Good news, everyone! The Earth is still like a car with the windows rolled up, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is coming by with the keys any time soon.
July 2017 is statistically tied with July 2016 for the title of hottest July in 137 years of records, Mashable reported, which is especially concerning because there was no El Niño — a complicated climate cycle in which the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean floods with warmer than usual water, and raises the average temperature across the globe.
According to a NASA press release, July 2017 was 0.83C warmer than the 1951 to 1980 baseline average, beating out July 2016 by an incredibly slim margin. El Niño was ongoing in 2016, which means that this year’s July was able to match a predecessor with extra help. Alarmingly, NASA noted “all previous months of July were more than a tenth of a degree cooler”.
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies tracking of monthly temporary anomalies superimposed on a 1980-2015 mean seasonal cycle. Credit: NASA
NASA added their data is collected from some “6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research stations”.
The data is preliminary and may change, Mashable noted. But climate scientist Gavin Schmidt tweeted what data is already available predicts that there is a 77 per cent chance 2017 will duel with 2016 as the hottest year on record.
Prediction for 2017 annual mean in GISTEMP w/Jul data in, 77% chance of a top 2 year. pic.twitter.com/zwZVnEXit3
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) August 15, 2017
Scientists are increasingly able to demonstrate higher rates of extreme weather events — such as massive storm systems or a southern European heat wave this year that locals dubbed “Lucifer” — are linked to climate change. One of the key findings of a draft of an upcoming US federal scientific survey was that uncertainty in this field is diminishing, and changes to the climate caused by humans dumping massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are primarily responsible.
“Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapour,” the report’s executive summary read. “… The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the globe.”
As Mashable noted, the last cooler than average month in the 137 years of recorded data was December 1984.
The good news is that most of the world’s nations have agreed to work together to start dealing with the problem, ratifying the 2015 Paris accords. The bad news is the US federal government under Republican leadership is continuing to do its best to destroy decades of environmental regulations and undermine climate science.