In what can serve as a severe warning that we as a planet are losing the battle against climate change, March 2016 has been recorded as the warmest month since 1981, when record keeping began.
A record that should worry us all
The global temperature in March has shattered a century-long record and by the greatest margin yet seen for any month, making it the planet’s 11th consecutive month to set a global temperature milestone. It seems that we are continuously rising up the charts in the hottest month ever scale because only last month scientists had observed that not only had February become the hottest month ever but it had done so by a record-breaking margin prompting concerned reactions from the scientific community. Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research had said: “We are in a kind of climate emergency now.”
Ever rising temperatures
The margin by which the temperature is rising is a major area of concern. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency figures, March was 1.07C hotter across the globe, while February was 1.04C higher. Though the figures released by NASA vary, the implications remain the same. The NASA data recorded March as 1.65C above the average from 1951-1980 and February as 1.71C higher.
Temperature anomalies are higher and consistent
Compare this to the fact that the last hottest March ever, for example, was in 2010. Then, the temperature had come in at 0.36ºC warmer than the 20th-century average, as per NASA records. According to NASA, six straight months from 2015 into 2016 have had a temperature anomaly of at least 1 degree Celsius. That had not happened in any month prior to this record warm stretch. Scientists are already predicting 2016 to become the new hottest year breaking just last year’s record and by a big greater margin.
Greenland Ice is melting quicker than expected
The effect of this rising temperature are quite evident now across the globe with Greenland’s massive ice sheet starting its annual summer melt earlier than ever before and Arctic sea ice peak reaching for the lowest winter maximum extent. This string of records and the scale at which they are being broken are raising fears that the world is approaching the 2°C (3.6°F) level of warming above preindustrial levels that scientists say could bring about catastrophic and irreversible consequences.
“If we continue to burn fossil fuels and increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we will assume that this level of warmth will be perpetual,” said Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University after March’s record. “This is a reminder that we need to need to decarbonize.”
Submitted By – Sumedha Mahajan