Average global temperature last month was 0.85 C above 20th-century average.
Rising temperatures across the planet have set more new records, as the U.S. government announced Friday that the globe experienced its hottest month of March since recordkeeping began in 1880. The period of January to March was also the warmest on record, said the monthly report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The latest data, which takes into account global averages across land and sea surfaces, follows announcements from the same U.S. government scientists that 2014 was the hottest year in modern history.
Scientists warn that fossil fuel burning is pushing more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, leading to increased temperatures, melting of polar ice and glaciers, and rising seas. For March, the average global temperature was 1.53 Fahrenheit (0.85 Celsius) above the 20th-century average.
“This was the highest for March in the 1880-2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.09 F (0.05 C),” said the report.
For the first three months of the year, the average temperature worldwide was 1.48 Fahrenheit (0.82 Celsius) above the 20th-century average. That marked the highest ever recorded for that period, surpassing the previous record in 2002 by 0.09 F.
Also of concern was the finding that Arctic sea ice was the lowest on record for March. “The average Arctic sea ice extent for March was 430,000 square miles (7.2 percent) below the 1981–2010 average,” said the report. “This was the smallest March extent since records began in 1979.”