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February heat leaves experts speechless

By Agency | March 22nd 2016

WASHINGTON: Earth got so hot last month that federal scientists struggled to find words, describing temperatures as astronomical, staggering and strange. They warned that the climate may have moved into a new and hotter neighbourhood.

This was not just another global heat record broken in recent times and triggered by a super El Nino and man-made global warming.

February obliterated old marks by such a margin that it was the most above-normal month since meteorologists started keeping track in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The old record was set just last December and the last three months have been the most above-normal months on record, said NOAA Climate Scientist Jessica Blunden.

Also,  NASA, University of Alabama Huntsville’s team and the private Remote Sensing System team also said February had the biggest departure from normal on record. “The departures are what we would consider astronomical. It’s on land. It’s in the oceans. It’s in the upper atmosphere. It’s in the lower atmosphere. The Arctic had record low sea ice,” said Ms Blunden.

Georgia Tech Climate Scientist Kim Cobb said: “When I look at the new February 2016 temperatures, I feel like I am looking at something out of a sci-fi movie. It is a portent of things to come and is sobering that such temperature extremes are already on our doorstep,” she said in an email.

NASA’s Chief Climate Scientist Gavin Schmidt said this month was different, calling it “obviously strange.”

“This was due to the long-term warming from heat-trapping gases and the powerful El Nino, so these types of records will continue for a few more months, but probably will not be a permanent situation,” Mr Schmidt said in an email.

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