NASA, NOAA — 2015 Was Hottest Year on Record By a Significant Margin. 2016 May be Even Hotter.

“Even without El Niño, this would have been the warmest year on record.” Dr Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA GISS, in a press conference today.

******

2015 was a historic year for global temperatures. A massive accumulation of greenhouse gasses pushing above 400 parts per million CO2 (and hitting in the range of 485 ppm CO2e) combined with one of the strongest El Ninos on record to spike global temperatures in every major climate monitor well beyond the 1 C above 1880s threshold. This marks the first time in the history of human civilization that temperatures have been so hot globally. A severe departure that moves our current world decisively out of the Holocene context and into hitherto uncharted territory.

Global Land Ocean Temperature Index

(NASA Land-Ocean Temperature Index shows a historic record hot year for 2015. A trend line that speaks volumes for how much human-forced warming through fossil fuel burning has altered the world’s climate. Image source: NASA GISS.)

In the NASA monitor, 2015 beat out previous record hot year 2014 by a significant 0.13 C margin. A measure 0.87 C above the 1950-to-1981 NASA 20th Century base-line and fully 1.09 C above 1880s averages. Just one look at the graph above tells a stark story of raging global temperature increases — especially since 1980 where the average decadal increase is now solidly above 0.15 C every ten years.

NOAA’s own monitor tells a similar story with 2015 coming in at 0.90 C above the 20th Century average or about 1.12 C above 1880s averages. That’s just 0.38 C below the increasingly dangerous 1.5 C threshold and just 0.88 C below the very dangerous 2 C mark. If the current rapid warming trend in the global temperature graph were to merely continue, we’d pass the 1.5 C mark in less than two decades time and hit the 2 C mark within just 4-5 decades. That said, if an analysis by Dr. Michael Mann is correct, we could hit the 2 C mark by as early as the middle 2030s if we continue fossil fuel burning at such a ridiculously rapid rate.

Most Heat Concentrated Northward

Though 2015 was the hottest year on record, not all of that heat was evenly distributed. Though practically all of the globe experienced above average temperatures for the year, there were noted exceptions. Greatest above average temperature departures concentrated in the upper Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Alaska, Western Canada, the Beaufort Sea, the High Arctic north of Svalbard, the Barents and Laptev Seas and most of Northern Continental Asia experienced extreme temperature departures in the range of 3 to 3.6 degrees Celsius above average. Exceptional heat in the range of 2-3 degrees Celsius above average also held sway over the Western United States and an area of warmth in the Northeastern Pacific dubbed the hot blob.

Geospatial Anomalies 2015

(2015 Showed a continued Northern Hemisphere Polar Amplification with regions near and within the Arctic showing the greatest above average temperature anomalies. Image source: NASA GISS.)

Though most of the world showed above average temperature readings, negative departures appeared in the region of the Southern Ocean just north of Antarctica and in the cool pool zone of the North Atlantic south of Greenland. During recent years, atmosphere to ocean heat transfer has been quite intense in the Southern Ocean — the upshot of increasingly powerful storms in the 50s and 60s South Latitude region. The North Atlantic cool pool has also been a persistent feature during recent years — one that is likely related to a weakening of the northward flow of the Gulf Stream, a weakening of overturning circulation in the North Atlantic, and an increased rate of glacial melt outflow from Greenland (as the current signal is stronger than traditional AMOC variability). So, ironically, both cool pools remain as ever more clear indicators that the global climate system is being driven out of balance by a rampant human emission of fossil fuels.

2016 — Third Hottest Year in a Row?

Looking ahead, it appears that 2016 may come in as yet one more hottest year on record. An event that, should it occur, would mark the first time in the global climate record that three back-to-back years set new global atmospheric temperature records (2014, 2015, and 2016).

Heat blowing off into the atmosphere from a record or near-record El Nino still likely hasn’t had its full impact. So the first 4 months or so of 2016 may see some very severe high temperature departures similar to or even higher than what we saw in December (1.42 C above 1880s for JMA, 1.34 C above 1880s for NASA, and 1.33 C above 1880s for NOAA). This probable early-year temperature spike for 2016 may be enough to carry the year forward as the new record holder given the fact that the current El Nino is expected to persist through late spring or early summer. So a record warm 2016 has better than even odds of occurring given the fact that the 2015-2016 El Nino was so strong and since it may hold on well into 2016.

More Warming in the Pipe

Longer term, the rate of greenhouse gas accumulation in the Earth atmosphere on the order of more than 2 parts per million CO2 each year and in the range of 3 parts per million CO2e does not at all bode well. As noted above, simply remaining on the current path of global temperature increase brings the world above 2 C in just 4-5 decades even as risks increase, given current levels of emissions, that the world could see 2 C worth of warming by the mid 2030s. And since greenhouse gasses are the driver in total of the current rampant global temperature increase, we should be very clear that rapid cuts to zero to net negative carbon emissions are necessary for the protection of human civilizations and for the protection of the life-sustaining capacity of the Earth itself.

Links:

NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record Shattering Global Temperatures in 2015

NASA GISS

NOAA Global Analysis

Far Worse Than Being Beaten by a Hockey Stick

Exceptional Slowdown in North Atlantic Overturning Circulation

Observing the Atlantic Overturning Circulation

Arctic Report Card 2015

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124 Comments

  1. Andy in SD

     /  January 20, 2016

    After 97/98 the fallback from the El Nino looks like it was roughly 0.2 degrees to a still significant leap in global average. After this El Nino peters out we’ll see where it lands. The result most likely will be still much higher, it really all depends on the recovery from this El Nino and where it ends.

    Then we can see if we are within a significant state change.

    Reply
  2. John McCormick

     /  January 20, 2016

    I believe the climate sensitivity of CO2e is greater than that of CO2. That being the case, why has the public discussion of AGW only and forever focused on CO2? When Manua Loa measures CO2 at 485 ppm we’ll be toast.

    Reply
    • CO2 is the primary governor due to its long residence time. IPCC calculates total radiative imbalance which includes all GHG. So the CO2e number is implied. But, yes, it all matters, even if CO2 is what really gets you long term. I include CO2e because the forcing is relevant to current timeframes and it’s generally easier to understand than radiative imbalance.

      Reply
  3. Wharf Rat

     /  January 20, 2016

    Can I have an “Uh, oh”..

    “GISS up by 0.07°C in December, NOAA by 0.14, many records set. According to the NCEP/NCAR index, January is even hotter again, by a long way. ”
    http://moyhu.blogspot.com/2016/01/giss-up-by-007-in-december-noaa-by-014.html

    followed by an “Oh, shit”?
    “As expected, 2015 is the warmest year in the series. .According to Britain’s Met Office, 2016 is likely to be warmer still. The increase from 2015 to 2016 is likely to be as big as the jump from 2014 to 2015.”

    http://critical-angle.net/2016/01/20/a-global-temperature-record-for-2015/

    Reply
    • My view is that 2016 ends in the range of 1.2 C to 1.25 C above 1880s. The first few months of 2016 will be pretty obscene. There’s a lot that depends on what happens to this El Niño after summer. Most of the signal in the models now is neutral or La Niña. But this very strong mid ocean WWB will give it some legs. In my view, the drama isn’t over by a long shot.

      Reply
      • Wharf Rat

         /  January 20, 2016

        Get ready for 20 years of “There’s been no warming since 2016”.

        Reply
        • With PDO going positive, I doubt there’ll be the same kind of cover. Worth noting, though, that 2002 was the first year in which temps exceeded 1998. That whole meme was just a ridiculous myth.

      • Wharf Rat

         /  January 20, 2016

        “With PDO going positive, I doubt there’ll be the same kind of cover”
        LMAO. They never needed cover….

        “‘I bet you in a few years’ time they will say global warming stopped in 2015 or 2016,’ Myles Allen, a climate expert at Oxford University.”

        from

        In global warming bets, record 2015 heat buoys mainstream science
        http://www.reuters.com/article/climatechange-bets-idUSL8N1541LL

        Reply
      • climatehawk1

         /  January 20, 2016

        It WAS a myth, with never so much as a whiff of actual science. The deniers stuck to it anyway, and really made a lot of hay communications-wise with their consistency and the simplicity of the meme. Even individual scientists started talking about how their individual projects helped explain the (nonexistent) hiatus. Yeesh..

        Reply
  4. Robert – is it truly the case that temps have surpassed the “Holocene Maximum” at this point?

    Reply
  5. Mike - Rogers

     /  January 20, 2016

    Robert,

    I think you meant 2016…

    So the first 4 months or so of 2015

    Michael

    Michael Hornick

    Reply
  6. wili

     /  January 20, 2016

    From Michael Mann: “Let’s summarize. We’re already close to 1.2C net warming for the Northern Hemisphere relative to a true pre-industrial baseline. If we were to suddenly halt all fossil fuel burning (and other human activities generating carbon emissions), then greenhouse warming would cease […]

    However, we would see another ~0.5C warming owing to the disappearance of sulphate pollutants, yielding 1.2C+0.5C = 1.7C total warming, perilously close to the 2C limit”

    Reply
    • Mann needs to consider paleoclimate, I think. 400 ppm CO2 = 2 to 3 C warming long term and probably in the range of Mann’s 1.7 C this Century. We really, really need to halt fossil fuel burning and fast.

      Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 20, 2016

        Totally agree that we need to halt the loading of CO2 into the atmosphere. Interesting article in Guardian that suggests the Middle Eastern countries are investing heavily into renewable – for economic reasons, leaving more oil for export – however the article suggests that there is a realisation that they need to invest now before the carbon market folds.
        Too little too late? At least it shows renewables are worldwide and making an impact in every market.
        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/20/slump-in-oil-prices-drives-green-energy-take-up-in-top-exporting-nations

        Reply
      • Having dabbled around the edges of the energy field for a long time, I find it hard to believe that is actually what’s going on. All of the talking heads have seemed sooooo resistant to the notion of large-scale change for so long–look at the big oil companies bouncing into solar in the ’80s and ’90s and then exiting again en masse. If it IS what’s causing the change, it’s very good news. Could, I suppose, be prompted by 1) Paris (OPEC obstructionism did not prevent agreement) and 2) object lesson of seeing coal get so deservedly and thoroughly crushed.

        Reply
        • I think there’s a growing concern. A growing sense of urgency. I think we could certainly gain ground by pushing a carbon tax on fossil fuel imports. I think that would be a worthwhile angle to push globally. I don’t think the major oil interests have switched focus, though. That a lot of what we see is a return to greenwash after climate change denial efforts have failed. OPEC’s opening the spigots could also be seen as an attempt to tamp down growing interest in electric vehicles and solar vs diesel at the margins. But that bit has vastly failed. The primary impact has been on the fracking and unconventional fuel interests.

          I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if the Saudis, for example, are very well aware of how precarious their position is. They already live in a desert and as the world warms their food security situation will grow worse — not only due to their own land stresses, but due to stresses in places where they grow and import food. Their economic attachment to fossil fuels is more immediately self destructive. I’d think they might have realized this by now.

      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  January 21, 2016

        Robert, I am sure the House of Saud is aware of how precarious their situation is economically, politically and enviromentally. I am sure they are aware of the scientific evidence that suggests that areas of the gulf could become unihabitable due to heat and humidity, the richest already de-camp each summer to London etc. but feel trapped politically, reduce subsidy and you risk rebellion from a young underemployed population.

        Equally if carbon is on the way out they also smell opportunity, from renewable electricity or hydrogen production, but they are going to make the current assets sweat to fund the change. That’s the optimistic picture as you could read the runes in a very negative fashion and maynot be wrong. The whole region is a potential powder keg.

        Reply
    • Tom

       /  January 20, 2016

      That’s the standard line “IF we . . .” but we DON’T (at least we haven’t yet, and considering the time lag for the effects to hit . . .draw your own conclusions)!

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  January 21, 2016

        I think the Sauid’s may also they may as well get the oil out now while it is still worth something.

        Stranded assets must be on their mind.

        Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  January 21, 2016

        ooops. ‘may also think’

        Reply
  7. wili

     /  January 20, 2016

    And this El Nino year jigged up as it is on accelerating GW is not without consequences:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-drought-wfp-idUSKCN0UW1AM

    “U.N. food agency says 14 million face hunger in southern Africa”

    Reply
  8. wili

     /  January 20, 2016

    “2015 Shattered All Temperature Records, and It Wasn’t Just El Niño”

    ….Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies said in a press conference this morning.

    “Even without El Niño, this would have been the warmest year on record.

    We’re looking at at long-term trend, and this is just a symptom.”

    http://gizmodo.com/2015-shattered-all-temperature-records-and-it-wasnt-ju-1753945933

    Reply
  9. Loni

     /  January 20, 2016

    I hope your office affords you a comfortable chair, Robert.

    I want to thank you for both this post and the previous, most disturbing post. Singularly large events in both of those bays. We continue to ignore these events, and these ever increasing counts and temps at our own peril.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Loni. I’m sick with the flu today so the office chair is the couch. We might get 3 feet of snow Fri-Sat due in no small part to a record warm Gulf Stream and all that heat/moisture bleeding off it. Looks like this year’s Boston may be my hometown.

      The events was disturbing, due in no small part to the fact that Newfoundland is now seeing ice burgs out of season.

      Reply
      • – Stay warm. Be well.
        Thanks for being on top of things.
        DT

        Reply
        • Ha! Well I had to get this one out at least. There’s just so much going on it’s crazy.

          Thanks for everything, DT.

      • John Upton ‏@johnupton 28m28 minutes ago

        What’s more horrific than a blizzard? A blizzard accompanied by record storm surge flooding.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 20, 2016

        Oh no, Robert I hope you feel better soon! I feel guilty enjoying a new post by you knowing you’re suffering while writing it.

        In regards to the storm, up here in Ct it looks like we’ll be on the fringes of it. You’re area may be in the bull’s-eye. Stay warm and safe!

        Reply
        • Yesterday I was completely laid out. Today is a bit better. Just not my usual speed.

          Looks like I’ll have a front row seat for this one. We are almost in the bull’s eye for highest snowfall totals. GFS has 30 inches for my area right now. 2-4 inches per hour and possible thunder snow in the advisory. Now that’s what latent energy will do for a storm. Temps out in the Gulf Stream just 300 miles away are in the 70s. That’s a 55 F differential. Huge storm intensity driver there. Plus all that extra moisture and it really looks like we are going to get hammered.

          I’m in Gaithersburg MD. Hometown of VA Beach may get serious flooding.

      • Good luck! Looks like VT is out of this one, unfortunately. Can’t win ’em all. (Having lived in DC for a decade, I do have a feel for how much more serious a foot or two of snow is there than here.)

        Reply
      • Having lived in DC for a decade, I do have a feel for how much more serious a foot or two of snow is there than here.

        Aye, aye, aye..a 1-2 inch prelude tonight paralyzed the area. Usual 15 minute drives took people 2 hours at rush hour. The president’s motorcade is reported to been seen slipping/sliding…I forgot how unprepared this area is re: any snow. I don’t understand since it does snow here..Maybe Robert can offer some insight?

        Reply
      • Bill H

         /  January 21, 2016

        Yep, good luck Robert. There’ll be two blizzards: one of snow and the other of comments along the lines of “all this snow, and yet the alarmists/leftists/fraudsters/hoaxers still tell us the world is warming”.

        Reply
        • There will probably be more snowstorms after this one if the weather holds. I’ve got something for them to chew on coming, though.

        • Wait, you’re forgetting the extra-strength bozo response: “Oops, looks like I have to go shovel a bunch of global warming off my deck/driveway/walk. Har. Har. Har.”

      • This storm re: Har har and climate change…Here’s Greg Laden’s take…not new news for folk here. Although I like his explanation and following of this storm.

        _____
        A quick word about climate change and El Niño
        Yes, this storm is getting its extra moisture and power from climate change with a does of El Niño added in. The driver of this wetness (which will be snowness) is very high sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic. El Niño influences this, but frankly, the sea surface temperatures off shore right now are not a lot different than they were last January, when a huge More’easter blanketed New England in a big pile of snow. This is a global warming enhanced storm.

        http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2016/01/21/moreeaster-jonas-looks-like-the-real-deal/#.VqG02chh0ZU.twitter

        Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  January 20, 2016

    Re-post :
    Tonight NOVA is airing a new program on the collapse of the krill stocks around Antarctica. I’m sure it will be available tomorrow online for those outside the US :

    NOVA
    Mystery Beneath the Ice Preview

    What’s behind the death of a tiny creature with an outsized role in the Antarctic? Airing January 20, 2016 at 9 pm on PBS

    Link

    Reply
  11. – Middle East:
    cnbc.com/2016/01/15/saudi-arabia-buying

    Saudi Arabia buying up farmland in US Southwest
    Friday, 15 Jan 2016 | 11:40 AM ET

    Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries are scooping up farmland in drought-afflicted regions of the U.S. Southwest, and that has some people in California and Arizona seeing red.

    Saudi Arabia grows alfalfa hay in both states for shipment back to its domestic dairy herds. In another real-life example of the world’s interconnected economy, the Saudis increasingly look to produce animal feed overseas in order to save water in their own territory, most of which is desert.

    Privately held Fondomonte California on Sunday announced that it bought 1,790 acres of farmland in Blythe, California — an agricultural town along the Colorado River — for nearly $32 million. Two years ago, Fondomont’s parent company, Saudi food giant Almarai, purchased another 10,000 acres of farmland about 50 miles away in Vicksburg, Arizona, for around $48 million.

    – Andy Sacks | Getty Images
    Harvesting alfalfa crop

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 20, 2016

      RS –
      Lousy time to get sick , the weather eagles at Dr. Master’s site are freaking out about what’s coming your way. Full moon Saturday, those tides at Virgina Beach are going to be EPIC.
      Buckle yer chin strap.

      Reply
      • They’re comparing it to the 1962 storm. That was the last time VA Beach had a major dune breech. This thing’s coming in on the back of an astronomical high tide and Gulf Stream back up. Could be rather bad.

        Yeah. Crappy time to get sick. Yesterday was worse. Hope I’ll be back to near 100 percent by tomorrow.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 20, 2016

        You should be well just in time for the storm. This one should be a good one. Lot’s of moisture and warm water. And like Bob pointed out, the timing with the tides couldn’t be worse.

        Reply
      • PlazaRed

         /  January 20, 2016

        I am thinking that what also has to be considered, or taken into account, is that with the slowing of the Gulf Stream, then the sea level at the coasts will be higher than what it would be with a normal Gulf Stream!
        This kind of effect can be described as a by product of global warming via possibly several different channels which then result in effect that the local population would not normally expect.
        Hence what your or their chart says the “high” tide will be, is in fact lower than what actually happens.
        In reality the high tide is several units of measurement above what is predicted!
        This is a generally unexpected side effect of the CO2 warming and its side effects into the real physical world.

        Reply
    • Griffin

       /  January 21, 2016

      The water wars are well underway, even if most do not know it yet.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 21, 2016

        You’re right, Griffin, they have. And most people are totally unaware. This is a good write up about how every major bank and/or investment firm has been buying up water and water rights in recent years. It is widely viewed to be “the oil of the 21st century.” The wealthy realize that people will pay whatever they have to for water. It is not a commodity or luxury, and people can’t just cut back or decide to do without.

        https://www.popularresistance.org/wall-street-mega-banks-are-buying-up-the-worlds-water/

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 21, 2016

        Wow Ryan, that is a lot of information that is rather unpleasant to learn of. People suck.

        Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  January 20, 2016

    I listened to the dual press conference this morning.
    A question was asked if back to back record years had been seen before, the answer was yes . On 3 (?) occasions , but 3 years running is an unheard of event.

    Reply
  13. – A de facto subsidy of fossil fuel?

    Sightline Institute ‏@Sightline 8m8 minutes ago

    At least 15% of the price of rent in #Seattle stemmed from developers’ cost of building parking.

    Reply
    • – I used asphalt and fossil fuel dependent emissions magnet Disney-land as an example here a while back. Good to see it use here.
      – Also you can see the impact this has on shopping center, etc. workers who spend so much time next what are basically a perpetual slow motion traffic jams.

      NO PARKING HERE

      If you drive out to visit Disney’s Epcot center in Orlando, Florida, you will arrive at one of the biggest parking lots in America. With room for 12,000 cars, it sprawls out over 7 million square feet—about the size of 122 football fields. If you look at the lot on Google Maps, you realize that it’s nearly the size of Epcot center itself. Disney built one Epcot to hold the visitors. Then it built another to hold the cars.

      Disney isn’t alone in its expansive approach to parking. Parking is, after all, what cars do most of the time:

      A 2011 study at the University of California-Berkeley found that the United States has somewhere close to a billion parking spots. Since there are only 253 million passenger cars and light trucks in the country, that means we have roughly four times more parking spaces than vehicles. If you totaled up all the area devoted to parking, it’d be roughly 6,500 square miles…

      (An IBM survey found that worldwide, urban drivers spend an average of 20 minutes per trip looking for parking.)

      – [ You can see the impact this has on shopping center, etc. workers who spend so much time next what are basically a perpetual slow motion traffic jams! – DT]

      http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/future-parking-self-driving-cars

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 20, 2016

        That’s shocking when you realize the land and resources devoted to letting cars sit there. Think of all of the precious resources used to build cars, and most of the time they’re just sitting around…until they’re disposed of. If there was ever a symbol of our unsustainable ways, it’s gas powered vehicles. We waste millions and millions of tons of metals (and increasingly rare Earth elements which are very toxic to develop) and oil-based plastics (a very finite resource) in order to produce millions of personal vehicles that have a very short lifespan. Then the vehicles run on a very limited, one time only resource. One that is also environmentally destructive. Every day we use almost 100 million barrels of oil. Every single day. We pave huge tracts of land for driving and parking these many cars. A middle-class individual may buy many, many cars in their lifetime. The “dream” of most people is to own many cars, and continue to buy new ones every year. Then these cars become multi-thousand pound paperweights, and turn to rust in ever growing junkyards. What will be left of this Earth in another hundred years? How long can this madness really go on?

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 20, 2016

        Brilliant find there dtl,

        just think if all that was a dual plant. A solar power plant, and a parking lot And all the cars were electric. The solar panels make up the awning shading the cars .

        Parking lots are the prime places to install solar power. They shade the cars , ( no heat gain ) then power the cars.

        Let’s form a corporation !

        Reply
      • labmonkey2

         /  January 20, 2016

        Your comments bring back memories of Joni Mitchell:

        Reply
      • Bob, yeah, covering parking lots with solar power is a great idea. I’ve seen comments being skeptical about solar power taking up valuable farm land, but considering how much space we have available on factories, box stores, hospitals, shopping malls, schools, as well as parking lots, I don’t see how we don’t have enough space.

        The other idea is that we need to get away from cars and sprawl and parking lots as quickly as possible. I’m always have mixed feelings when solar powered green home concepts are shown because even if these residents are using their solar powered EVs to get around, they still have really long commutes and have to drive cars for everything. Electrified public transit and denser cities are a key part of reducing our energy use.

        Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when I can order an autonomous EV with my phone and have it pick me up at my house. I guess I could use taxis, but it’s not nearly as convenient somehow. Car sharing is a good idea too, but I still have to go to the station to get one, and they still use gas-mobiles.

        Reply
  14. Colorado Bob

     /  January 20, 2016

    Marcel Guldemond

    Your not the “Lone Ranger”. The tiny things have already made the jump , from ticks down to viruses . I’ve long thought the same thing. It’s “52 card pick-up”, where you bend the deck in your fingers , and let the cards rocket out of your hand into the air.
    If your pine beetle your a winner, if your a pine tree , well ……………. that’s what you get for standing still.

    So far it seems that creatures the size of krill are with the pine trees.

    Listening to that presser this morning they both spoke it that scientific conservatism , even as they reported a giant jump. I really wish there was more interfacing between the different fields, because the biologists are freakin’ out.

    Reply
    • I agree. Far too conservative. That bit about slowing down the rate of warming was somewhat true. But we really need to be looking at net zero to net negative carbon emissions soon if human civ and vast subsets of life on Earth are going to make it through this.

      Reply
    • Bob, it’s true, there are a lot of people freaking out and are aware of the how dangerous it is to be killing off the base of the food chain, but it’s not a part of everyday conversation. I think a lot of people seem to be clinging to the idea that maybe we just need to turn up the AC a bit and build a seawall here or there.

      Whenever I make a comment on facebook about climate change, I get zero reactions. No one wants to talk about it except for places like here or ASIB. I mean, yes I’ve always been a debby downer and am always good for killing the mood at dinner parties. Maybe I just need different friends, but I like my friends a lot!

      then again, I”m seeing more and more rooftops with solar on them, and the renewable energy business is booming, so hopefully when people see they can do something it starts to permeate more quickly into mainstream conversation. We at least now have a government here in canada talking about doing something, so hopefully they’ll follow through.

      Reply
  15. Tweet queued up on this.

    Reply
  16. Ryan in New England

     /  January 20, 2016

    California attorney general is now investigating Exxon for misleading the public about climate change.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/01/20/3741034/california-investigates-exxon-knew/

    Reply
  17. Ryan in New England

     /  January 20, 2016

    Here’s a depressing statistic; the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

    https://sourceable.net/plastic-trump-fish-oceans-report/#

    Anybody ever see the movie Wall-E? It takes place in the future where the world has been over polluted and humans take a multi-generation space “vacation” while robots attempt to clean up. There’s a scene in the beginning that shows Earth from space and it is surrounded by debris. We are swiftly creating that Earth. How shortsighted can we be!?

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 20, 2016

      This is that scene I was referring too…

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 20, 2016

      Mountains and mountains of garbage in a future Earth rendered uninhabitable by humans…

      Reply
  18. Ryan in New England

     /  January 20, 2016

    Sadly, Pakistan is planning to use exploit its largely unused coal reserves for energy, mining and burning millions of tons per year in the coming years.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/pakistan_turns_to_coal_to_keep_factories_running_20160120

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 20, 2016

      Sadly, Pakistan, is the next failed state. They’ll never burn a lump of that coal. These are some of the most pathological leaders since Hitler died in his bunker.

      Reply
  19. Ryan in New England

     /  January 20, 2016
    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  January 20, 2016

    27 Billion Barrels Worth Of Oil Projects Now Cancelled

    An estimated $380 billion worth of oil and gas projects have been cancelled since 2014, according to a new estimate from Wood Mackenzie.

    The downturn in oil prices have hit projects all around the world, and Wood Mackenzie says that 68 major projects were scrapped in 2015, which account for around 27 billion barrels of oil and natural gas.

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/27-Billion-Barrels-Worth-Of-Oil-Projects-Now-Cancelled.html

    Reply
    • So world oil production will take a hit. But this will take some time to unspool. 380 billion in cancelled projects is a pretty big deal.

      Reply
    • Found this really interesting take on oil prices by Amory Lovins:

      As Oil Prices Gyrate, Underlying Trends Are Shifting To Oil’s Disadvantage
      As investors panic over the steep drop in the price of oil, it is quietly becoming uncompetitive even at low prices before it can test the still relatively recent bullish forecasts that it would become unavailable even at high prices.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/amorylovins/2016/01/20/oil-markets-and-security/#2715e4857a0b7247bc771fc3

      Reply
      • So the current rate of oil production is unsustainable at the current price. We have 80 percent of the oil producers now in the world taking a loss with maybe only the Saudis able to eek out a profit. If these prices last for a year, the bankruptcies in the oil world will be phenomenal. We’ve written about it here before, but the carbon bubble is in the process of bursting.

        Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  January 20, 2016

    The Last Resort

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  January 21, 2016

    Buckle your chin strap.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 21, 2016

      “They call it paradise , I don’t know why . you call some place paradise , kiss it goodbye.”

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  January 21, 2016

    Eagles – ‘On the Border’

    Reply
  24. redskylite

     /  January 21, 2016

    Robert – Thanks for an excellent narrative on the state of where our climate is at the beginning of 2016. First thing I did after awakening this morning was to look at NASA’s website and there it was a strongly worded announcement and warning. Not to be ignored.

    “Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice – now is the time to act on climate.”

    and another reminder from a couple of climate scientists that the CO2 thermostat knob isn’t instant, it’s a long term control not to be tinkered with lightly.

    “The last time Earth was this hot hippos lived in Britain (that’s 130,000 years ago)”

    http://theconversation.com/the-last-time-earth-was-this-hot-hippos-lived-in-britain-thats-130-000-years-ago-53398

    Reply
  25. redskylite

     /  January 21, 2016

    We are often reminded how little we know about our own oceans, but not about how little we know about our thin and vulnerable atmosphere. Interesting new knowledge reported in the AGU blog on the mesosphere above the Antarctic, possibly information to improve climate modelling even further. Probably it’s a good idea to understand well something we take for granted and feel free to use as a common dump for all sorts of gases, toxics and mixes.

    Researchers discover surprising waves in the Antarctic atmosphere

    “These waves are very large perturbations, causing up to 100-degree Fahrenheit changes in temperature in less than five hours, and every time we look, we see them,”

    http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2016/01/19/researchers-discover-surprising-waves-in-the-antarctic-atmosphere/

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 21, 2016

      An interesting article on a page with links to many other interesting articles on the impact of el Nino and Global Warming

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-21/western-province-people-desperate-for-food-in-png-drought/7105784

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 21, 2016

      Our atmosphere is fascinating.
      Plasma tubes in the sky

      http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/space/aussie-student-proves-existence-of-plasma-tubes-floating-above-earth/news-story/253cc80013599cd79e40bca708c135f0

      AN AUSTRALIAN scientist has discovered that giant, invisible, moving plasma tubes fill the skies above Earth.

      It’s a finding that was initially met with a considerable degree of scepticism within the field of astrophysics, but a University of Sydney undergraduate student Cleo Loi, 23, has proven that the phenomenon exists.

      By using a radio telescope in the West Australian outback to see space in 3D, Ms Loi has proven that the Earth’s atmosphere is embedded with these strangely shaped, tubular plasma structures. The complex, multilayered ducts are created by the atmosphere being ionised by sunlight.

      “For over 60 years, scientists believed these structures existed, but by imaging them for the first time, we’ve provided visual evidence that they are really there,” said Ms Loi, of the Australia Research Council Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).

      “We measured their position to be about 600km above the ground, in the upper ionosphere, and they appear to be continuing upwards into the plasmasphere.

      “This is around where the neutral atmosphere ends, and we are transitioning to the plasma of outer space.

      “We saw a striking pattern in the sky where stripes of high-density plasma neatly alternated with stripes of low-density plasma. This pattern drifted slowly and aligned beautifully with the Earth’s magnetic field lines, like aurorae.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 21, 2016

        It’s a strange strange world we live in Master Jack

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25894-meet-the-electric-life-forms-that-live-on-pure-energy?full=true&print=true

        STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein’s monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these “electric bacteria” are very real and are popping up all over the place.

        Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

        “This is huge. What it means is there’s a whole part of the microbial world that we don’t know about”

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  January 21, 2016

        Those are both very interesting. Thanks Abel!

        Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  January 21, 2016

    I’m tryin’ change this water to wine

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 21, 2016

      According to Facebook , I attended the Art Students League. and I’m from Seoul. South Korea.

      What a wonderful myth . I could never write such fiction.
      Looking over my toes tonight ,

      “They call it paradise , I don’t know why . you call some place paradise , kiss it goodbye.”

      Reply
      • Hello Bob,

        I just wanted to let you know I caught the NOVA presentation during lunch today. Amazing work. My only complaint is that, given what the world is seeing now, we should have this kind of thing on national television every single day of the week. It’s not just krill, it’s everywhere and everything. And the impact to krill is certainly a big deal. But the impact is really to us all. If you live on the Earth, you’re impacted. You’re going to be impacted in big, profound ways. People need to know this in their bones. We absolutely must change the trajectory of this disaster before it becomes too terrible to withstand.

        Reply
  27. Keith Antonysen

     /  January 21, 2016

    What is of concern to me is that Oceans have been found to be significantly warming. So we have a significant jump in temperature for 2015 with the prospect of high themperatures in 2016; and then, ….what becomes of the Ocean heat?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/01/18/this-is-where-90-percent-of-global-warming-is-going/

    Reply
  28. Here is how 2016 can look like based on Met Office prediction.

    http://u.smedata.sk/blog/article/3/39/398693/398693_article_photo_UGw2omp0_900x.png?r=05e

    best,

    Alex

    Reply
  29. Tsar Nicholas

     /  January 21, 2016

    The denialists don’t give up. Here is their latest meagre offering in the British tabloid, the Express. http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/636542/What-Global-Warming-USA-temperatures-DOWN-as-climatologists-claim-2015-was-hottest-year

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  January 21, 2016

      No, I don’t think they will give up even if presented with the obvious:

      Reply
  30. hi.
    I live in Florida and I am watching , on this day of the 21st, the prediction of that super blizzard to strike the northeast this weekend. the weather channel does not talk about that Gulf Stream pileup of very very warm water, southwest of Greenland. just think, when that strong low pressure gets just to the southwest of this Atlantic hot water spot, the easterly winds will pick up the heat and the tropical moisture and fling it west!! thus a super northeast could result. how about 60 inches of snow for some unlucky people?! and near hurricane force winds at a tempature that you do not even want to know about!

    freestone

    Reply
    • There’s a lot of energy available to fuel this storm, for sure. However, the forecast models put this thing at 985 mb and 50-60 mph winds and some of the models have tended more toward a 990 mb storm (Sandy was 938). Maximum snowfall for some localized areas in the range of 3 feet + possible with a broad swath now predicted to have 1-2 feet. This may be a historic storm in large part due to all that extra energy. Not seeing a 60 inch snow potential at this time. But those warm, wet winds off the Gulf Stream will keep SE VA and North Carolina rather warm as well as help provide a lot of fuel for this monster.

      But let’s not blow things too far out of proportion here. The forecast is for a big event. But we don’t see bombification to a real worst case event (given the available potential storm energy).

      Reply
  31. Greg

     /  January 21, 2016

    While we are buried in snow this weekend we may want to dream of warmer places, such as the North Pole next Wednesday:

    Reply
  32. Greg

     /  January 21, 2016

    Which looks to be warmer than even Mexico!?

    Reply
  33. B. Waterhouse

     /  January 21, 2016

    Local newscasts on Los Angeles tv stations spent about 20 seconds on NOAA/NASA 2015 hottest year analysis and mentioned only El Niño as the cause. Then back to the crime and lost pet stories. Wanted to shoot the tv like Elvis did.

    Reply
  34. – Parts of Gulf Coast to see gale force winds. King tides (?) and high river outflow may be added impacts. A lot of water will surely get pushed around.

    NWS New Orleans ‏@NWSNewOrleans 10h10 hours ago

    A gale watch is in effect for all coastal waters starting at midnight tonight thorugh 6am Saturday. #mswx #lawx

    Reply
  35. Vic

     /  January 21, 2016

    An avian expert says the critically endangered western ground parrot could become the first bird in at least 200 years to become extinct in Western Australia.

    Already critically endangered, the parrot’s south-coast habitat was decimated by last year’s catastrophic Esperance bushfires which burned out 80-90 per cent of the areas where the western ground parrot was hanging on.

    Reply
  36. – Important:

    California Gas Leak Exposes Growing Natural-Gas Risks
    – By Richard Martin on January 19, 2016

    As America shifts toward natural gas for energy, decaying pipelines and storage facilities are at risk of leaks and explosions.

    The Porter Ranch accident highlights a growing problem in the U.S.: as natural gas replaces coal as a key energy source, the dangers of leaks and explosions from aging pipelines and storage facilities is rising. Last year Pacific Gas & Electric was hit with a record $1.6 billion fine for a gas explosion in San Bruno, California, that killed nine people in 2010. Decaying pipelines under the streets of New York City represent a “ticking time bomb,” …

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/545571/california-gas-leak-exposes-growing-natural-gas-risks/

    Reply
  37. – Solar Energy

    – Investigations
    Report: Attacks on Renewable Energy Policies

    The Utility Industry’s Influence at Universities — Report

    Universities and professors, funded by fossil fuel and utility special interests, are increasingly producing academic reports, supporting advocacy efforts, and amplifying positions that either recommend policies or provide credence to what the energy industry seeks to achieve in the legislative and regulatory arenas.

    Energy and Policy Institute (EPI) conducted an investigation in an attempt to understand how utility companies and their trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), are influencing the political and regulatory process through university-based institutes and faculty.

    The Louisiana State University AgCenter released a solar report in early 2015 entitled “Solar Power for Your Home: A Consumer’s Guide.” Through public record requests, EPI uncovered that EEI not only funded the report, but provided editorial recommendations through emails and drafts in the months leading up to publication.

    http://www.energyandpolicy.org/utility-industry-influence-at-universities

    Reply
  38. Refugee crises, climate change are top risks in next 10 years, experts say

    Large-scale refugee flows and lack of progress in slowing global warming are the top risks that the world faces in the coming decade, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum of executives and experts from the fields of business, academia, civil society, government and international organizations.

    The more than 700 respondents to the survey named “large-scale involuntary migration” as the most likely global risk over the next 10 years, while pointing to “failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation” as the risk that could have the greatest impact on the world.
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/21/top-global-risks-wef/

    Reply
  39. Michael E. Mann ‏@MichaelEMann 2h2 hours ago State College, PA

    Above the fold in today’s @NYTimes “2015 Far Eclipsed 2014 As World’s #HottestYear…”

    Reply

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