February on course to break unprecedented number of heat records

February on course to break unprecedented number of heat records

The Guardian reports:

February is on course to break a record number of heat records, meteorologists say, as human-made global heating and the natural El Niño climate pattern drive up temperatures on land and oceans around the world.

A little over halfway into the shortest month of the year, the heating spike has become so pronounced that climate charts are entering new territory, particularly for sea-surface temperatures that have persisted and accelerated to the point where expert observers are struggling to explain how the change is happening.

“The planet is warming at an accelerating rate. We are seeing rapid temperature increases in the ocean, the climate’s largest reservoir of heat,” said Dr Joel Hirschi, the associate head of marine systems modelling at the UK National Oceanography Centre. “The amplitude by which previous sea surface temperatures records were beaten in 2023 and now 2024 exceed expectations, though understanding why this is, is the subject of ongoing research.”

Humanity is on a trajectory to experience the hottest February in recorded history, after a record January, December, November, October, September, August, July, June and May, according to the Berkeley Earth scientist Zeke Hausfather.

He said the rise in recent weeks was on course for 2C of warming above pre-industrial levels, though this should be the brief, peak impact of El Niño if it follows the path of previous years and starts to cool down in the months ahead. [Continue reading…]

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