This was easily the hottest March — and hottest January-to-March — on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s latest monthly report makes clear Mother Nature is just getting warmed up:
- March 2015 was not only the hottest March in their 135-year of keeping records, it beat “the previous record of 2010 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).”
- January-to-March was not only the hottest start to any year on record, it also beat “the previous record of 2002 by 0.09°F.”
- March was so warm that only two other months ever had a higher “departure from average” (i.e. temperature above the norm), February 1998 and January 2007, and they only beat March by “just 0.01°C (0.02°F).”
- Arctic sea ice hit its smallest March extent since records began in 1979.
Last week, NASA also reported this was the hottest three-month start of any year on record. In NASA’s database, though, this was the third warmest March on record. It was the warmest in the dataset of the Japan Meteorological Agency. These three agencies use slightly different methods for tracking global temperature, so their monthly and yearly rankings differ slightly, even as they all show the same long-term trend driven by carbon pollution.
It is increasingly likely that 2015 will be the hottest year on record. El Niños typically lead to global temperature records, as the short-term El Niño warming adds to the underlying long-term global warming trend. NOAA has predicted there’s a 60 percent chance the El Niño it declared last month will continue all year. If it does, 2015 may well top the 2014 record by a significant margin.