As Americans went to the polls on November 8th, 2016 scientists delivered a report that indicated a clear and consistent warming trend. The report was presented on the same day that the Russians and the FBI duped Americans into electing Donald Trump. The President-Elect is a climate denier who loves fossil fuels and has no interest in science. He is the least qualified president in US history.
The November report was delivered by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) at COP22 in Morocco. The report showed that the past five years were the hottest on record. The irony that such a report was presented on the same day as Trump was elected president is more terrifying than it is laughable. It is not hyperbole to say that the data, along with the election of Trump, points to the end of civilization as we know it.
The WMO report indicates we are already getting dangerously close to the upper threshold temperature limit (1.5 – 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms). We are currently averaging 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The report indicated that the period between 2011-2015 was the hottest five-year period on record.
In 2016 heat records were set in locations all around the world around. Here are some of those records: . 42.7C was recorded in Pretoria, South Africa, Mae Hong Son in Thailand saw 44.6C, Phalodi, India reached 51.0C, the temperature in Baghdad, Iraq reached 47.7C and Mitribah, Kuwait recorded a temperature of 54C and Mitribah in Kuwait recorded 54.0C. Parts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran experienced a heat index of 60C and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, recorded an all-time high temperature of nearly 52.2. These are some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Heat records were set for the warmest fall ever in four of Australia’s seven states and territories. Last year we also saw the death of massive swaths of the Great Barrier Reef. Globally July and August 2016 were tied as the warmest months ever recorded.
The heat is so bad that some studies are predicting that there are parts of the earth that will soon become unlivable.
This record-setting heat is corroborated by data which makes it all but certain that 2016 will eclipse 2015 as the hottest year on record. The 2016 data represents a new record high for the third consecutive year. Last year will go down in history as the hottest year in a string of record-breaking years.
Taken in a wider context the data from 2016 is especially troubling. Eleven of the past twelve consecutive months going back to October 2015 have set new monthly high temperature records in the NASA GISS database. Other scientific sources report that temperature records have been broken over the past 18 consecutive months. The trend is unmistakable with 16 of the 17 hottest years having occurred this century.
In 2016 nations all around the world ratified the Paris Climate Agreement including the world’s two largest polluters China and the US. Both nations as well as many others have provided strong evidence for the decoupling of growth and emissions.
Professor Corinne Le Quéré, at University of East Anglia in the UK, who led the analysis, said: “This third year of almost no growth in emissions is unprecedented at a time of strong economic growth. This is a great help for tackling climate change but it is not enough. Global emissions now need to decrease rapidly, not just stop growing.”
Although greenhouse gas emissions are slowing global temperatures keep rising. Now that Trump is destined to be the President of the United States US emissions are expected to rise significantly, this will mean even more warming. So even the good news is tempered by some pretty awful news.
For those who see climate through the myopic lens of the US, 2016 is expected to be the hottest or the second hottest year since the dawn of modern record keeping. According to Climate Central’s Brian Kahn, the US was “remarkably” hot last year. US weather stations are reporting far more record breaking highs than lows. One in ten 10 weather stations across the US reported their hottest year on record.
As reported by Chris Mooney in a Washington Post article, the scientific evidence is being countered by fake news from Breitbart (owned by Steve Bannon Trump’s chief strategic advisor) and others that erroneously suggests we are experiencing global cooling. Fake news cherry picks information with the goal of casting aspersions on legitimate science and sewing doubt. They did the same thing with the so called global warming hiatus starting in 2012.
Another way that deniers discredit the climate reality is by inferring that these warming temperatures are not caused by human activity. However, those who actually study climate say the relationship between warming and human activity is irrefutable. Although there may be some monthly variability, “[T]he long-term increase in temperatures [is] due to human activities,” said Ed Hawkins, a climate researcher at the University of Reading in the UK.
Despite the contentions of the purveyors of fake news we are seeing multi-decadal warming attributable to human activities (primarily the burning of fossil fuels). As one scientist explained, “the fact that the Earth is warming appears virtually incontrovertible.”
Its going to get far worse
There is no reprieve from anthropogenic warming. Not only is there is no cooling the rate at which the planet is warming appears to be accelerating. The speeding up of global warming was predicted by a March 2015 study titled, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change.”
While the situation is already bad, it is going to get far worse. To help us understand just how hot it is going to get Maddie Stone reports on warming predictions from Climate Explorer which draws on two of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s models.
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2015 was the Hottest Year on Record and 2016 will be Hotter
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2015 – The Hottest Summer in the Hottest Year on Record
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Extreme Heat in the Western World Marks the Start of Summer 2015
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India’s Heat Wave Offers a Glimpse into the Future
2014 is the Hottest Year in Recorded History
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Record Breaking Heat Suggests Accelerated Warming