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New temperature records highlight global warming’s continued rise

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March 2015 was the warmest March globally in 136 years, at least

Last year was the warmest year on record

CNN —  

New climate change records have come along to remind us that Earth’s thermostat is steadily pushing upward.

More exactly, there are two global high temperature records and a smattering of climate change low points.

March 2015 was the warmest March since record-keeping began in 1880, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the first quarter of 2015 was the warmest first quarter on record in those same 136 years.

That gives 2015 a stab at trumping the hottest year on record – which was 2014.

The uninterrupted continuation of the warming trend is no surprise. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 17 years.

And though the rise in the last 10 years has been gentle by comparison, since 1910, the clear trend has been up, according to NASA’s Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index.

In the latter two thirds of that time, warming and the effects on climate have been epochal, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

That new March record

March 2015 edged past the last record high March, which was in 2010, rising by 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 C). Average global land and water temperatures for the first quarter of this year beat the last record first quarter, 2002, by the same margin.

March 2015 is the hottest March globally on record
March 2015 is the hottest March globally on record

Yet another broken record this March was more obvious to the eye. The expanse of Arctic sea ice shrunk to an absolute low for any March on record.

“The average Arctic sea ice extent for March was 430,000 square miles (7.2 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest March extent since records began in 1979,” NOAA said.

Small gains, large net loss