By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – Almost every corner of Earth has experienced a warmer April than usual, according to a government report released Wednesday.
April was the 12th consecutive month of record global temperatures -- a record in itself.
Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the world is currently experiencing the longest period of record-breaking warm temperatures since records began 137 years ago.
NOAA also announced that the average carbon dioxide concentration around the globe reached 399 parts per million last year. The higher carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere has resulted in a 50 percent increase in the rate that the gas is warming the entire atmosphere since 1990.
Scientists contribute the elevated levels to human activity.
“We're dialing up Earth's thermostat in a way that will lock more heat into the ocean and atmosphere for thousands of years,” Jim Butler, the director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division, said in a statement.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere remained relatively stable at 278 ppm between 11,000 years ago – when the Ice Age ended – and the early 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution became a global phenomenon. Levels have since risen about 44 percent.
The Industrial Revolution was marked by an increased use of oil, natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels, energy sources that heavily contribute to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
"We need to decrease CO2," added Butler, using the chemical abbreviation for carbon dioxide.
Alarmingly, NOAA revealed that the amount of methane, another greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, in the atmosphere increased much more rapidly between 2014 and 2015 than it did between 2007 and 2013.
Alaska, Russia, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean region all experienced especially warmer than average temperatures during April. The only areas that saw cooler than average temperatures were northeastern Canada and the extreme southern tip of South America.