You may have heard arguments recently that the Earth’s climate is cooling, not warming. These arguments are based on anecdotal evidence of weather, such as the observation that last winter sure was cold in the midwest (when in fact, the winter was warmer than average), and that this summer sure feels nice and cool.
Here in the northeast United States, the summer has been nice and cool. I can testify to that personally. However, that doesn’t mean that the Earth’s climate isn’t warming.
What the Earth is cooling arguments depend upon is a confusion between weather and climate. Weather is local and momentary. Climate exists over broader geographical areas, and is a long-term trend. The weather may feel surprisingly cool on a particular day in a particular place. Nonetheless, the climate of the Earth, and of most regions on Earth, is warming.
The latest piece of data to fit into this long-term record of global climate warming comes to us from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this week. Last month, the Earth’s oceans reached its highest June temperature ever recorded, breaking the record set just 4 years ago. The combined land and ocean surface temperature was the second warmest ever recorded.