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2015 Is So Far Is The Hottest Year On Record

A few weeks ago, researchers released the results of a scientifc analysis concluding that the supposed recent hiatus in global warming, which Republicans have referred to as an excuse to avoid enacting environmentally responsible legislation, was in fact never real, but the result of a mistake in statistical analysis.

Last year, 2014, was the hottest year in historical times for our planet, and this year is shaping up to be even hotter. That’s not just my personal assessment. The full report will be out tomorrow, but the headline is already posted at Climate.gov: Globally, 2015 has experienced the hottest first five months of any year on record, since global temperatures began to be measured in 1895.

19 thoughts on “2015 Is So Far Is The Hottest Year On Record”

  1. thedogfacedboy says:

    This is a good example of people with obvious non-scientific experience commenting on subjects they understand little about is folly. The general press (the McPress) is famous for this.

    Let’s start with element one: Premise that we are on a global warming trend. Whether it is primarily human-caused or not is irrelevant for this. Are we or are we not?

    What causes people to believe in this premise? Valid scientific data, of course.

    So data is presented that supports the model.

    Now, a “flat spot” in the data is offering some cause for consternation. Is now the trend of global temperature increase invalid?

    First response by proponents of the premise is no, the temporary “flat spot” does NOT indicate an invalidation of the longer trend.

    Meanwhile, scientists try to “explain” inconsistencies in the model, with new research. We find the oceans have absorbed much more heat and CO2 than “originally” predicted. We find the Redfield Ratio is not a constant, but varies by ocean region. etc. etc.

    Now, we report that the “flat spot” we were trying to explain away, does NOT EXIST. Why?
    The data we collected was flawed; we didn’t statistically model it correctly, etc.

    Now, I am not a climate change “denier”. I am pretty open to the conclusion that humans have made changes to the environment. What I have done, as a scientific research and development person, is perform lots and lots of complex system modeling.

    I believe generally in Box’s assertion, “…all models are wrong; some are useful…” This is statistician inside joke stuff. (no a very humorous bunch, as a whole)

    I look at the complexity of what I’ve modeled compared to the elements in a model of the earth’s ecosystem, and I am extremely dubious about the validity of the “proofs” that I have seen so far. When we’ve just suggested two or three years ago that the CO2 plankton take with them is not following the Redfield Ratio, I’m wagering that there are going to continue to be a lot of other things “discovered” that shift models one way or another.

    I was once a pretty serious amateur geologist, and my brother is a professional one. I’m not an ecosystem modeler, I grant. But I understand modelling to some fair degree, and I question the large gaps in predictive results that I’ve seen, with constantly new facts coming out to explain these “gaps”. This latest, which suggests that a pretty large chunk of data, that was undoubtablly used in many independent models, is now invalid is just the latest.

    I watched a pretty good consumer documentary about the formation of the Great Lakes. A lot has been learned in the past couple decades in this regard. Consider that much of the United States, over cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, were once under ONE MILE thick of ice, which extended way south.

    That’s a severe climate. If you want to convince me you have valid models, model what caused a mile thick sheet of ice to recede north, 22,000 years ago more or less. It probably cannot be blamed on human activity. THERE’S some mass-scale global warming and climate change. Model the causes of that, and then come talk to me. Prove that whatever caused that MASSIVE global climate change event is completely unrelated to what is happening now. And then I might reasonably accept your model’s results.

  2. ella says:

    NOAA is now predicting that the 2015 El Nino may set a record as the deepest one on record. That will bring the rains to California, or should. That may bring more rain than they need as well. Texas has had record rains for the date in June, with corresponding flooding records. The heat in the South/Southeast was delayed a little, but now is pushing record highs before the calendar start of summer. (Meteorological summer begins now on the first of June.) Red crabs and slugs are washing ashore in California due to the warmer tides reaching further up the coastline. The sea surface and thermocline temperatures are higher and more prolonged than normal and the surface winds are continuing. (From buoy readings)

    ‘faceboy’, I can concur with some of what you say, especially statistics being useful. Simple observation shows that changes are going on. Of course there is more than one reason. The Solar precession for one. But I believe than the last recession of the ice age was only about 7000 to 9000 years ago. As we were at that time entering the 5235 year or so ‘spring’ cycle and are now entering the ‘summer’ cycle. Perhaps that is what the Maya celebrated a few years ago? Science on this subject ‘seems’ to be behind what we find in relics of our ancient past. But it is good for amateur debate. Fits me! 🙂 The ‘Little Ice Age” illustrated that the sudden decline in manufacturing and human caused CO2, did cause the ice sheets to advance into Europe and probably North America. Perhaps we would rather not have a sudden drop in CO2 to test that theory. But then there are all sort of things that contribute to these things. Like, as the temperature rises varying plant and animal species suddenly and dramatically reduce. Their contributions to the atmosphere are equally reduced. Right?

    1. thedogfacedboy says:

      ella,
      The so-called little ice age was really before the start of the industrial revolution, so there could not be a real “decline in manufacturing” as you state.

      There was not a use of the types of fossil fuels we use today. A lot of people burned whale oil in lamps. I guess you could kind of describe that as a “renewable resource” fuel, as long as you didn’t kill off a big piece of the whale population!

      The last ice age hit its peak more than 20000 years ago, and went down from there. It did not shrink down constantly, there were ups and downs. It finally came to what is generally acknowledged as its last remnant in Canada about 6000 years ago.

      Tom’s predictions are a bit crazy. I always laugh at people who think that the more outrageous they make their statements of doom, the more they will scare people into taking action. When I see hyperbole that his, I just tune him out as a single-minded lunatic.

      His simplistic, non-sensical talk about models belie his knowledged on the methodology.

      An example is that a few years back, many scientists used weak estimates of plant life ability to absorbe atmospheric CO2. Some estimates were almost 20% low. That is so far off in accurate modeling methods to be wildly wrong in a complex system. Studying systems that are close to an instability, or perhaps an oscillation point becomes exponentially more difficult with interactive factors.

      One fact is that when CO2 rises, plants thrive more, grow larger, and therefore increase how much CO2 they can absorb. And longer growing seasons in northern climates increases the amount of plant life and vegetation in those areas, also causing more absorbtion.

      I’ve read a lot on many of these analysis, and I think many of them are fooling themselves when they present their models as accurate. A year or two later, and major assumptions and their conclusion are proven wrong.

      I’m hopeful I will be here mid-century to see if Tom’s nuttiness is wrong. If I’m living under a rock by then, eating worms, then I’ll owe him an apology. 😉

      1. ella says:

        There was an earlier industrial revolution that was smaller and contained in areas of Europe. (I just read how my last post was printed – yikes. I only did that once – that was enough don’t you think?) Plagues cut the population by about half during both episodes in China and Europe, http://www.lordsandladies.org/black-death.htm about 1328-1351 and then in the 1750’s to the 1840’s there was an Industrial Revolution of the nature we would recognize. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_Europe#Famines_and_plagues. another source of population decline was in France, the famous ‘year of no summer’, http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

        The sudden decline in human population is considered a contributing factor to the rapid reduction in CO2. The 1328-1351 plague era killed major populations in the east and the west. However, the 1500’s to 1840’s cold spell saw a greater development of glaciers. As we are in a deglaciation cycle, due to the rotation of Earth’s axis, our climate is being altered by CO2. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/01/of-orbits-and-ice-ages/ It has definitely been nice remembering all this and finding it online. Wish I’d had the Internet ‘back then’.

  3. ella says:

    There was a link I wanted to provide, from the President’s science adviser. (I know another ‘scientist’ right?) But it illustrates the seriousness with which the government takes the subject. It also shows that industry direction change is in full swing. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/wh-science-adviser-cars-trucks-and-planes-are-going-have-run-electricity

  4. Tom says:

    The models are almost always errant because they can’t keep up with the real life changes, ie. real life data is WORSE (from our perspective) than what the models project. Trying to model chaotic systems that have built in feed-back loops that make them continue in the same direction only more quickly (and a few that retard it) is too complex for accuracy, but they do show the general trend is becoming ever worse.

    ella: Unfortunately, it’s far too late. Any necessary changes should have begun in the last century or a few before that (like ignoring the Industrial Revolution, and especially the Nuclear Age), when they may have bought us enough time (with a much lower population) to change our ways to some “sustainable” one (if that’s even possible – i’m not sure it is any longer). Now we have polluted our biosphere so severely, and at the same time overpopulated our planets carrying capacity, that there’s only extinction going forward.

    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/1/5/e1400253.full.pdf

    ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
    Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

    [quote]

    These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly
    closing.

    [i disagree that there’s still time to correct our behavior which the authors state, because even if industrial civilization were to completely collapse today – no more fossil fuel burning of any kind – the CO2 already in the atmosphere locks in temperature changes that plants and most animals, fish, birds and pollinators can’t adapt to fast enough, not to mention all the methane and hydrogen sulfide pluming out of the oceans, lakes, etc.]

    1. ella says:

      That is a grim prognosis. I will take the side that says we have a chance. If we can alter our social living structure, perhaps new species will fill in the gaps, as in historic times. This will allow our species to survive under different circumstances. For instance, generating enough oxygen to sustain life abundantly in urban areas. http://weburbanist.com/2015/05/10/urban-algae-canopy-produces-a-forests-worth-of-oxygen-daily/ This technology may be used on Mars to produce oxygen. It grows wild on Earth, even in the harshest cold region of the Antarctic. It can be eaten in extremely small quantities, providing sustaining nutrition. Although I seriously wouldn’t want to eat it out of necessity.

      As we run animals out of their native habitats and destroy their food supplies, it is not surprising they are becoming extinct. Global temperatures are going up, changing plant life as well. Here is one of the ways we are finding to grow food sustainably in cities. http://weburbanist.com/2015/06/09/new-42000-sq-ft-rooftop-farm-in-nyc-is-one-of-worlds-largest/

      “But human population is in decline, not surprisingly. A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

      And then it will fall.

      This is a counter intuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.” A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

      And then it will fall.

      This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.” A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

      And then it will fall.

      This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.” http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/01/world_population_may_actually_start_declining_not_exploding.html

      But can plant life recover from human intervention? (GMO) Will pollinators be able to recover from the devastating damage done to their food supply? And consequently ours? What is happening to the plants we depend on for food? Is it the heat, the modification of seed, pesticides, fertilizers, or a combination? Can the rest of the world feed the US? Or will they want to?

  5. ella says:

    The SST near the eastern Pacific are not heating up dramatically. This trend is in the Indian Ocean as well. The main focus seems to be South America with the hot spot off the North Pacific around Washington and Alaska. These are not models but what is recorded up to early July. It appears that El Nino will persist, as suspected, through the Fall of 2015 and possibly into the winter.

  6. Mark says:

    The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has just released a study documenting the purposeful deceit and lying conducted by the fossil fuel industry over the course of the last 3 decades in their attempts to discredit climate change science. They knew as early as the 1980s that burning fossil fuels was causing climate change and the science behind this idea was sound.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/fight-misinformation/climate-deception-dossiers-fossil-fuel-industry-memos#.VZ6zzbXA1UM

    UCS documented the funding of a scientist (Dr. Wei-Hok Soon) at the Smithsonian who published now discredited papers denying the CO2/climate change connection. As a willful violation of the scientific code of honor, Dr. Soon’s funding from the American Petroleum Institute and ExxonMobile was never disclosed.

    In another willful violation of the public’s trust, UCS has documented 13 fraudulent letters by the Coal Industry to Congress. Among the supposed senders of these letters were the NAACP and Creciendo Juntos (a nonprofit Latino organization based in Charlottesville, VA).

    Another common tactic used was the creation of supposed independent organizations to spread doubts about climate change. The one UCS documented was called the Information Council on the Environment (ICE). It existed briefly in 1991 until its true nature was uncovered. This continues today. An organization I’ve come across recently is called Vets4Energy. Their website is sponsored by America’s Energy Forum (AEF), but if you go to the web page for AEF you’ll see that it’s funded by the American Petroleum Institute.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thanks for noting this, Mark. What’s striking about the findings of that report is that while oil giants were pushing climate change denial in the public square, they were adjusting their business policies to account for the global warming that they privately knew was real.

  7. ella says:

    Oceanic warming occurs on the east coast as well. It seems to be becoming enhanced. I’m sure everyone knows about the shark attacks off the east coast. Now there are Portuguese Man of Wars beaching around New York and Delaware. This comment was made in a Good Morning America segment: “Portuguese man-of-wars are tropical water dwellers, but warm ocean currents and strong winds seem to be pushing them closer to Eastern beaches.” Tropical currents are running up the east coast this time of year. The closest I could get for near real time temperature 8:30 A.M. ET, 7/11/2015, is in Ship John Shoal, NJ, which is 85.8 degrees. Pretty warm water. (NOAA)

    1. Mark says:

      Global ocean heat content has continued to rise since 1990.
      Especially look at figure 2 on this page:
      https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

      1. ella says:

        Thank you for that link. Those charts show not only a reason why the oceans are warming, but when it became a stable upward climb in temperature – still climbing. The reduced oxygen in the waters may be (probably is) driving various sea creatures to cooler waters so they can breath oxygen, not so much because of the warmth of the water. Suffocation while in their natural environment – not a nice way to go. Especially since some cannot survive in the cooler waters – the drastic temperature change.

        1. ella says:

          “Especially look at figure 2 on this page: “Yes, Mark, that takes it all the way from 26 levels down. That is most astonishing when the depth is considered. There are many deep sea creatures that are being effected as well as those that are relatively near surface. A real problem with that is, of course, the beltway currents carrying that warmer water both the Antarctic and Arctic Circles. Another reason arctic ice melting is occurring.

          1. ella says:

            Mark, this article will explain in part why this summer the ocean is so much warmer than usual, at least on the West Coast. Last years El Nino di not develop. but NOAA is 90% certain that it will this year and will persist through the winter 2015-16. California should get some serious drought relief. http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0711/Could-El-Nino-end-California-s-drought-video

  8. ella says:

    And since I am now talking to my self, I asked the question is someone researching when the next cooling cycle would begin? Huffington Post has answered and sure enough scientific research shows that we are in for another cold snap before long. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/13/a-mini-ice-age-is-just-15-years-away-as-scientists-predict-drop-in-solar-activity_n_7782928.html?ir=UK+Tech
    And this is why. http://www.technologyreview.com/article/416786/global-warming-vs-the-next-ice-age/

    1. J Clifford says:

      Ella, that is not what the technologyreview.com article says. It says that, eventually, there probably will be another Ice Age because our planet goes through climatological cycles, and those have led to ice ages in the past. It doesn’t say that it will happen “before long”. The time scale is many thousands of years. The article speculates that an Ice Age could be triggered once all the fossil fuels are done burning in 300 years – but that doesn’t make much sense, really, because there was a natural balance in CO2 trapping and release before the Industrial Revolution. The Earth doesn’t rely on industrial burning of fossil fuels to avoid ice ages. It wasn’t the burning of oil in cars that ended the last Ice Age.

      1. ella says:

        Thank you. The Huffington Post article shows evidence for another Maunder Minimum, little ice age, caused by solar activity. The technologyreview.com article shows the deep ice age cycles. A study in Ireland indicates that temperatures were much warmer there 2000 years ago, much like it is today. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10933-008-9251-1 But then temperatures began to drop around the 13th century and ultimately resulted in the (Maunder Minimum) Little Ice Age. It is well documented that there are cold cycles followed by warmer cycles, but we are in a upswing in temperature at this time that began over 200 years ago. In the past we did not have greenhouse gas pumps filling the atmosphere globally. The Huff post article shows how a sudden decrease in solar radiation could precipitate another small ice age. Of course the planetary heating temper the degree drop, but it may be enough to bring back our temperate climate. I asked if there was scientific evidence of the next ice age and there is a reasonable report. It may be that with our attempts to moderate the climate change we have begun, the natural cycles may make the final adjustments. Bob Dole made a video “The Inconvenient Truth” dramatizing the effects of CO2 atmospheric increases. That is a bit more than is desired.

  9. ella says:

    Anybody care to speculate what we will do to keep warm or where we will live then?

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