data released by NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies reveals that April's land and sea temperatures were 1.11C warmer than the mean April temperatures between the years 1951 to 1980, the period of time that the agency uses as a reference point to study climate change. “April 2016 was the hottest April on record globally,” reports The Guardian, noting of the grim distinction:
The consensus is that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record.
It makes three months in a row that the monthly record has been broken by the largest margin ever, and seven months in a row that are at least 1C above the 1951-80 mean for that month. When the string of record-smashing months started in February, scientists began talking about a “climate emergency”.
As you can see in the map, some areas in Alaska, Russia, Greenland and Africa had temperature increases of at least 4C above the April average. Much of Asia, eastern Europe, Australia, northern Africa, Brazil, the American northwest, and western Canada were 2C or more above April's mean temperature.
This year’s April marks a steady climb up the graph of new high-temperature records, breaking the 2010 record for April (at 0.87C above the baseline average) by 0.24C. That record broke April 2007’s record of 0.75C above the baseline average. Things just keep moving on up.
“The interesting thing is the scale at which we’re breaking records,” said Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia. “It’s clearly all heading in the wrong direction."
“Climate scientists have been warning about this since at least the 1980s," he adds. "And it’s been bloody obvious since the 2000s. So where’s the surprise?”
The animated graphic below does a great job of giving a visual representation of what things are looking like. It certainly brings the phrase “spiraling out of control” to mind.
Read more at The Guardian.