The Heat Age

BERLIN – This April was the hottest April on record, globally, for at least 130 years, according to the worldwide temperature records maintained by NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The past twelve months was the hottest 12-month period since measurements began.

That is what the data from weather stations and ships show. But if you prefer satellite data, the picture is similar. Satellite data have this March the hottest March on record, with April ranking second-hottest; the surface data have it the other way round, with March the second-hottest and April the hottest.

Of course, more important, scientifically, are the long-term trends. For the past 30 years – that’s how long the satellite measurements have been taken – the trend is clearly upward and similar in magnitude in all the available data sets.

Should you still have doubts that the planet is heating up, look at the shrinking mountain glaciers around the world, or the declining sea-ice cover on the Arctic Ocean, which in recent summers has been little more than half its size in the 1970’s.