Environment

2016 Weather Is off to a Terrifying Start

April 17th 2016

By:
Alex Mierjeski

It's getting hotter in here. And by here, we mean, everywhere.

Since the beginning of 2016, scientists have observed the hottest three-month start of any year on record.

According to NASA data released on Friday, the previous record set in 2015 was shattered — and by record amounts — in March, February and January.

Climate Data

The data is a little confusing, but here's what it means.

The numbers show the change in temperature in "Land-Ocean Temperature Index in 0.01 degrees Celsius" compared to the average between 1951 and 1981. If you divide the numbers by 100 and then multiple by 1.8, you'll get the temperature change in Fahrenheit. That quick calculation shows temperature variances of 2.3 degrees in March, 2.4 degrees in February, and 2.0 in January. As you can see, those spikes over the average are much larger in 2016 than in any previous year, even record breaking years like 2015.

Rising global temperatures have been spurred along by weather events like strong El Niño seasons, but experts warn that man-made pollution is the single strongest contributing factor.

Some dispute the validity of climate change science, but advocates point to a growing consensus among climate experts that the scientific debate about the phenomenon generally lacks substance, as a paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last week found.