Hot on the heels of record-breaking temperatures in January, global temperatures in February smashed previous monthly records by an unprecedented amount.
That’s according to data from NASA, which has now sparked warnings of a climate emergency.
February was the third consecutive month to break the record, which is calculated by setting the temperature for a particular month against the average temperature from that month between 1951 and 1980.
Last month was 1.35 degrees Celsius above the norm.
This easily surpasses the margin of 1.14 degrees Celsius from January of this year, which also set a record.
The margin was considerably wider in the Northern hemisphere, at 2.76 degress Celsius, and the Arctic, which clocked a massive 5.36 degrees Celsius increase.
It confirms preliminary analysis from earlier this month, indicating the record-breaking temperatures.
Climate analysts say the result is a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases.
Although the temperatures have been spurred by a very large El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, the current temperatures are smashing records set during the last large El Nino in 1998, which was at least as strong as the current one.
Monthly global temperature findings date back to 1880, but never before have three consecutive months so far outpaced historical averages.
Illustrating the significance of the February hike, Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who directs the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, wrote on Twitter that he rarely comments on individual findings but felt the need this month because it was a “special” case.
Stefan Rahmstorf, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research is describing it as a climate emergency.
The unprecedented temperatures have led to unprecedented consequences, particularly in the Arctic where sea ice levels this winter have hit record lows.
February did not break the record for the hottest month, since that is only likely to happen during the summer, when most of the world’s land mass heats up.