Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Another Heat Record Falls in October

After a string of heat records, we saw another all time global average heat record set for the month of October.  According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, October 2019 beat out October 2015 for the dubious distinction. This is the fifth month in a row that has broken or almost broken heat records. October is the 418th consecutive month with above average temperatures, it follows the hottest September and the hottest summer that included the hottest month ever recorded (July). Eight of the ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade, the five warmest years have all occurred in the past five years and all of the warmest years have come since 2015. We keep breaking new temperature records and 2019 is on track to do it again.

There is no denying the data, nor can we deny the cause. These increasing levels of heat are consistent with climate models that link the global average rise in temperature to increasing levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

The goal of the Paris agreement is to keep temperatures below 2.7- degree or 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels. During the past 12 months the global average temperatures are about 2.1 degrees, or 1.2 Celsius, above the preindustrial level.  Data from both Copernicus and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), indicate that the planet is warming at an average rate of about 0.32 degrees per decade, and has been since the late 1970s.

There is a certain amount of warming baked into the system so even if we were to stop producing greenhouse gases today, temperatures would keep rising. We are left with the inescapable conclusion that world is warming and we are rapidly running out of time to do something about it.

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