The latest monthly report from NASA shows that April 2016 was the hottest April on record globally – and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records. And this new record exceeds the previous record for this time of year by the largest margin ever recorded, which makes it three months in a row that the monthly record has been broken by the largest ever margin, and seven months in a row that are at least 1°C above the 1951-80 mean for that month.
NASA’s figures show that the global temperature of land and sea was 1.11°C warmer in April than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980.
The new record broke the previous one by 0.24C, which was set in 2010, at 0.87C above the baseline average for April. That record itself broke one set three years earlier at 0.75C above the baseline average for April.
That almost certainly means that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, and probably by the largest margin ever.
The current accelerating temperature rise is being powered by a larger than average El Niño, a regular event involving a release of warm water across the Pacific Ocean. But it is not a one-off cause – it is not the biggest El Niño on record and is occurring against a background of rapid global warming. It is the combined effect that is creating the new temperature highs.