Keeping with the trend of setting hottest month it is now likely February 2016 will join January 16 and December ’15 in the list of hottest month in terms of abnormal temperature increase. While official data will be out over the next few days the early satellite derived data by meteorologists indicate February 2016 breaking the record set by January 2016.
Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who has put out the initial set of February numbers says
The global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for February, 2016 is +0.83 deg. C, up almost 0.3 deg C from the January value of +0.54 deg. C, which is a new record for the warmest monthly anomaly since satellite monitoring began in late 1978
His original post on this could be seen here
In what is likely to be an extremely disturbing trend Eric Holthaus, Meteorologist, who has since started tracking the daily temperature anomalies confirms the Northern Hemisphere has reached a threshold limit of abnormal warming indicating potentially new records to be set in the coming months. The early days of March has seen the Northern Hemisphere temperature almost 2 degrees higher than normal.
While one cannot disregard the influence of El Nino on these abnormal warming considering we are amidst one of the strongest El Nino episodes in recent times that has just started to wane off is there something else which is also aiding this warming.
Maddle Stone, Writer with Gizmodo, gives an alternate take to this abnormal warming. In her recent article she argues the current phase of Pacific Decadal Oscillation is possibly playing a role in bringing up stored Ocean Heat accumulated over the last 15 years or so.
According to Maddle Stone with PDO now moving into warm phase since 2014 the stored up ocean heat is moving up the surface resulting in the abnormally warm temperatures.
In 2014, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)—a recurring climate pattern that you can think of as a longer-term version of El Niño—shifted from a cool phase to a warm phase. Around the same time, the trade winds began to settle down. The result? Warm water started circulating back to the ocean’s surface.