A record fire-storm in Canada fueled by record warmth. Record ice-melt in Greenland and the Arctic sea, driven by off-the-charts warmth in the far north. And, NASA reported Friday, we’ve just been through the hottest April and the hottest January-April on record — by far.
Last month smashed the record for hottest April, as this chart of NASA data (via Rahmstorf) shows:
How big a jump was April 2016 compared to the historical record? In an email, Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, notes that “The margin by which April beats the previous record April is three times larger (0.24 °C) than the margin of any previous record April (biggest was 0.08 °C).”
Also, this has easily been the hottest January-April on record, which isn’t a surprise given that last month’s record was hot on the heels of the hottest March on record by far, which followed the hottest February on record by far, and hottest January on record by far.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, points out on twitter that there is a pattern between how hot Jan-April is and how hot the full year is. He notes that if this pattern holds, then there is a greater than 99% chance that 2016 will be the hottest year on record. (Note: The chart below uses a different temperature scale than the previous chart: It compares recent temperatures to the preindustrial average rather than 1950 to 1981).