The last few months due to El Nino induced Warming the global average temperatures have been shooting through the roof with January and February setting new records for anomalous warmth across the globe. From December 2015 we have had the hottest month record broken continuously till February ’16. Last month saw some places in Northern Hemisphere see an average increase of almost 15°C compared to the climatological trends. Particularly places around the Arctic saw some of its hottest temperatures recorded ever during winters.
While the official numbers are not out yet but it appears going by the data available we could possibly see the light at the end of the tunnel in this warming episode. According to the March 2016 report generated by the Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama in Huntsville the March numbers are still showing a fairly high above average warming. March 2016 is now the third warmest month in the satellite era since 1978 and the warmest March recorded during this period as well.
We can see through the map Northern Hemisphere continues to see abnormal heating while the Tropics around the Pacific has had some of the warmest areas in the globe. What stands out in the case of March 2016 is pretty much the abnormal warmth is spread out over the entire globe rather than few patches of extreme heat skewing the numbers. February saw some extremely high anomalous heating closer to North Pole skew the averages creating that very high spike.
But the good news is we have possibly seen the peak of this warming episode going by the initial numbers available for March. The spike during February possibly is going to be the stand out month in this episode of record warmth. If one compares 2016 with the previous strong El Nino episode of 1998 we could see a pattern of the highest warmth recorded during the Northern Hemisphere Winter and the anomaly reducing through spring in time for Northern Hemisphere summer. With the oceans slowly but surely cooling down the current phase of El Nino is in its end game we could possibly say the highest point in this warm episode has been reached. February 2016 will possibly be the record anomalous month and will continue to stay there possibly for a few more years.
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