According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2015 is on its way to becoming the hottest year on record.
The announcement was made on Thursday, when the organization revealed that for 6 months this year there have been record-breaking temperatures.
Based on data provided by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), in August hot weather has surpassed previous records set in 2014 by 0.16 degrees Fahrenheit. The month’s global average was of 67.1 degrees, which also impacted Arctic sea ice, now at levels which are 22% below the 1981-2010 median.
On the other hand, April and January have remained the only months of the year without record highs, Ever since May, temperatures have constantly reached higher values than ever before and this worrying trend has been going on for 5 consecutive seasons so far.
Overall, this summer has become the hottest ever recorded across the planet, since 1880, exceeding 20th century average temperatures by 1.53 degrees.
In the last 15 years, seasonal heat records have been broken on 11 occasions, while monthly temperatures reached all-time-highs 30 times, on sea and land likewise. In comparison, cold weather records haven’t been set for almost a century, since 1916.
The ever-growing list of broken records related to global warming has been linked to human-made climate change, although other natural factors have been identified as well.
For instance, El Niño results in an uptick in temperatures, with overly wet weather in South America between April and October, and drier winters in some U.S. regions (the Northwest, the upper Northeast, and the northern Midwest). However, this warming effect occurring in the eastern Pacific Ocean is much less damaging than our own contribution to climate change.
Based on calculations by NOAA before August, 2015 was 97% likely to surpass the previous year in terms of global temperatures. Given the continuing upward trends, it appears the possibility is even higher than previous estimations, believes Deke Arndt, global monitoring chief for NCEI.
However, due to El Niño, meteorologists predict that for the following winter season weather will be cooler than usual in Southern U.S. states, from California to New Mexico. On the other hand, there will be higher averages than normal on the Pacific Coast and Alaska. According to forecasts, this year’s El Niño may become as catastrophic as in 1997, since it has been strengthening recently.
Such findings are particularly relevant now, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Paris between November 30 and December 11.
Global leaders from more than 190 nations are expected to establish a universal, legally-binding agreement on climate, for the first time in more than 20 years. The objective is to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, before climate change becomes irreversible and cataclysmic.
Image Source: Flickr