Seven climate records set so far in 2016
From soaring temperatures in Alaska and India to Arctic sea ice melting and CO2 concentrations rising, this year is smashing records around the world.
This week we’re focusing on climate change and its effects. Worldwide, heat records have been broken for 13 months in a row, an unprecedented streak of warmth that has stunned climate scientists and heightened concerns over the future livability of parts of the planet. Look out for a selection of our best writing on the matter — and follow Guardian US.
1. Arctic sea ice is melting at a rate that by September could see it beat the record low set in 2012.
The maximum extent of sea ice in winter was at a record low, and the extent in May was the lowest for that month ever, by more than 500,000 sq km.
2. Every month this year has been the hottest on record globally for that month.
May, data published by Nasa revealed, was no exception. Nasa’s dataset, one of three main global surface temperature records, shows February recorded the highest anomaly against long term average temperatures.
3. India recorded its hottest day ever on 19 May.
The mercury in Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan, rose to 51C (123F), as a nationwide drought that has affected more than 300 million people marched on, leaving armed guards at dams, and reservoirs well below their usual levels.
4. Alaska, along with the rest of the Arctic, has experienced record-breaking heat.
Spring was the warmest on record in the state, with an average temperature of 0C, and the average year-to-date temperature has been 5.5C above the long term average.
5. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been breaking records every year for decades …
… but the size of the margin by which the record is forecast to break the annual record in 2016 is striking and itself a record. The increase for 2016 is expected to be 3.1 parts per million, up from an annual average of 2.1.
6. Australia, no stranger to record-breaking heat, just clocked up its hottest autumn yet.
Average temperatures were 1.86C above the average, beating the previous record of 1.64C above average, set in 2005.
7. The Great Barrier Reef, a natural wonder and world heritage site, experienced its worst ever coral bleaching event, as a blob of warm water made its way around the world.
An aerial study found that just 7% of the reef escaped bleaching, which can lead to the coral permanently dying.
Originally published at www.theguardian.com on June 17, 2016.