Record warmth across the globe, aided by a strong El Nino that peaked during the winter, has continued into February, leading to a 10-month streak of breaking monthly global temperature records, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Thursday.
The February average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 2.18 degrees Fahrenheit (1.21 Celsius) above the 20th century average, the NOAA said in its monthly report.
"This was not only the highest for February in the 1880-2016 record (surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.59 degrees Fahrenheit/ 0.33 degrees Celsius), but it surpassed the all-time monthly record set just two months ago in December 2015 by 0.16 degrees Fahrenheit (0.09 Celsius)," the agency said.
February also marked the 10th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken.
For the month, most of Earth's land surfaces were warmer than average or much warmer than average, with record warmth notable across various areas of South America, much of southern Africa, southern and eastern Europe, around the Urals of Russia, and most of Southeast Asia stretching to northern Australia.
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Only a few pockets in Asia were cooler than average, including part of Far East Russia, with one area record cold in the upper Kamchatka Peninsula, it said.
Meanwhile, the average temperature for the globe during December-February was also the highest for the three-month period in the 1880-2016 record.
Strong El Nino conditions, which can partly explain the current record heat, were still present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during February.
This was "evidenced by continued record warmth across much of this region, but temperatures were beginning to decrease from their highs near the end of 2015," the NOAA added.