Wednesday, February 19, 2020

More Record Breaking Heat

Month after month, year after year, decade after decade we keep setting new temperature records. The world’s five warmest years have all occurred in the last five years and the period from 2010-2019 was the hottest decade ever recorded. We have seen 421 consecutive months of above average temperatures. The five warmest decades on record have all occurred in the last 50 years and each successive decade was warmer than any preceding decade.

Last July was is the hottest month ever recorded and 2019 was the second hottest year on record. This was the 43rd consecutive year with above average global land and ocean temperatures. The warming trend continues into 2020. The first month of this year was the warmest January on record.

On February 6, Argentina’s Esperanza Base clocked an all time Antarctic heat record with a reading of 65 F (18.3 C). The beat the station’s previous high record of 63.5 F (17.5 C) in March 2015. Then, on February 9, a Brazilian-run research station on nearby Seymour Island logged  recorded a temperature of: 69.4 F (20.75 C).

Between the 1950s and the early 2000s, the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed 5 degrees F, that is much faster than the rest of the world.  As reported in Mother Jones, the evolutionary ecologist Byron Adams of Brigham Young University says the extreme heat  puts the microscopic animals at the top of Antarctica's food chain at risk. Adams is currently surveying life on the continent including what he calls "the charismatic megafauna of continental Antarctica". Adams says there will be winners and loser in Antarctica but eventually he predicts that all will lose.  In a National Geographic article, Peter Neff, an Antarctic glaciologist at the University of Washington is quoted as saying  that he expects more of these warm events.

The adverse consequences will not be restricted to this remote continent. Melting Antarctic ice will significantly increase sea levels and cause flooding of major cities all around the world.. From 1992 to 2017, the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula nearly quintupled, from 7 to 33 billion tons a year.  Ice core data from the Antarctic reveal that recent levels of summer melting are unprecedented in the last thousand years.

"Once stitched together, these pictures of global weather conditions and atmospheric composition provide a comprehensive historical record of the Earth's climate that can be used to monitor how fast it is changing," according to C3S.  Meteorologists predict the warming trend will continue and we can expect to see more heat records broken in the comings months and years.

Climate scientists agree that human greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of this warming and the longer we wait to radically slash these emissions the worse it will get perhaps even triggering tipping points from which we will not be able to recover.

Related
Heat Records Tell Us What We Need to Know
Increasing Ocean Heatwaves Killing Marine Life Including the Climate Canary in the Marine Coalmine
The World is Warming and We are Running Out of Time
More Hot Data Contributes to Existential Concerns
Slowing Emissions to Beat the Heat
Warming Temperatures are an Urgent Warning
Decades of Hot Data: The Harbingers of an Impending Climate Catastrophe

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