This past March was the hottest in modern history and the 11th consecutive month in which a monthly global temperature record has been broken, US officials say.
- Global average temperature 1.22 degrees Celsius above 20th century average
- Water temperatures also on rise
- Eastern and northern Australia register record warmth
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that the string of record-setting months is the longest in its 137 years of record-keeping.
The globally-averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for March 2016 “was the highest for the month of March in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880”, the agency said.
Planet-wide, the average temperature was 1.22 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 12.7C, NOAA’s report said.
“This surpassed the previous record set in 2015 by 0.58F (0.32C), and marks the highest monthly temperature departure among all 1,635 months on record.”
These temperature spikes are a cause of concern in the scientific community because they indicate the pace of global warming is accelerating.
Last year was the Hottest March on record, edging out 2014, which held the title previously.
“Overall, the nine highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred in the past nine months,” NOAA said.
“March 2016 also marks the 11th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken, the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of record-keeping.”
Hottest March: Records set in Australia
The report showed that most of the Earth’s land surfaces were hotter than average in March, “with record warmth notable across eastern Brazil, most of eastern and central Africa, much of south-eastern Asia, and large portions of northern and eastern Australia”.
North-west Canada and northern and western Asia saw temperatures at least three degrees above the 1981-2010 average.
Australia endured its hottest March in the country’s 107-year period of record, at 1.7 degrees above the 1961-1990 average.
Sweden, Denmark and Norway were also unusually warm.
In the world’s waters, temperatures were also on the rise, registering the highest global ocean temperature for March since 1880, and beating out the previous record set last year.
“The seven highest monthly global ocean temperature departures have all occurred in the past seven months,” NOAA said.