February was the second hottest on record for the planet, trailing only last year’s scorching February — a clear mark of how much the Earth has warmed from the accumulation of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
How temperatures around the world compared to normal during February 2017.
Click image to enlarge. Credit: NASA
The month was 2°F (1.1°C) above the 1951-1980 average, according to NASA data released Wednesday. That was 0.36°F (0.2°C) lower than February 2016, which ranks as the most anomalously warm month in NASA’s global temperature records, which go back 137 years.
One of the clear hotspots on the globe was once again the Arctic, as was the case in January and last year, which was the hottest year on record. Temperatures there were about 7°F (4°C) above average during February. Those high temperatures have kept Arctic sea ice to record low levels; the Arctic looks to see a record low winter maximum sea ice area for the third year in a row.