Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Much Heat is Required to Spur Global Action?

How many months of above average heat are required to convince us that we urgently need to reduce our emissions? In 2014 we witnessed consistently above average temperatures and we have broken many records. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicated that May registered the hottest average global temperatures ever recorded for that month. Likewise the average global temperature for the month of June was was the hottest since records began being kept in 1880. The June temperature readings were also the highest departure from average for any month.

NASA reported that August registered the warmest average global temperatures ever recorded for that month. It was so hot over West Antarctica, that NASA had to introduce a new color to reflect the unprecedented temperature increase (a trend which continues into October). These new highs are contributing to the irreversible collapse of a western antarctic ice sheet.

According to NASA data, the period between January and August 2014 is the fourth hottest on record.

The above average warming trend has continued into October with the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reporting the hottest October in more than 120 years of record-keeping. NASA data indicates that October was tied with 2005 as the hottest month on record.

The NOAA states that almost every month in 2014 has been among the warmest on record 

Some will remark that this is just one year of record keeping. To establish a scientifically significant trend we need to accumulate data over much longer time frames. So what does the preceding data suggest?

According to the NOAA global average temperatures rank 2013 as the fourth warmest year on record and 2012 recorded the highest ever global average temperatures.

Prior to 2012 seven of the top ten warmest years on record for the continental US have occurred since 1990. Perhaps most convincingly seventeen of the warmest years in recorded history have occurred over the last twenty years and the warmest years on record have occurred in the most recent decade.

We have seen 356 consecutive months or more than 29 and a half years of global temperatures above the 20th century average. This should be adequate evidence to justify action for all but the willfully ignorant.

Related
Global Temperature Data Underscores the Urgency of Climate Action
El NiƱo and Global Warming are Locked in a Feedback Loop
Hottest June Foreshadows the Hottest Year on Record
Extreme Heat in the Western World Marks the Start of Summer 2015
At Least 30 Years of Above Average Temperatures
Heat Records Tell the Story of Climate Change
India's Heat Wave Offers a Glimpse into the Future
2014 is the Hottest Year in Recorded History
3 Charts: Record Breaking Heat August - October 2014
Record Breaking Heat Suggests Accelerated Warming
June's Record Breaking Heat and the Global Warming Trend
In the US 2012 is The Hottest Most Extreme Year in Recorded History
Globally 2012 is One of the Hottest Years on Record

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