One particularly notable aspect of last month's heat was that it beat out January as the most anomalously warm month on record by a solid 0.36°F (0.2°C).
NOAA's global temperature data for February, to be released on Thursday, is expected to be roughly in line with NASA's, Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with ERT, Inc., at NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information, said in an email.
February also marked the fifth month in a row where global temperatures breached the mark of being 1°C (about 2°F) above average. Countries have agreed on a goal of limiting warming to under 2°C (4°F) from pre-industrial times by the end of the century.
The recent temperature departures have already hit that 2°C mark when compared to pre-industrial temperatures, albeit temporarily.
"This is the first time we've temporarily breached the 2°C warming threshold, but it will become more common and eventually perpetual if we do nothing to stem the tide," Mann said.
Climate scientists are normally reluctant to put too much stock into monthly temperature values, preferring instead to emphasize the long-term warming trend. But February's numbers prompted Gavin Schmidt, who heads NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, which keeps the agency's temperature data, to comment on the extraordinary record on Twitter.
The incredible heat so far this year - even though it is only two months in - could set the planet up for its third record warm year in a row, besting the record set just last year. 2015 also saw the biggest single-year jump in carbon dioxide levels at the observatory atop Hawaii's Mauna Loa, a record that came in part because of El Niño's influence on greenhouse gas-emitting wildfires in the tropics.
The biggest area of anomalous warmth in February was the Arctic, which also had record-low sea ice levels during January and February.
It's likely that as the year goes on and El Niño continues to wane, that the monthly temperature anomalies will also ease off, but when and by how much remains uncertain, Blunden said.
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