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Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Environment, Featured, Politics | 13 comments

Scariest stats, so far, on global warming

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Here’s one way to look at it: If you’re around 50 now, the rest of your life will be much tougher thanks to the changing weather patterns. But you’ve got it easy compared to your children who will have some truly scary years thanks to the rapidly changing climate.

In the annals of climatology, 2014 now surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human emissions and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and to the natural world.

Of the large inhabited land areas, only the eastern half of the United States recorded below-average temperatures in 2014, a sort of mirror image of the unusual heat in the West. Some experts think the stuck-in-place weather pattern that produced those extremes in the United States is itself an indirect consequence of the release of greenhouse gases, though that is not proven.

Several scientists said the most remarkable thing about the 2014 record was that it occurred in a year that did not feature El Niño, a large-scale weather pattern in which the ocean dumps an enormous amount of heat into the atmosphere. …NYT

Climate change deniers have been clinging to El Niño as a way out of what they regard as climate change nonsense. They don’t have El Niño to lean on anymore.

Longstanding claims by climate-change skeptics that global warming has stopped, seized on by politicians in Washington to justify inaction on emissions, depend on a particular starting year: 1998, when an unusually powerful El Niño produced the hottest year of the 20th century.

With the continued heating of the atmosphere and the surface of the ocean, 1998 is now being surpassed every four or five years, with 2014 being the first time that has happened in a year featuring no real El Niño pattern. Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said the next time a strong El Niño occurs, it is likely to blow away all temperature records. …NYT

So now believer and denier are going to have to face some really hard times together.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

graphic via shutterstock.com

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