Another disconcerting report from top U.S. climate agencies was issued this month.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported that last month was Earth’s second-hottest February on record since at least 1880. Meanwhile the extent of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica hit record monthly lows.
NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information stated last week that the average global temperature in February 2017 was 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 53.9 degrees
NOAA added that only February 2016 was warmer, at an astounding 2.43 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Last year’s temperatures exceeded all previous years since record-keeping began 137 years ago, making it the hottest year on record.
Human-caused global warming was responsible for a majority of the annual temperature gains, according to NOAA and NASA scientists. However, this fact is largely ignored by the Trump administration.
U.S. residents wouldn’t be surprised to learn that last month was exceptionally warm. February 2017 saw prevalent record warmth across the country and a series of record highs. The uncharacteristically warm winter was also experienced by other parts of the world
NOAA also said that from December 2016 to February 2017, the global average temperature was 1.60 degrees Fahrenheit more than the 20th-century average of 53.8 degrees. This was the second warmest for this season, after December 2015 to February 2016.
In second place also came the first two months of 2017. January through February 2017’s year-to-date average temperature was 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit above average, just below the first two months of 2016.
Sea ice in trouble:
These hot temperatures spell trouble for the planet’s sea ice.
Based on NOAA data analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, both the Arctic and Antarctic seas recorded the smallest February sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979
The U.S. climate agency reported that the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 24.4% below the 1981-2010 average for February, while in the Arctic region, the average sea ice extent was 7.6% below average.
Shrinking sea ice, is not only caused by warmer air temperatures, but also due to increasing ocean temperatures, in part because of climate change caused by humans.
Oceans may be warming about 13% faster than scientists previously thought, according to a new study. A paper published March 10 in the journal “Science Advances” wrote that the warming rate from 1992 is nearly two times the warming rate from 1960.
NOAA also said that the globally averaged sea surface temperature also ranked as second-highest on record for February, the December-February season and the two-month year-to-date.