We Just Experienced 400 Straight Months of Unusual Warmth
That means the last time Earth was cooler than that average was December 1984—the same month Band Aid released "Do They Know It's Christmas."
This three-decade streak is not some fluke, NOAA scientists remarked.
The rising temps could be explained by natural causes such as an El Niño, but as Sanchez noted, "if you were to remove the human factor, you would still see a variability, but it would be up and down."
For instance, the cooling effects of a La Niña or a volcanic eruption would have brought temperatures down on some years. But it's clear that humans are influencing Earth's temperature and the climate by burning fossil fuels.
NOAA announced yesterday that April 2018 was the third warmest April in the agency's global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. What's more, the period between January to April was the fifth warmest in the 139-year record.
That's pretty remarkable, especially if you live in the U.S. If you recall, it was so unusually cold in the East Coast during winter that President Donald Trump, who often confuses the weather and climate, remarked, "perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming."
While North America was cooler-than-average during this stretch, other countries and much of the Southern Hemisphere set heat records. Central Pakistan, for example, experienced a blistering 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit on April 30.
This chart details some of the month's climate anomalies:
"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," NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt told USA TODAY. "Speeding by a '400' sign only underscores that, but it does not prove anything new."
"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 added.
As for Earth's vulnerable poles, the April average for Arctic sea ice extent was the second smallest in the 39-year record at 378,000 square miles (6.8 percent) below the 1981-2010 average, NOAA said.
On the other end, NOAA said that Antarctic sea ice extent during April was 320,000 square miles (12.3 percent) below the 1981-2010 average, the fifth smallest April extent on record. Antarctic sea ice rapidly expanded during the first half of April, but slowed later in the month.
April 2018 Sea Ice and Snow CoverNOAA
'Kicking Ass for Her Generation': Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat
By Julia Conley
Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.
In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.
‘Plastic Is Lethal’: Groundbreaking Report Reveals Health Risks at Every Stage in Plastics Life Cycle
With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the world's oceans every year, there is growing concern about the proliferation of plastics in the environment. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the full impact of plastic pollution on human health.
But a first-of-its-kind study released Tuesday sets out to change that. The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment. While previous studies have focused on particular products, manufacturing processes or moments in the creation and use of plastics, this study shows that plastics pose serious health risks at every stage in their production, use and disposal.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.