New research published by NASA has confirmed that January, 2016, was the hottest January ever recorded, with temperatures having soared well above any of those since recording began in 1880. The hottest January ever was directly after the hottest year ever recorded, with 2015 having smashed 2014’s global average temperature by.23 degrees Fahrenheit — an unprecedented and alarming climb in temperature in just one year.
The findings emerge amid a series of other studies which have identified similar trends outside of this January — the past three months, in fact, was the hottest three-month period ever — and verified links between human activity and climate change. Scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have pointed out that, while the hottest January and preceding hottest 12 months ever were aided by the heat-intensifying effects of El Niño, the extremity of global warming has now surpassed the capabilities of natural weather phenomena.
“2015 was remarkable even in the context of the ongoing El Niño,” states GISS Director Gavin Schmidt in the January news release. “Last year’s temperatures had an assist from El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing.”
— NASA (@NASA) January 20, 2016
Indeed, 15 of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2001, according to NASA.
With records the hottest January, the hottest years and greatest rise in temperature over one year stacking up in the very recent past, denial of the human impact on global temperatures has been rendered, conclusively, null and void.
— NASA Climate (@EarthVitalSigns) February 16, 2016
“The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.0 degree Celsius) since the late-19th century, a change largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere,” NASA states in its announcement, released in January.
With the earth the hottest it has ever been, heat is not the only form of extreme weather set to threaten, damage, or destroy human livelihood, in some way, on every continent.
The Met Office recently announced that December, 2015, was simultaneously the U.K.’s hottest ever, and wettest ever, recorded month, having resulted in disastrous and utterly unprecedented flooding throughout the country. Writing for Carbon Brief, Nick Reynard of the U.K. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology points out that this is no coincidence in this climate of “hottest ever-” records.
“In a warming world, we expect an intensification of rainfall since, put simply, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture,” said Reynard in his January article.
Aside from increasing the likelihood of agriculturally and economically devastating floods in the U.K. and many other countries, research by EcoWatch found that other disastrous events are made ever more likely by climate change, based on analysis of extreme events in the hottest years ever recorded. Droughts, tropical cyclones, wildfires, floods, snowstorms, heatwaves and an array of rising-sea-level-related damages worldwide have been scientifically linked to weather patterns irrefutably brought about by human activity.
In light of these gravely concerning findings about how humans have contributed to the recording of the hottest January ever, scientists, world leaders, and conservation organizations now urge the public to take responsibility and action on climate change.
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “[The] announcement not only underscores how critical [our] Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice…”
If that isn’t enough to urge the public into action to avoid 2016 — or any future year — breaking the “hottest year ever” record, perhaps President Obama’s concurrence, posted on Twitter in January, will.
The science couldn't be clearer – we owe it to our kids to do everything we can to combat climate change. pic.twitter.com/497Wkkve58
— President Obama (@POTUS) January 25, 2016
Though publicity is generating positive momentum at the moment, the planet is still smashing records for “hottest ever.” In the hottest January ever, parts of Australia suffered the lengthiest heatwave of above 40 degrees Celsius temperatures; drought has devastated agricultural industries in Asia, Europe and Africa, and clear goals on climate change are yet to be set by leading countries. Climate change remains — necessarily — the hottest topic of the decade.
[Images by NASA/Getty Images and Pretty Vectors/Shutterstock]