Heat in February breaks global records, researchers are alarmed

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According to meteorologists, this February is on the verge of breaking a record of heat records. The combination of man-made global warming and the natural climate phenomenon El Niño fuels extreme temperatures on land and in the oceans.

The heating pattern is so pronounced that climate data has long since broken new ground. This applies in particular to the temperatures at the sea surface, the acceleration of which puzzles experts.

“The planet is warming faster and faster. We are seeing extreme temperature increases in the ocean, the largest heat reservoir of our climate,” Dr. Joel Hirschi from the UK’s National Oceanographic Centre told the Guardian. “The scale at which previous sea surface temperature records have been broken far exceeds expectations. What this is due to remains a subject for scientific research.”

Record-breaking February after a series of historic hot spells

This February could become the hottest February on record, following already record-breaking months in 2023 and early 2024, according to Zeke Hausfather of Berkeley Earth. He explained that the current increase would correspond to 2°C warming above pre-industrial levels. However, this is likely to be the short-term warming peak of El Niño. A decrease in temperature and the development of a cooling La Niña would normally be a positive outlook. However, Hausfather says the climate’s behaviour has become more erratic and difficult to predict.

Shockwaves in February
The first half of February shocked weather observers around the world. Maximiliano Herrera, an expert on extreme temperatures, commented on the rise in thousands of station records with terms such as “madness” and “climate history is being rewritten.”. However, it was not only the number of records that was impressive but also the extreme deviations from the previous record level.

Particularly striking were heat records in places such as Morocco, northern China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Japan, North Korea, the Maldives and Belize.

Oceanographic experts are also concerned about the continuing record temperatures. The oceans are heating up tremendously – a dangerous condition for strong storms later in the year. Hirschi from the British National Oceanographic Center expects March to even exceed last year’s August record by 0.1 to 0.2 °C. As March is also normally one of the hottest months for the oceans due to the late summer in the southern hemisphere, extreme forecasts are alarming.

  • source: APA/picture: pixabay.com
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