When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its report on the state of the climate for March 2020, it had this to say:
“The globally averaged temperature departure from average over land and ocean surfaces for March 2020 was the second highest for the month in the 141-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880.”
In Asia, it was the fourth warmest March on record. In Europe, the sixth. In South America, the first. And in the United States, where Texas’ electricity usage curve was distinctly changed from 2019, it was the tenth warmest March in NOAA history.
For the record, the record for the warmest global March came in 2016, in the midst of an El Niño event. Years with El Niño events are much more likely to set record temperatures than average years. This year, there has been no El Niño event.
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly had an effect on pollution, and may cause this year to log fewer emissions, but it is not the reason electricity usage in Texas is changing. Instead, it is a problem society has known about for much longer.
“The fact that both February and March 2020 were tied for being the third warmest months on record–without the boost of an El Niño event and during the minimum of one of the weakest 11-year solar cycles in the past century–speaks to the dominant role human-caused global warming has in heating our planet,” reported Jeff Masters in Scientific American.
Jenna is a writer covering the environment and energy industry. She is a Massachusetts native and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French.