April Was the Warmest Ever Recorded for Planet Earth

May 15th 2016

Aron Macarow

Last month will go down as the warmest April on record for the planet — at least until next year.

Temperature date from NASA for the month of April 2016.

April was 1.11 degrees Celsius hotter than the average global temperature for the month from 1951 to 1980, according to data released Saturday by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

That's almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than any previous measurement for that particular month. It's also almost half a degree warmer than the previous record setter, April 2010.

If a degree of temperature change doesn't sound alarming, let the experts at The Weather Channel set you straight.

"Defeating a previous record by a few tenths of a degree may not sound overwhelming," The Weather Channel said about the agency's findings. "[But] in the world of climate statistics, computed from worldwide temperatures, this is yet another record-shattering figure."

Global average temperature increases of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times have been linked to all kinds of potentially negative outcomes, from sharp sea level rises to mass extinctions, though we simply don't know exactly what the effect would be. The numbers from NASA may seem minuscule, but they could indicate that we've moved much closer than we'd like to the 2-degree target that the scientific community has been warning us to avoid.

April will also go down as the seventh consecutive month in which we've experienced record-shattering warmth. This means that the last seven months have been the warmest on record. Ever.

Warmest months on record with temperature increase in Celsius.

From October 2015 through April 2016, every month has been warmer by more than 1 degree Celsius than NASA's averages for 1951 through 1980. Before October 2015, no single month had ever been a whole degree warmer on average since at least 1880.

If that doesn't alarm you, perhaps this tweet from Gavin Schmidt will get your attention. Schmidt — the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies — tweeted last month that he believes we have more than a “99 percent chance of an annual record in 2016":