The heat goes on — and so do the records.
April 2016 showed record warmth, rounding out a full year of record-breaking monthly temperatures for the Earth.
It is the longest such balmy streak in the 137-year record, which dates from 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In April the average global temperature was 1.98 degrees above the 20th-century average of 56.7 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This temperature departure from the average was not only the highest for the month of April in the 1880-2016 record, but also the fourth-highest among all months on record.
The globally averaged sea surface temperature for April was also the highest for the month on record. It surpassed the same period in 1998 by 0.43 degrees — the last time a similar-strength El Niño occurred. This April also saw the smallest Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent recorded in 50 years of snow-cover data collection.
For the first four months of 2016, the average temperature for the globe was 2.05 degrees above the 20th-century average of 54.8 degrees. That was the highest temperature for this period in the record, breaking the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.54 degrees.
The globally averaged sea surface temperature for the year through April also broke a record, exceeding the same period in 1998 by 0.47 degrees, the last time a similar-strength El Niño occurred.