There’s been a story around that February was the hottest single month ever, and I think the ABC segment quoting Professor David Karoly may have added to the confusion. They spoke of:
- preliminary analysis of surface air temperature and comprehensive analysis of satellite-based temperature observations, showing February 2016 had set a new record for the hottest ever February and the hottest ever month in long-term observation. (Emphasis added)
I think we need to wait for the final analysis of the surface record, which is the one we usually follow.
Tom Yulsman points out that we live on the surface, not the troposphere, and we shouldn’t get too breathless about one month’s data. Moreover the satellite methodology used is “is one of the worst to track climate. It is an operational product and very unreliable.” That’s according to Kevin Trenberth, who would know.
Guess what, the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis, or CFSR method used was invented by Roy Spencer, assisted by John Christie, two of the best known scientifically qualified climate contrarians.
Yulsman makes the point that the effects of El Niño on temperature show up about three months later. El Niño Peaked in Novenber, so the peak effect would have been in February.
Also while El Niño had only a small effect 2015 it is expected to account for about 25% of the anomaly in 2016.
Climate Central has a sensible article, with excellent graphics, republished at RenewEconomy. It comments that January marked the fourth month in a row of temperatures with more than 1°C of warming. Until October, the world had never passed the 1°C threshold in any month in 135 years of record keeping.
The article also comments on the relatively high warming in the Arctic, very noticeable on this chart, sourced from NASA GISS:
Unsurprisingly the Arctic sea ice is tracking quite low for the northern winter:
A more recent article shows that in spite of a late growth spurt Arctic sea ice recorded a record low two months in a row.