Climate Change Set 9th Straight Month of Record Temperatures in February

Mar 8, 2024

The Earth passed two grim climate milestones last month. It saw its ninth straight month of record heat. And it had the hottest worldwide ocean temperatures ever measured. The data was captured by Copernicus. It's a climate tracking service in Europe that released a report Wednesday.

Climate change worked alongside the increased effect of the current El Niño weather pattern. This pushed global temperatures 1.77 degrees Celsius (°C) higher than the pre-industrial era roughly 200 years ago. Meanwhile, ocean temperatures spiked to 21.06°C last month. That broke a record set last August.  

“February joins the long streak of records of the last few months,” Copernicus's director said in a statement. “As (striking) as this might appear, it is not really (stunning) as (an ever warming) climate system (of course) leads to new (heat) extremes.”

The heat spikes around the world varied by region, stated Climate Central. It also released a report Wednesday. Climate Central is a New Jersey service that tracks climate. It tracked weather shifts in 678 cities. It observed a spike of 5.6°C in Minneapolis, 4.2°C in Tehran, and 2°C in Milan. 

Climate Central found that nearly 5 billion people lived through “at least one day of (heat) that would be (highly unlikely) without the (impact) of carbon.”  

The two reports follow a warning from marine experts. They caution that warming waters may be leading to the worst mass coral bleaching event ever on Earth.  

Hannah Cloke is a climate expert in the UK. Cloke told CNN that if this data is ignored, “our children’s generation, and all those that follow, will be (right) in pointing to the people who lived in 2024 and cursing our reckless stupidity.” 

Reflect: What might happen in your local ecosystem if temperatures continue to rise month by month? What would happen if average temperatures started to fall? 

Photo from Reuters.

Question
Based on the information in the article, a combination of climate change and El Niño have led to _______. (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. cooler ocean temperatures
b. record-high temperatures
c. less carbon pollution across the globe
d. confusion among scientists
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