A FULL YEAR OF WARMTH
We will end March 2016 shortly, and it is assured to be one of the warmest ones in the recorded history of Philadelphia. It also means that we will have gone an ENTIRE YEAR with every month having above normal temperatures. Here are the numbers (March is unofficial, of course)
April 2015 +1.4 degrees
January 2016 +1.2
As you can see, five out of those 12 months were exceptionally warm (more than 5 degrees above normal). This is a truly remarkable stretch.
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WARMEST WORLDWIDE, TOO
It has been widely reported that 2015 was the warmest on record globally (by a big amount). But 2016 is starting so much warmer than 2015 that it almost seems impossible. Here is the amazing graphic:
Why has it been so hot? You may have heard that it’s because of the record El Nino in the Pacific. But that’s only one factor-a big factor, but not the whole story. Take a look at global yearly temperatures with El Nino and La Nina (the opposite of El Nino) highlighted.
The previous record El Nino was 1997-98, which was the first orange spike of close to 1 degree above average. The latest El Nino is almost exactly as strong as that one, so why is it so much warmer? Yes, that’s called global warming, and it makes today’s El Nino year warmer than previous El Nino years. And look at the blue lines in recent years. The latest La Nina years are clearly warmer than previous ones. When we separate the years like this, it clearly shows the overall warming of the earth has continued-it’s the El Nino/La Nina years that make it look more stable.
THE WARMEST OF THE WARM
So, we know the earth in 2015 has had its warmest year in the modern record (140+ years). February 2016 has continued the record warmest trend, as seen below. And the biggest warming trend occurred in the Arctic, Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia, among others. This is very similar to what computer models predicted decades ago.
If it was that warm in the Arctic, there should have been a record (or near record) ice melt. We are indeed close to record low levels.
MORE AGREEING ON THREAT OF GLOBAL WARMING
There has been so much warming, and so many examples of extremes in weather (Super typhoons, record flooding, etc.) that more and more people are noticing. The latest Gallop survey this month showed that 64% of Americans say they are worried “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about climate change. This is the highest number since 2008. Just in the past year, the percentage of Americans who attribute climate change largely to human activity has risen from 55% to 65%.
More warmth in the future will lead to more records, and that will lead to even higher percentages of those worried about climate change. The best evidence is to see it happening right in front of your eyes. The Super El Nino has made it even more obvious.
Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz
Chief Meteorologist, NBC10 Philadelphia