The world’s oceans have set a new high-temperature record during the warmest February observed globally

According to scientists from the European Union, ocean temperatures hit a new high last month, making it the warmest February on record globally.

The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported that the average global sea surface temperature reached 21.06 degrees Celsius (69.91 degrees Fahrenheit) in February. This surpassed the previous record of 20.98 degrees Celsius (69.77 degrees Fahrenheit) set in August 2023, in data going back to 1979.

Additionally, the average air temperature in February was 13.54 degrees Celsius (56.4 degrees Fahrenheit), which was 1.77 degrees Celsius (3.18 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the pre-industrial average for the month. This marks the ninth consecutive month that has been the warmest on record for its respective month of the year.

In January, which was also recorded as the warmest first month of the year, scientists observed a similar trend, surpassing the previous warmest January in 2020, according to C3S records dating back to 1950.

C3S Deputy Director Samantha Burgess emphasized the urgent need for rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to halt the increase in global temperatures.

Despite the weakening of the El Nino climate pattern in the equatorial Pacific in February, marine air temperatures remained unusually high, according to C3S scientists.

Marine scientists warned of a possible fourth global mass coral bleaching event in the Southern Hemisphere, driven by warming waters and potentially the worst in history. Rising sea temperatures and El Nino, exacerbated by human-caused climate change, are contributing to this heat.

Climate scientist Richard Allan of the University of Reading highlighted the surprising aspect of record sea surface temperatures occurring in regions far from the center of El Nino activity, such as the tropical Atlantic and Indian Ocean. He attributed this to the strong influence of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, Antarctic sea ice reached its annual minimum extent in February, registering its third-lowest extent on record, at 28 percent below average.

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