Thursday, May 19, 2016

Record Hot Times For Planet Earth For 12th Month In A Row

A red world: Global temperaturs were way abov
normal almost everywhere in April.  
NOAA confirmed yesterday that last month was the hottest April on record for Planet Earth.

Incredibly, it was the 12th consecutive month that the world has seen a hottest month, and 2016 is likely to go down as the warmest year on record for the globe.

Blame climate change, with an assist from El Nino for this literal hot mess.

Climate change is continuing to exert upward pressure on global temperatures and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

El Nino, the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific, puts a lot of extra heat into the air. The most added heat in the air lags the peak of El Nino by a few months, which explains why it's so hot. And why temperatures in the last year or so have spiked up way above the somewhat slower long term upward trend.

Each of the last seven months in NOAA's database, going back to the late 1800s, are the only ones that were a degree or more warmer than the long term average.

When you're looking at the globe as a whole, a few tenths of a degree above or below normal is remarkable. A full degree is incredible.

By the way, we haven't had a month that was even a smidge cooler than normal, if you take the Earth as  whole, since February, 1985. So if you're 31 years old or younger, you've never experienced a cooler than average month on the Globe.

Many of not most scientists are expecting global temperatures to cool slightly in the upcoming months and year or two as El Nino wanes.

So don't expect to keep hearing "warmest ever" phrases every month. But with underlying global warming continuing on, don't expect to ever harken back to the 1980s or before. I don't think we'll ever see a cooler than average month again, unless there's massive global volcanoes, huge asteroid hits or nuclear war or some other terrible thing.

The warmth in April was once again concentrated up in the Arctic.

Ice extent continues way below normal up there, which might set the stage for a record low ice extent come Septemeber. Whether or not that actually happens depends on summertime weather patterns at the top of the globe.

But the trend is there. It's also not helping that massive early season wildfires in Canada and Siberia are dropping bits of soot on some of the existing ice, which would hasten melting under summertime sun. (Dark objects like soot absorb the sun's heat. White ice reflects the heat more.)

Young people are always admonished to change the world. But we shouldn't be changing the world this way. Watch for more weather disasters, big climate disruptions and other expensive consequences of global warming coming to a planet near you.

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