April 2017 had the second-highest global surface temperatures in modern record-keeping next to April 2016, according to monthly analyses released this week.
Last April emerged as the second warmest April in 137 years, with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) calculating that Earth’s mean temperature over land and water was 0.88 degrees Celsius above average, or from 1951 to 1980. It trailed April 2016’s 1.06 degrees Celsius.
“The two top April temperature anomalies have occurred during the past two years,” noted a NASA statement.
April 2016 was the warmest on record at 1.06 degrees Celsius hotter than April mean temperature, while April 2017’s was 0.18 degrees Celsius cooler than it. The third warmest April, on the other hand, happened in 2010 and was 0.87 degrees Celsius hotter than the mean.
The GISS team’s monthly analysis was gathered from publicly accessible data obtained by around 6,300 meteorological outposts worldwide, as well as Antarctic research stations and instruments that measure sea surface temperature.
Modern record-keeping of global temperatures started around 1880, as previous observations did not comprise enough of the planet.
A separate independent analysis from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) also deemed April this year the second-warmest April in its records since 1891. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on the other hand, is scheduled to release its global report Thursday, May 18.
Both the NASA and JMA data showed that 2017’s first four months were Earth’s second-warmest January-April period. The highest April warm temperature anomalies were concentrated in eastern Asia, namely Mongolia and central and eastern Russia, and sections of Alaska and the Arctic Ocean.
A year earlier, the El Niño phenomenon contributed to record-warm temperatures.
Global Warming At Play
While it didn’t get a temperature boost from the El Niño that affected the same period in the previous year, January 2017 still surfaced as the third warmest January in 137 years.
2016, on the other hand, is the warmest year on Earth since record-keeping started in 1880, and it is the third year in a row to set a new record for average global temperatures.
According to NASA, Earth’s global temperature has increased 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Arctic ice minimum has dropped by 13.3 percent each decade, while average sea level worldwide has risen almost 7 inches in the last century.
The answer to the seemingly simple question of what causes extreme temperatures and weather conditions is often a complex one. Scientists, in the past, usually avoid linking specific climate events to global warming, as there are different factors at play.
But that was before. In a recent study, a team from Stanford University found that global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases upped the likelihood and intensified the severity of some of the hottest events for over 80 percent of the world’s surface area.
Apart from human influence, the enhanced volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released from fossil fuel burning, deforestation, and natural occurrences are thought to result in global warming occurring in the past five decades.