February 2020 was the second-hottest February ever recorded. And according to a Friday report by scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Northern Hemisphere winter months as a whole – December 2019 through February 2020 – were also the second-hottest in recorded history.
According to the scientists, the first two months of 2020 also ranked as the second-warmest such period in the 141-year climate history record.
The global temperature in February 2020 “was the highest monthly temperature departure without an El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean,” the NOAA noted. The El Niño is a series of climate variations that usually result in warm water along the equatorial Pacific region.
Record-warm December to February temperatures were observed across much of the western half of Russia and parts of Europe, eastern Asia, northern Australia and across the Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific Oceans.
Arctic sea ice coverage was 4% below the 1981-2010 average in February, while Antarctic ice coverage was 6.5% below that average, NOAA scientists added.
An analysis by the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise (IMBIE), an international collaboration of polar scientists, released on March 11 revealed that polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990’s.
The scientists found that the rapid melting of polar ice caps could lead to an “extra 17 centimeters of sea level rise by 2100.”
The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization also revealed in early December that the past decade was the hottest ever experienced in recorded history.
NOAA / Crickey Conservation Society 2020.