May 15, 2017

Warm Arctic Fuels Second-Warmest April on Record

Arctic
by
John Upton
,
Climate Central
Temperatures were well above average globally in April, with the biggest temperature anomalies in the Arctic. Image: NASA GISS
Temperatures were well above average globally in April, with the biggest temperature anomalies in the Arctic. Image: NASA GISS

An unusually warm Arctic spring fueled the second-hottest April on record globally, with global warming and unusual weather conspiring to shrink sea ice and push up polar temperatures.

April temperatures were 1.5°F (0.9°C) warmer worldwide than the 1950 to 1980 average, NASA data released Monday showed, extending to three a string of hot months in which temperatures were surpassed just once in history. April temperatures were higher only in 2016.

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Temperatures were also well above average in the Eastern U.S., China and across Africa. Only a few patches of the globe were cooler.

The Arctic is warming faster than other regions as greenhouse gas pollution traps heat. The average Arctic temperature last year was 6.3°F (3.5°C) higher than in 1900. Temperatures elsewhere are rising by about a quarter of that rate.