(CNN) — Last month was the planet’s hottest February on record, marking the ninth month in a row that global records tumbled, according to new data from Copernicus, the European Union’s climate monitoring service.

February was 1.77 degrees Celsius warmer than the average February in pre-industrial times, Copernicus found, and it capped off the hottest 12-month period in recorded history, at 1.56 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

It’s yet another grim climate change milestone, as the long-term impacts of human-caused global warming are given a boost by El Niño, a natural climate fluctuation.

“February joins the long streak of records of the last few months. As remarkable as this might appear, it is not really surprising as the continuous warming of the climate system inevitably leads to new temperature extremes,” Carlo Buontempo, director of Copernicus, said in a statement.

Even in the context of back-to-back months of unprecedented temperatures, February has been extreme.

Global temperatures in the first half of the month in particular were “exceptionally high,” according to the analysis. Four consecutive days, from February 8 to 11, were 2 degrees warmer than those same days pre-industrial times.

Restricting global heating to well below 2 degrees was a centerpiece of the Paris Agreement that almost every country signed up to in 2015. While scientists are much more concerned with longer-term warming, these temporary breaches are a clear and alarming sign of accelerating heating.

Global ocean temperatures were also off the charts last month, hitting 21.06 degrees — the highest average for any month on record, according to the Copernicus data, beating the previous record of 20.98 degrees set in August 2023.

Experts have expressed shock at just how hot the oceans have been, especially the North Atlantic, which has set a new daily temperature record every day since March 5 last year, according to Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School.

“At times, the records have been broken by margins that are virtually statistically impossible,” McNoldy told CNN.

Record ocean heat has significant global impacts. Not only is it dangerous for marine life but it also fuels extreme weather, including scorching heat waves, intense rainfall and ferocious hurricanes.

The Copernicus data “tells a familiar story of warming temperatures and shifting patterns of weather,” said Hannah Cloke, a climate scientist and professor at the University of Reading in the UK. It is entirely consistent with what scientists have predicted would happen “as greenhouse gases continue to build up in our thin, life-giving atmosphere,” she told CNN.

It provides yet more evidence that the world needs to reduce emissions drastically and immediately, Cloke said.

If this evidence is ignored, Cloke added, “our children’s generation, and all those that follow, will be justified in pointing to the people who lived in 2024 and cursing our reckless stupidity.”

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