February Record Heat Stuns Experts, Should Urge Climate Mobilization

The above graph, using data from NASA, plots monthly average global temperatures as a departure from the 1951-1980 average. We can see the last two data points in the blue line shooting up and heading off the chart — first January at a record-breaking +1.14°C (2.07°F) warmer than the average January, then February at a record-breaking +1.35°C (2.43°F) warmer than the average February. That looks bad, but how bad is it really? Let’s see what the experts say:

The departures are what we would consider astronomical. … Everything everywhere is a record this month, except Antarctica. It’s insane.” — Jessica Blunden , NOAA climate scientist

“I feel like I’m looking at something out of a sci-fi movie. … It is a portent of things to come, and it is sobering that such temperature extremes are already on our doorstep.””
— Kim Cobb, Georgia Tech climate scientist

staggering … The last six months have been … like a punch in the nose. … We are in a new era.” — Deke Arndt, global monitoring chief, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Asheville, North Carolina

Wow.” / “Normally I don’t comment on individual months (too much weather, not enough climate), but last month was special.” / “obviously strange.” — Gavin Schmidt, chief climate scientist, NASA

a bombshell of a climate report … a true shocker … we are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2.0°C warming over pre-industrial levels.” — Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, Weather Underground (wunderground.com)

it is a reminder of how perilously close we are now to permanent dangerous-levels of warmth. It is yet another warning of the urgency of reducing global carbon emissions.” — Michael Mann, director, Penn State Earth System Science Center

really quite stunning … it’s completely unprecedented. We are in a kind of climate emergency now.” — Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, Germany, and visiting professorial fellow, University of New South Wales

The alarm coming from some of the most knowledgeable persons about climate should urge us to pull in the Paris Climate Agreement‘s timetable of zero net carbon emissions by sometime in the latter half of the century, and set our sites on the Climate Mobilization’s timetable of 2025 for the U.S.A. (and 2030 for the world). That means mobilizing the economy to produce clean energy, shutdown fossil fuel extraction operations, and develop CO2 removal machines with the speed and resolve of a nation at war.


What can everyday people do about the climate emergency? We can petition the government to do its job and protect us. And we can vote out those (supposed) public servants blocking action. For the U.S.A., they can be fairly reliably identified by the letter “R” next to their names. That letter stands for the Republican Party (aka, Grand Oil Party), the only major party in the democratic world that believes no national or worldwide climate action is needed.


Image: Monthly global surface temperatures (land and ocean) from NASA for the period 1880 to February 2016, expressed in departures from the 1951-1980 average. The red line shows the 12-month running average. (Stephan Okhuijsen, datagraver.com)


plots monthly “February Smashes Earth’s All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin” By Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, Weather Underground March 13, 2016

The departures “Beyond record hot, February was ‘astronomical’ and ‘strange'” by Seth Borenstein, Associated Press; March 17, 2016

Wow Gavin Schmidt @ClimateOfGavin via Twitter

Normally I Gavin Schmidt @ClimateOfGavin via Twitter

a bombshell “February Smashes Earth’s All-Time Global Heat Record by a Jaw-Dropping Margin” By Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, Weather Underground March 13, 2016

it is a reminder “It’s Official: February Was The Warmest Month On Record” by Lydia O’Connor, The Huffington Post; 2016-03-17

really quite stunning “WunderBlog: NASA’s report on February’s record-breaking heat is an ominous milestone” By Meteor Blades, Daily Kos; Mar 14, 2016

Paris Climate Agreement “ADOPTION OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT” – UNFCCC; Conference of the Parties Twenty-first session; Paris, 30 November to 11 December 2015

Climate Mobilization’s timetable The Climate Mobilization – Expanded Elements of Mobilization

CO2 removal machines “Climate Change vs. Civilization: We’ve Got Work to Do” The Paragraph; March 3, 2016

reliably identified “The GOP’s Plan to Thwart the Paris Climate Conference” BY BEN ADLER, The New Republic; November 23, 2015

Grand Oil Party “How the ‘Grand Oil Party’ Got Its Name” – The Paragraph; 2006-08-16

the only “Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World?” By Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine; 2015-09-27

* * *

By Quinn Hungeski, TheParagraph.com, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2016

Notify of

Comments Protected by WP-SpamShield Spam Filter

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments