In the world’s warmest February ever, more climate records are broken

According to the EU’s climate agency, last month was the warmest February on record, bringing the streak of monthly records to nine. Since June 2023, new seasonal high temperatures have been recorded every month. While Antarctic sea ice has once again fallen to extremely low levels, the global sea surface is at its hottest point ever. Although El NiƱo, a weather phenomenon in the Pacific, continues to raise temperatures, human-caused climate change is the primary cause of the warmth.


“The primary offender is without a doubt heat-trapping greenhouse gases,” emphasizes Prof. Celeste Saulo, the World Meteorological Organization’s Secretary General. The UN climate body claims that carbon dioxide concentrations have reached their highest point in at least two million years and have risen to almost record highs once more in the last year. According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the warming gasses contributed to February 2024 being roughly 1.77C warmer than “pre-industrial” times, or before humans began burning huge amounts of fossil fuels. By about 0.12C, this surpasses the previous record set in 2016. With these temperatures, western Australia, southeast Asia, southern Africa, and South America experienced exceptionally intense heat waves.


Following the confirmation last month of the first year-long breach of 1.5C warming, the 12-month average currently stands at 1.56C above pre-industrial levels. About 200 nations came together in Paris in 2015 to attempt to limit global warming to less than 1.5C in order to mitigate some of the worst effects of climate change. Although the Paris Agreement’s barrier is usually understood to represent a 20-year average, it hasn’t been broken yet, but the unstoppable run of records shows how close we are to doing so.

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