Sen. James Inhofe's infamous climate-denying stunt, in which he held up a snowball on the senate floor as "proof" that global warming is a hoax, wasn't just, as President Obama described it, disturbing. It was also extremely narrow-minded, as new data out from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows.
Looking beyond D.C., it turns out, Earth as a whole just lived through its warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. Sure enough, the world is on fire, with the eastern U.S. as almost the only exception:
According to NOAA, the average temperature across land and ocean surfaces was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit about the 20th century average, an achievement that beats the previous record, from winter 2007 by .05 degrees. The record-cold temperatures for which Boston grabbed headlines were more than made up for by heat extremes in other parts of the world, not to mention the other coast of the U.S.:
A developing El Niño in the Pacific is partially responsible for February's unusual warmth, Climate Progress explains, but its effect is weak, while the larger trend of global warming is quite strong. Just this weekend, NASA reported that the past twelve months, culminating in February 2015, was the hottest such period ever recorded -- a record that keeps getting made, and then broken again, as the planet continues to heat up.