Happy Earth Day
Feliz Dia De La Tierra
Apr 20, 2016
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Coming off of the hottest year on record globally, international leaders are meeting this week in New York to sign the historic Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement endeavors to limit planetary warming by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C (3.8°F) above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F).” However, if the first 3 months of 2016 are any indication, meeting that challenge will be increasingly difficult.
This new baseline provides a clearer view of how much temperatures have risen compared to pre-industrial levels and better represents the state of global temperature with respect to the goals set forward by the Paris Climate Agreement.
Using this method, the NASA/NOAA data indicate that the period of January-March was 1.48°C (2.66°F) above that 1881-1910 baseline. That’s easily the hottest three-month stretch on record for the planet and dangerously close to the numbers in the Paris Agreement goals.
During that three-month stretch, February stands out as the first month in recorded history to be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, reaching 1.55°C (2.79°F). That’s a milestone similar to when atmospheric carbon dioxide passed 400 parts per million for the first time in 2014. They’re both largely symbolic: while planetary temperatures are likely to cool in the coming months as El Niño fades, the spike points to an ominous future if emissions aren’t slowed.
See our full report for the methodology of the calculations and a link to an embeddable interactive.
Jan 18, 2018
2017 was the third-warmest year on record globally, and the warmest without an El Niño — only 2015 and 2016 were warmer.
Oct 7, 2015
Global average temperatures are generally higher in El Niño years vs. La Niña years.
Apr 20, 2017
This Earth Day, we step back to see what earth science has taught us about the planet, and for more than a century we have known that carbon dioxide is warming our world.