Once again, record-breaking temperatures were recorded in all of the lower 48 U.S. states. Average temperatures were more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, eliminating the ice cover on the Great Lakes and causing enormous wildfires to range across Texas. In Vermont, ski trails were devoid of snow and in Minnesota, youth hockey games had to be canceled.

It was the hottest winter in 130 years, or as long as temperature records have been kept.

When we think of global warming, we may visualize unbearably hot summers. But the winters are warming faster, and that could potentially become even more problematic as these trends continue. Temperatures were 5.4F (3.0C) above the 20th-century average for the U.S., which is the world’s second biggest greenhouse gas emitter behind China. The U.S. is also responsible for one fifth of the greenhouse gases emitted globally since 1850.

Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) last month said the period from February 2023 to January 2024 marked the first time Earth had endured 12 consecutive months of temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial era. The UN’s IPCC climate panel has warned that the world will likely crash through the 1.5C target for warming in the early 2030s. Holding warming to below 1.5C has been deemed crucial to averting a long-term planetary climate disaster. Planet-heating emissions, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, continue to rise when scientists say they need to fall by almost half this decade.

The World Meteorological Organization says there is a chance that La Niña—which, unlike El Niño, lowers global temperatures—will develop later this year, and an 80 percent probability of neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) from April to June.

You can read more about this on the NPR website here.