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Is it getting hot in here?

3 posts in this topic

Figured I'd stir it up a little ;)

I've no opinion, just know it's a little warmer recently.  

It’s official: 2015 'smashed’ 2014’s global temperature record. It wasn’t even close

 

Last year shattered 2014’s record to become the hottest year since reliable record-keeping began, two U.S. government science agencies announced Wednesday in yet another sign that the planet is heating up.

2015’s sharp spike in temperatures was aided by a strong El Nino weather pattern late in the year that caused ocean waters in the central Pacific to heat up. But the unusual warming started early and steadily gained strength in a year in which ten of 12 months set all-time records, scientists said.

The new figures, based on separate sets of records kept by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, could fuel debate over climate change in an election year in which the two main political parties remain divided over what to do about global warming and, indeed, whether it exists.

“2015 was by far the record year in all of the temperature datasets that are based on the instrumental and surface data,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, which made the announcement jointly with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It really underlines the fact that the planet really is still warming, there is no change in the long term global warming rate, and we know why that is,” he said.

NASA reported that 2015 was officially 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 degrees Celsius) hotter than 2014, the prior record year, a sharp increase for a global temperature record in which annual variation is normally measured in the hundredths of a degree. NOAA’s figures showed slightly greater warming, of about 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit (0.16 degrees C) hotter than 2014.

“A lot of times, you actually look at these numbers, when you break a record, you break it by a few hundredths of a degree,” said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “But this record, we literally smashed. It was over a quarter of a degree Fahrenheit, and that’s a lot for the global temperature.”

Overall, NOAA said, 2015 was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average.

NASA and NOAA both keep independent global surface temperature datasets, measuring temperatures over both the land and the oceans using thermometers, ocean buoys and ship readings. The datasets do not always agree perfectly, but they showed relatively little disagreement this year, Schmidt said.

The new record means that 2014 — the previous record year — only officially held that title for one year. 2014 came by its record by a relatively narrow margin — for instance, NASA gave 2014 a 38 percent chance of having been the warmest year on record, still reserving a nontrivial chance that the real warmest year had been 2010 or 2005. (NOAA gave a 48 percent chance that 2014 had, at the time, been the warmest year.)

This year, in contrast, there is little need for citing percentages or a statistical photo finish. Buoyed by a powerful El Niño event, 2015 shattered the 2014 record. NASA’s Schmidt suggests there’s only a 5 percent possibility that any other year on record was actually warmer.

Fifteen of the sixteen hottest years on record have now occurred in this century, according to NASA.

U.S. officials stressed that the El Nino pattern alone does not account of the year’s record warmth. “The interesting thing is that 2015 did not start with an El Nino,” Schmidt said. “It was warm right from the beginning.”

Because a strong El Nino still is in place, “2016 is expected to be an exceptionally warm year, and perhaps even another record,” Schmidt said.

 

 

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