Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Earth Stats Science

Last January Was the Hottest Global Temperature Anomaly In Recorded History 393

merbs writes: NASA has released its global temperature data for January 2016, and, once again, the record for the hottest month in recorded history has been shattered. At a time when these kinds of records are broken with some regularity, it takes a particularly scorching month to raise eyebrows in the climate science community. It has to be the hottest hottest month by a pretty hot margin. Sure enough, last January did the trick: It was 1.13 C warmer than the global average of 1951-1980 (the benchmark NASA uses to measure warming trends)—in other words, a full 2F warmer than pre-1980 levels.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Last January Was the Hottest Global Temperature Anomaly In Recorded History

Comments Filter:
  • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:48PM (#51515353)

    Here in Michigan- it's been a fine spring so far!

    • Well, it was a nice spring, but it seems to have given summer and fall a miss and gone straight on to winter again!

    • Re:Michigan..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @05:31AM (#51517789)

      Here in the western part of Germany we had no winter for at least three consecutive years. We had just a late autumn going over to a very early spring. In fact, we had such a warm december (up to +15C) that blackbirds started to breed and the offspring was quickly killed by the lack of suitable food in january.

      I have several pairs of cross country skis in the cellar that haven't seen snow for years even though I live in the mountains. I didn't even have to change my bicycle tyres to studded tyres this winter and last two winters I had to change tyres only for two days or so.

  • by chrism238 ( 657741 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:51PM (#51515383)
    How many near consecutive broken records does it take for weather extremes to no longer be called 'anomalies'?
    • by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:52PM (#51515391)

      For rational people? Or the other kind?

      • What the Anomaly is (Score:5, Informative)

        by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:06PM (#51515503) Homepage

        How many near consecutive broken records does it take for weather extremes to no longer be called 'anomalies'?

        The "anomaly" is defined as the difference in temperature from the reference baseline. Even if that difference were zero, it would still be called the temperature anomaly-- it would be an anomaly of zero.

        FAQ: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/moni... [noaa.gov]

        • icehouse earth (Score:3, Informative)

          by emil ( 695 )
          This raises the question of climate change. It should be conveyed and understood that we are in a phase of âoeicehouse earthâ that is abnormally cool for the planet. While this phase has lasted the entirety of human civilization and would have drastic consequences for many species should it end, it must be understood that temperatures and CO2 levels have normally been far higher. âoeWe find that CO2 emissions [during the Cretaceous] resulting from super-plume tectonics could have produced at
          • Re:icehouse earth (Score:5, Informative)

            by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @11:59PM (#51516831) Homepage

            Wow, a long comment that's mostly correct, but seems to mostly be irrelevant.

            The main point-- that the Earth right now is in the middle of an ice age is indeed accurate. Earth is much cooler than it is on the average-- in fact, most of the time, Earth doesn't have frozen water at the polar caps!

            And the climate was indeed much warmer (along with much higher levels of CO_2) during much of the Cretaceous. Rising CO_2 is NOT going to destroy the world-- the world has functioned just fine with higher temperatures and higher CO_2. It will adapt

            The tricky part is-- we've sort of built our civilization around the climate we currently have. Flooding the seacoast, turning farmland into desert (and tundra into farmland) all these would disrupt our civilization abruptly.

            • by janimal ( 172428 )

              The tricky part is-- we've sort of built our civilization around the climate we currently have. Flooding the seacoast, turning farmland into desert (and tundra into farmland) all these would disrupt our civilization abruptly.

              Thinking that this is any different than in prehistoric times is naive. As it turns out, much of Middle East's cities were erected around waterways that no longer exist. They didn't disappear because of man-made climate change. This is not a new problem, only this time around we can influence the rate of change to a small degree. What is debatable is whether the degree of control that we do have is enough to matter, and even if it is, is it good value for money and good use of our limited science/engineerin

          • Re:icehouse earth (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @12:10AM (#51516881) Homepage

            While true, what you say is not particularly relevant to us today. We've been in the current phase for tens of millions of years, and are unlikely to exit this anytime soon - unless perhaps by our own doing.

            The planetary biosphere may well eventually flourish, in a much warmer climate. But in the short term (hundreds of years, rather than millions), sudden and drastic changes to temperature such as those we are going through now do not give the biosphere sufficient time to adapt, and mass extinctions are likely to result. Further, we humans must also adapt, which will incur significant costs as we migrate our populations & cities, infrastructure and farmlands, to more favourable locations - and likewise, these costs rise fast if we're forced to adapt quickly. Many economic studies [wikipedia.org] have been done on the financial consequences of climate mitigation vs adaption, and most find mitigation to be considerably cheaper.

            If we wanted to encourage a warmer planet, this is far from the optimal way to go about it.

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:00PM (#51515447)

      It will take future analysis and records. If the trends continue, it's not an anomaly. If the temperature trends drop, then we know it was a temporary blip in the record. Only time will really tell.

      Geologically speaking, we've only been recording temperatures for an infinitesimally small amount of time. Moreover, there's obviously no experimental control possible - i.e., we can't tell what the temperature would be without humans with any certainty - it's all theoretical models that are describing the trends we're seeing.

      I'm not saying the models are necessarily incorrect. I'm just pointing out that they are, in fact, only predictions and models. The only way to judge their validity is to measure their ability to predict trends over time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mbkennel ( 97636 )
        | The only way to judge their validity is to measure their ability to predict trends over time.

        And many other behaviors, and judge the validity by examining the quality of the physics implemented in them.

        There are effects which are directly a result of the underlying proposed mechanism (increased greenhouse gases), such as polar regions warming more than equatorial regions, night warming more than day, stratospheric cooling and distinguish from many other possible mechanisms.

        These signatures have been obser
      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        The last time I checked we could be certain that most of the models were incorrect, because they differed significantly in their predictions. Of course, they tended to predict the same general class of thing. I don't think any predicted that there would be increased CO2 and decreased global warming.

        This is why the actual predictions that got published tended to be an average of an ensemble of predictions. And it was "pretty good, but sure not perfect". Unfortunately, when the average is better than any

        • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @12:06AM (#51516857) Homepage

          If the only two choices are "Absolutely right" or "completely wrong," this might make sense. The people who said "the earth is not flat, it's a sphere!" were, in fact, wrong. But, they were not as wrong as people who said that the Earth is flat.

          Science actually works by making progressively better models.

          The global warming models have error bars. Right now, the error bars are large-- plus or minus about 50%. But, the main feature-- the fact that increasing carbon dioxide does increase warming-- is pretty well established.

        • The last time I checked we could be certain that most of the models were incorrect, because they differed significantly in their predictions.

          Which models and when did you check them? I'll do a little research for you and report back.

        • The last time I checked we could be certain that most of the models were incorrect, because they differed significantly in their predictions.

          When did you check? Because that's not true.

          Individual model runs can produce different short term (< 30 year) outcomes, but the ensemble means match each other pretty well.

          (Individual model runs have to be different -- they include unpredictable events like volcanic eruptions and el-Ninos).

      • It will take future analysis and records. If the trends continue, it's not an anomaly. If the temperature trends drop, then we know it was a temporary blip in the record. Only time will really tell.

        Which means? Are you saying that 99 percent surety is non actionable? It must be 100 percent, or else full steam ahead?

        Geologically speaking, we've only been recording temperatures for an infinitesimally small amount of time.

        Infinitesimally is pretty vague, If you know it's infinitesimal, how many years is it?

        Moreover, there's obviously no experimental control possible - i.e., we can't tell what the temperature would be without humans with any certainty - it's all theoretical models that are describing the trends we're seeing.

        Here's part of your mistake. You are focusing on the "human" Humans don't make the CO2, they release it when they burn the sequestered CO2 in various fuels. That CO2 is the same as any other source, such as volcanic activity.

        I'm not saying the models are necessarily incorrect. I'm just pointing out that they are, in fact, only predictions and models. The only way to judge their validity is to measure their ability to predict trends over time.

        The problem is, the models are making predictions, and they are looking like a strong degree of correlation.

        Issues or things that don't look right are constantly being compared adjusted, and updated. Science doesn't sit still. One of the big claims of the denialists about the presumed slowdown of the warming trend was announced as solved when it was found that there were measurement errors between balloon data and satellite data even the scientist who noted the discrepency. Oddly or not oddly, the denialists don't mention the later work. I've cited the work in here before. I'm not home, so I don't have the documents and links at hand.

        Your post is thoughtful, so if you are interested, what I would suggest is to actually look into the data. And to look at both sides. In fact, go to denialist websites first and take a look at what they are using to refute AGW.

        Then do searches. Some times it is difficult, as citations are often incomplete. But the detective work is kind of fun.

        Then do a new search. Find the scientists who wrote the papers referred to. This is how I found the self refutation of one of the so called model failures. Self refutation might be a strong word - I don't meant to disparage the scientist involved, because he updated and agreed with the end correlation of data.

        Perhaps after enough perusal, you might agree with me that there is a lot of cherry picking going on, and using outdated research. There is also a fair amount of disingenuous messing with data.

        Check out some of the refutation sites as well. Those can be pretty illuminating.

        Finally - take a look at some of the Exxon data.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dutch Gun ( 899105 )

          Why are people assuming I'm some "denialist"? I've already been modded down a couple of times as "overrated", which is shorthand for "I disagree with you and wish to silence you". It's hilarious... the slightest hint of wishing to validate claims with actual evidence and the pitchforks come out. And really... you must have a rather low opinion of my faculties if you seriously felt the need to point out that burning fossil fuels create the excess CO2, not the humans themselves. Sheesh.

          I sincerely try to

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by russotto ( 537200 )

      "Anomaly" in this case is a technical term meaning deviation from the reference value.

      And everyone warmist and denialist knows this one is due to El Nino, but that won't stop the warmists from crowing over it.

      • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:33PM (#51516077) Homepage

        And everyone warmist knew that the so-called "pause" was due to a series of mild La Niñas following the extra-strong El Niño in 1998, but that didn't stop the denialists crowing over it.

        Every record-breaking hottest year/month/whatever will be during a strong El Niño; that's obvious, as that's the hottest point in the ENSO cycle. What's important is that this El Niño-boosted January was hotter than every other El Niño-boosted January we've ever seen. Again.

        We've had so many hottest-ever records recently that people are apparently getting blasé about them. Reminder: in the absence of a rising trend, record-breaking temperatures become steadily less common - each new record would require an ever-more unlikely confluence of factors to boost temperatures still higher than the last record.

        A constant stream of highest-yet record temperatures is more than just weather; it's a rising trend [wordpress.com].

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        It is probably as early and as extreme as it is due to El NiÅo, but it's a lot warmer a lot earlier than it was during the last strong El NiÅo. Perhaps it's just that this one's stronger, but that isn't entirely happenstance (only partially).

        Personally, I tend to blame it on the Arctic sea ice nearly disappearing last summer, so this winter it didn't make the ocean current flowing past it as cold as it usually does...but this is just my personal speculation, and I haven't run it past any expert f

        • Dear new Slashdot owners,

          (and I don't mean this as a red-rag for the ASCII-only crowd, please consider before downmodding)

          It's a pet peeve of mine when foreign letters are mangled on here; it detracts from the discussion.

          El Ninyo being an illustrative example of why entry of foreign characters contained within common Latin-variant alphabets should be supported.

          One poster above has successfully entered the right html escape code but it's an input-dev pain in the rear, especially if you have an enye character

    • How many near consecutive broken records does it take for weather extremes to no longer be called 'anomalies'?

      Because we live in a country where people get their weather education from politicians and a Groundhog in Punxatawny PA, and not from scientists.

      Even when it' is found out that a leading oil company kew and lied about AGW decades ago - they still cling to their denialism.. So it ain't gonna happen.

  • Well then (Score:5, Funny)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @07:52PM (#51515393)

    I eagerly await the forthcoming rational, thoughtful, and respectful discourse from both sides!

    ... Where's the popcorn?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ... Where's the popcorn?

      Spread all over the land... Climate is changing so fast, the corn popped before they could harvest.

    • Would you rather listen to some cold-blooded people carefully calculating their own self-interest?
      Or some hot-headed fellow who's plan will ruin everything?

      Discuss.

  • No it isn't, yes it is, etc., etc., etc.
  • So January was higher than an average of 30 years worth of Januarys...

    Since an average is just that, an average, how did January 2016 compare to the highest January in those 30 years?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      See for yourself: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

      January 2016 was not only 0.3C hotter than the previous record-holder (2015, unsurprisingly), but 0.8C hotter than any single January in the 1951-1980 baseline. It's also 0.6C hotter than any single month in that range. It's a lot, given that the global mean is so consistently stable.

  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:20PM (#51515631) Journal

    Used to be a lot warmer many times in history. Around year 1000, and for many generations, norsemen grew grains in Greenland. Antartica and Svalbard had tropical climate millions of years ago. It appears the earth was overall a lot wetter when is was warmer, which makes sense. Probably also a lot more violent weather.

    Maybe a new ice age would be more devastating than a wet heatwave.

    • by jouassou ( 1854178 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @05:08AM (#51517735) Homepage
      I hear this argument a lot. You're right that there's nothing wrong with having a warmer climate, and as you say, it's a lot less destructive than another ice age. The problem occurs when the climate changes are too rapid. In this case, wild species don't have enough time to either migrate to suitable areas or adapt through evolution, possibly resulting in mass extinction and ecological disaster. For us humans, coastal cities would be affected by rising sealevels; climate changes would shuffle around which regions are suitable for farming and not; other food sources like fishing might be affected in unpredictable ways. So you're right that the Earth has been a lot warmer before, but that doesn't solve the short-term problems caused by rapid climate change.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2016 @08:51PM (#51515823)

    136 years is a few milliseconds on climatic and geologic time scales.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      136 years is a few milliseconds on climatic and geologic time scales.

      No, it's 136 years.

  • And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday February 15, 2016 @09:20PM (#51516005) Journal
    Ppl will continue to scream that America with less than 15% of total emissions, and dropping, is responsible, while china with more than 33% ( mid 40s% according to oco2 ) is OK to continue growing it. Far better to die, than to break political correctness and survive.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      If you live in the US it is appropriate the scream that the US is responsible. This doesn't deny that China is doing more (though they are improving).

      FWIW, if you drive a car you are not only responsible for the emissions that you create when you drive, but also for the emissions created during the manufacture, and later during it's disposal. So while the manufacturers are responsible, SO ARE THE USERS.

      That said, if the US continues to decrease Carbon emissions, then the main problem will be consumption o

  • in other words, a full 2F warmer than pre-1980 levels.

    Simply devalue the degree Fahrenheit. Most of the world uses Celsius, so few people will be affected by it. And at a stroke you've managed what governments all over the world do when faced with an annoying problem: redefined it out of existence. The final step would be to rename Climate Change to something else, reset all the counters so that all old measurements cannot be converted. Then just carry on as if nothing had happened.

Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line

Working...