Earth Experiences 400th Consecutive Warmer-than-Average Month
The Earth has now had 33 years of rising and above-average temperatures. According to recent reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's monthly global climate report, this marks the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-usual monthly averages.
The last time the Earth had a cooler-than-average month was in 1984 when US President Ronald Reagan was in office for his second term, and the Apple Macintosh personal computer had just gone on sale.
The NOAA report also said that the month of April had the third-highest temperatures of any April in NOAA's recorded history. NOAA started gathering climate data in 1880.
Researchers from around the world have no problem with pointing to specific causes -- namely that of human impact on global climate change.
"It's mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming," NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. "Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future."
While there have been efforts to reduce overall CO2 emissions, there still remains pushback from supporters of fossil fuels. There's also a growing reliance on fossil fuels coming from developing nations with rapidly expanding populations, economies, and technologies. However, those developing nations still don't use as much fossil fuels when compared to global powers like the U.S.
"We live in and share a world that is unequivocally, appreciably and consequentially warmer than just a few decades ago, and our world continues to warm," said NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt. "Speeding by a '400' sign only underscores that, but it does not prove anything new."
Climatologists have used the 20th-century average as a benchmark for their measurements. That allows them to 'goal post' when they look through climate data. This type of benchmarking also gives them the opportunity to account for climate variability.
"The thing that really matters is that, by whatever metric, we've spent every month for several decades on the warm side of any reasonable baseline," Arndt said.
These rising global temperatures have hit certain areas harder than others, the report detailed. The heat was most unusually concentrated in Europe. The continent had its warmest April in recorded history. The heat wave also affected Australia and gave it its second-warmest month ever recorded.
There were even particular portions of Asia that saw extreme heat. One particular case was in southern Pakistan. The town of Nawabshah hit an incredibly high 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 50.5 Celsius) on April 30. Climatologists are currently trying to determine if this is the hottest April temperature on record for the entire planet.
There was also another milestone detailed in the NOAA monthly report. Carbon dioxide readings -- the gas most closely linked to global warming -- hit its highest levels in recorded history. Carbon dioxide now has over 410 parts per million. NOAA's numbers aren't the only ones being leveraged against this new data. According to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, this high amount of carbon dioxide is the highest amount its been in the past 800,000 years -- comparing modern numbers with those found through extensive climatological research.