By Joe Romm
15 May 2016
(Climate Progress) – A record fire-storm in Canada fueled by record warmth. Record ice-melt in Greenland and the Arctic sea, driven by off-the-charts warmth in the far north. And, NASA reported Friday, we’ve just been through the hottest April and the hottest January-April on record — by far.
Last month smashed the record for hottest April, as this chart of NASA data (via Rahmstorf) shows.
How big a jump was April 2016 compared to the historical record? In an email, Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, notes that “The margin by which April beats the previous record April is three times larger (0.24 °C) than the margin of any previous record April (biggest was 0.08 °C).”
Also, this has easily been the hottest January-April on record, which isn’t a surprise given that last month’s record was hot on the heels of the hottest March on record by far, which followed the hottest February on record by far, and hottest January on record by far. […]
“It’s not just Alberta: Fires fuelled by warming climate are increasing,” as a CBC headline read last week. Arizona University climatologist Jonathan Overpeck expained, “The Alberta wildfires are an excellent example of what we’re seeing more and more of: warming means snow melts earlier, soils and vegetation dries out earlier, and the fire season starts earlier. It’s a train wreck.”
Tragically, the warming-driven wildfires themselves cause more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, an amplifying feedback that speeds up the very climate change that causes more wildfires.
It was especially hot in the Arctic in April, […] much as it has been all year. Climate models have always predicted that human-caused warming would be at least twice as fast in the Arctic as in the planet as a whole (as I explain here).
So it’s no surprise that with record-smashing warmth in the Arctic, we keep crushing the record for ice melt. In terms of land-locked ice, as we reported last month, “Summer-Like Temperatures Smash Ice Melt Records For Greenland.”
As for Arctic sea ice extent, the record disintegration continues. [more]