Across Regions, News March 2024, Weather/Climate

Record-breaking heat: February 2024 declared hottest on record

In a stark reminder of the escalating climate crisis, scientists have confirmed that February 2024 was the warmest February ever recorded globally. This marks the ninth consecutive month to shatter temperature records, signaling an alarming trend.

Data released by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) indicates that February 2024 was 1.77°C warmer than the pre-industrial average (1850-1900) and 0.81°C above the 1991-2020 average.

What’s more concerning is that February’s ocean temperatures also reached record highs. The average global sea surface temperature was 21.06°C (69.9°F), surpassing the previous record of 20.98°C (69.77°F) set in August 2023.

Scientists attribute this unprecedented warming to:

  • Human-induced greenhouse gas emissions: The continuous burning of fossil fuels is the primary driver of climate change, trapping heat in the atmosphere.
  • Natural climate variability: Patterns like El Niño can temporarily elevate global temperatures.

Consequences of record-breaking heat:

  • Extreme weather intensification: Heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and floods are becoming more severe and frequent.
  • Sea level rise: Warming oceans expand and melt ice caps, leading to coastal inundation.
  • Ecosystem disruption: Plants, animals, and habitats are struggling to adapt, leading to biodiversity loss.

“Climate change isn’t a belief. It isn’t a religion. It isn’t a political party. It’s reality. Whether we believe in it or not doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening, and the longer we deny it, the more difficult and expensive it will be to address,” says Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy.

Dr. Peter Gleick, President Emeritus of the Pacific Institute and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, confirms: “Climate change is happening, it’s caused by humans, and it’s already having a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods. The longer we wait to confront it, the harder and more expensive it will get.”

Related sources:
Earth posts warmest February and ninth straight record-setting month
Heat record broken for ninth consecutive month
Image: People watch the sunset at a park on an unseasonably warm day, Feb. 25, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

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