NASA says the past 10 months have each shattered previous surface temperature records. The culmination was the month of July, 2016 which is now officially the hottest month on record since reliable measurements first started in 1880.
The results published by NASA seem to be aligned with a previous data released by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), which actually found the last 14 months in a row broke temperature records for each month.
Concerning our new ignoble champion, July 2016 was 0.84 degrees Celsius hotter than the 1951 to 1980 average and more than a tenth of a degree warmer than the previous record set only 12 months ago for July 2015. Previously, NOAA and NASA announced 2015 was the warmest year ever, beating 2014, and 2016 is likely to take the crown once the year ends.
July data are out, and what do you know, still 99% chance of a new annual record in 2016. pic.twitter.com/ndSsbYuedA
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) August 15, 2016
It’s amazing that climate skeptics are still claiming that temperatures have flatlined to support their view that climate change isn’t man-made and any variations are due to the planet’s natural cycle. As you can notice in the graph below, average yearly temperatures jump and wean indeed due to the natural variability of the climate system, but when you plot the measurements you clearly get global warming trend whose acceleration is the fastest in millions of years.
Indeed, if you follow climate science this sort of news isn’t surprising considering this year had the strongest El Nino since 1950 — the warm phase in the pressure shift between the eastern and western tropical Pacific.
As a science writer, I’ve personally become very cynical of news like this. Jokingly, I’ll be writing about the “hottest year on record” even 60 years from now with my sweaty fingertips and my body wrapped in a Fremen stillsuit — that’s if there are any eyeballs left to see.
Even if the word’s governments honestly abide the COP 21 Paris agreement which will see greenhouse emissions capped or reduced significantly, this scenario will still cause the planet to warm by at least 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. But there is hope — I always like to think there is. It first starts with acknowledging there’s a problem, which is why ZME Science often covers climate science and leading climate issues. We’re not preachers. We’re not alarmists. We’re concerned citizens of this planet that want to live in a world where ‘hottest’ isn’t the most trivial adjective in the dictionary.