Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with April 2016 marking the warmest April ever recorded on this planet.
According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 58.68°F. That is a staggering 1.98°F above the 20th century average and 0.5°F above the former record that was set in 2010. This temperature was also the fourth highest departure from average for any month on record, behind March 2016, February 2016, and December 2015. Moreover, April marked the 12th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books.
While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm, including large parts of the Arctic and Southeast Asia. Here in the US, Alaska marked its warmest April ever recorded and Idaho, Oregon, and Washington each posted their second warmest on record.
These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were fueled by a combination of El Niño, which is now fading, and the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Research by Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution Program shows that while El Niño gives global temperatures a boost, the majority of the temperature increase is due to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It should also be noted that no other strong El Niño event has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently.
Year to date, the first four months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.