It seems that there just isn't going to be any let up to the heat people have been facing for the past few months.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have just declared January of this year as the warmest month ever to be recorded. This means the Earth has been plagued with record-breaking heat for the ninth straight month now.
According to the space agency, January 2016 clocked in temperatures that reached 2.03 degrees Fahrenheit above normal levels, which is considered to be the highest margin of any recorded month.
Experts at NOAA, however, used a different set of computations to determine the temperature levels in January. They found that temperatures last month reached 1.87 degrees above normal.
While this is still particularly high, the environment agency said that it is only the second largest margin ever to be recorded. The biggest one was detected in December 2015.
NOAA added that the average global temperature for the first month of 2016 reached 55.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which easily surpassed the former recorded for January 2007. Records for global temperature averages stretch back to 1880.
Low Levels Of Arctic Sea Ice
Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist at NOAA, explained that some parts of Asia, Europe and the United States experienced patches of colder-than-normal temperatures, but these readings were surpassed by off-the-chart warming that occurred in the Arctic.
She said that areas in Alaska, Siberia and Northwest Canada recorded temperatures that were 9 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than average.
This significant warming is what caused the Arctic sea ice to reach its lowest point during the first month of the year.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center said that the average Arctic sea ice for January 2016 was only 5.2 million square miles. This is 90,000 square miles below the lowest point that was recorded in 2011.
The reading for the month is also 402,000 square miles less than normal for an entire 30-year period.
The nine straight months of record-setting heat the Earth has been experiencing recently mirrors a similar event that occurred from June 1997 to February 1998. This period also corresponds to the last time the planet suffered from a large-scale El Nino phenomenon.
Blunden said that the longest string of hot months on record happened in 1944, which reached 10 straight months. However, it is possible that that record will be reached this year if the current trend keeps up until February.
Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | Flickr