The global temperature in February smashed a 136 year record by a “stunning” margin, becoming the the warmest February ever recorded.
The temperature rose an average of 2.43 degrees Fahrenheit (1.35 degrees Celsius) above the 1951-1980 average.
The data is calculated by comparing the temperature for a particular month with the average temperature for that month in the baseline period of 1951-1980.
The unprecedented leap led scientists to declare a “climate emergency”.
“I think even the hard-core climate people are looking at this and saying: ‘What on Earth’?” David Carlson, director of the World Climate Research Program at the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, said of the leap in temperatures.
“It’s startling,” he said. “It’s definitely a changed planet … It makes us nervous about the long-term impact.”
Scientists say the unprecedented leap was spurred on by the combined impact of man-made global warming and a very strong El Nino pattern in the Pacific Ocean.
February’s weather was especially warmer over land areas in the Northern Hemisphere outside the tropics. In the Arctic, temperatures were remarkably warmer, about 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, and sea ice was at a record low for the month.
“This is really quite stunning… it’s completely unprecedented,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research.
“We are in a kind of climate emergency now.”