So Far, 2017 is in the Running to be the 4th Consecutive Hottest Year on Record

We haven’t quite gotten to the global ‘year without a winter’ yet. But it sure looks like we’re heading in that direction –fast.

Due to the highest volume of heat-trapping gasses hitting the Earth’s atmosphere in all of the past 4-15 million years combining with a warming of Pacific Ocean surface waters, the period of 2014 through 2016 saw an unprecedented three consecutive record hot years. With Pacific Ocean waters cooling during late 2016, it appeared that 2017 would become ‘just’ the 2nd to 5th hottest year ever recorded. But that was before the waters off South America’s west coast began to blaze with unexpected heat during early 2017 even as temperatures at the poles climbed to surprisingly warm levels.

(Due to the combined effects of extremely high levels of heat trapping gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere and a switch to the warmer phase of natural variability, the global rate of temperature increase has rocketed over the past three years. 2017 was not expected to continue this trend. But it might. Image source: Karsten Haustein. Data Source: NASA GISS.)

These two sources of unexpected added heat have left their mark. And though it’s still early in the global warming game for 2017, there appears to be an odd, but not entirely outlandish, chance that this year could beat out 2016 as the hottest year ever recorded.

The month of January 2017 came in at 1.14 C hotter than 1880s averages. Meanwhile February measured 1.32 C hotter than this 19th Century benchmark. In total, the first two months of 2017 averaged about 1.23 C hotter than 1880s — which is a hair hotter than 2016’s never-before-seen by modern humans annual average temperature.

(Extreme warmth over parts of Siberia and the Arctic appear to have helped push March of 2017 into the range of second hottest on record. The first three months of 2017 currently appear to be running in a range that’s ahead of 2016 annual record hot average.)

Looking ahead, early indications are that March was also around 1.3 C hotter than 1880s. If a first or second hottest March on record pans out as indicated by early NCEP and GFS model reanalysis, then the first three months of 2017 will come in nearly 0.1 C hotter than all of last year.

During the present human-forced warming trend, it has tended to take about ten years for a global temperature increase of 0.15 degrees Celsius to occur. And that rate of warming is about 30 times faster than the warming that occurred at the end of the last ice age. Since 2013, the world has warmed 0.25 C — which could jump to 0.3 to 0.35 C in the period of 2013 to 2017 if the present trend for this year continues.

There are many months still to go in 2017. So this potential isn’t at all certain at this time. However, with the Pacific Ocean heating up again, it appears that 2017 is going to give 2016 a real run for its ‘hottest ever’ title.

Links:

NASA GISS

Karsten Haustein

NCAR Reanalysis by Moyhu

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment

92 Comments

  1. Wilson McKenna

     /  April 3, 2017

    “During the present human-forced warming trend, it has tended to take about ten years for a global temperature increase of 0.15 degrees Celsius to occur. And that rate of warming is about 30 times faster than the warming that occurred at the end of the last ice age. Since 2013, the world has warmed 0.25 C — which could jump to 0.3 to 0.35 C in the period of 2013 to 2017 if the present trend for this year continues.”

    I suppose the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ applies for the majority of the populace as they are mostly innumerate, because if they understood those number progressions they would really be worried and demanding immediate action. Those increasing numbers suggest a very fast increase in temperature, but also indicate the oceans that absorbed so much heat in the past are beginning to release it.

    If we do hit a 4th record temp. year in a row and natural variability is now working towards even warmer temps then that spells very big trouble ahead.

    Reply
    • This is a big warming spike that jibes with the BAU trend line. But one that is in line with the IPCC and Michael Mann modeled prediction ranges. I wouldn’t have called either of these prediction ranges ‘ignorance is bliss.’ But we’ve tended to have a hard time communicating how bad things could get along this track due to a great deal of obstacles in the way — not the least of which was climate change denial, but basic psychology gets in the way as well. And your point regarding ‘innumerate’ is absolutely valid. The BAU track is terrible.

      In any case, some bits can get lost in translation. So I hope that wasn’t the case with our dialogue.

      Reply
      • Wilson McKenna

         /  April 3, 2017

        My point was most people are innumerate, meaning they have little understanding of what that progression of numbers means, and therefore it is a case of ‘ignorance is bliss’, because if they weren’t innumerate they would be calling for immediate action. Hopefully that is clearer.

        Reply
      • Erik Frederiksen

         /  April 3, 2017

        “we’ve tended to have a hard time communicating how bad things could get along this track”

        On this track, large fast sea level rise alone could make the planet hard to govern, but by the time it hit we’d likely be badly weakened by drought and heat impacting agriculture and fisheries.

        If a few million hunter gatherers were beyond the carrying capacity of the planet–since the megafauna disappeared whenever we showed up–we really don’t want to disrupt agriculture.

        Reply
        • Cate

           /  April 4, 2017

          Ah, fisheries. A local case in point: the Grand Banks of Newfoundland were once the home of the world’s greatest fishing grounds. Our great food finfish—cod, salmon, herring, mackerel, etc—sustained European markets for 500 years. But in 1992 the cod fishery collapsed due to over-fishing brought on by Canadian federal govt mismanagement during the previous 40 years.

          Twenty-five years on, cod stocks have not rebounded. The main saviour species that were harvested to fill the economic and gastronomic gap left by the cod—snow crab and shrimp—have suffered huge stock declines in the past decade in particular, mainly because of warming waters.

          And now, just in time a new saviour species has appeared: the lowly sea urchin. When you see the ads promoting urchin salad at your local Red Lobster, remember that In Newfoundland, we call them whore’s eggs. (pronounced “ose eggs”)

          One by one, we are fishing them all to the brink of extinction.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  April 5, 2017

          Thanks Cate, Here’s an interesting talk by the Scripps Oceanographic Institute professor Jeremy Jackson on the state of the oceans.

    • The political center of gravity in the U.S. is spinning about like a gyroscope. Amazing what happens when energy politics start to change. People are starting to recognize that the real growth engine is in renewables. Finally. And they’re starting to not buy the FF company BS.

      I think the Trump/Russia scandal is also having an effect. America-first republicans are getting a big helping of cognitive dissonance right about now.

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  April 3, 2017

        “the FF company BS.”

        Seems like a good time to repost about the BBFF *

        The BBFF*

        The Butt Based Fact File , you reach around and pull “facts” out of your ass.

        Reply
    • I suspect Chris Wallace is belatedly trying to compensate for his failure to ask about climate during the Presidential debate that he moderated. Nice, but definitely too little, too late. By a country mile.

      Reply
  2. withoutfeathers

     /  April 3, 2017

    Reblogged this on things I've read or intend to.

    Reply
  3. Erik Frederiksen

     /  April 3, 2017

    I think we aren’t seeing as much of a drop in temperature after the recent strong El Nino as expected.

    Could the increased forcing and amplifying feedbacks be causing a step change in the rate of warming, which has been roughly linear over the last 40 years, if averaged over several years?

    Reply
    • Positive PDO plus polar amplification are suspects for the origin of this signal. It is way too soon to call, though.

      Reply
    • Worth noting that we are on the IPCC track still and it would take numerous subsequent years of warming to put us above it. We should be very clear that we do not have an exponential warming signal at this time.

      Reply
      • Erik Frederiksen

         /  April 3, 2017

        Yes, as I understand it, temperature rise, unlike sea level rise, is fairly linear.

        But around 40 years ago we did see a step change in the roughly linear rise in temperature and I’m wondering if we aren’t due for another soon, given the steadily increasing CO2 and steadily decreasing ice and snow.

        Reply
        • Good points. Would expect under BAU — a shift to 0.2 C and then ramping to a peak near 0.3 – 0.5 C per decade. In the worst case, it appears we could hit 2 C by 2036 per Mann.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  April 3, 2017

          2C by 2036 . . . ouch. I’m kind of glad I’m 58, but I’ve got 3 step children and a lot of other young people I care a lot about . . .

        • It’s rough. But that’s probably the worst case. That said, it will be very tough to avoid 1.5 C by then. I think 1.5 C by mid 2030s is pretty much a lock even in the better cases. We’re at 1.1/1.2 C now. Even holding to 0.18 per decade gets us there. And we’re in a zone where we’d be tending to inch up.

          Positive PDO does help to produce the step change you mention. I guess the big question is how much of a role albedo loss is playing at this time. The carbon feedback (loss of sinks, release from stores) signal is probably not a big part of what we are seeing as yet.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  April 3, 2017

          “I guess the big question is how much of a role albedo loss is playing at this time.”

          A 2013 paper in PNAS said that over the last several decades that averaged globally the albedo loss from Arctic sea ice alone was equivalent to 25 percent of the increased CO2 forcing. That’s a lot and it will roughly double over the next several decades as the other half of that ice goes away.

          And there’s Northern snow melt which adds perhaps an equivalent feedback. That’s a hell of a lot of warming that the planet is going to do on its own, and there’s permafrost melt, wildfire, warming oceans, clouds moving to the high latitudes where there’s less sun to reflect, etc etc. The brake line is leaking fast . . .

        • Bill Everett

           /  April 5, 2017

          “as I understand it, temperature rise, unlike sea level rise, is fairly linear.”

          It has been a while since I have seen a linear increase in the temperature data. In 2013, I analyzed a little northern weather station data, computing average summer and winter temperatures from the daily averages for the three summer months and three winter months. I was interested to seem if winters were warming faster than summers (for basically the same reason that nights have been warming faster than days, as is well known). I also wanted to know if the data showed an acceleration in warming. For this, I computed moving 31-year linear regressions and plotted the slope of the regression line as the “rate of temperature change” for the middle year of the period. In addition to a little noise, there was a rather clear sinusoidal warming-cooling pattern with a 60 to 70 year period.

          When I look at a global temperature graphs from the late 19th century to the present, I mentally subtract the sinusoidal warming-cooling component, shift the resulting curve to the left three to four decades (to account for the time lag between CO2 increase and temperature increase), and find a very nice fit to the Keeling curve.

          The Keeling curve has not been linear, and neither has temperature.

      • Erik Frederiksen

         /  April 3, 2017

        If you turn the flame up under a pot of water it will boil faster.

        Reply
        • Yep. Even though net carbon emissions are on plateau now, the carbon emissions per decade in 2010 through 2020 is higher than it ever was. You lose albedo, that’s a feedback. You lose some of the carbon sinks, that’s a feedback. You’ve basically got to cut pretty hard to keep the current rate of warming steady through 2020s and 2030s. You may eventually be able to slow down by 2040s, but that’s if you’re very aggressive. Right now, we’re probably looking at speeding up unless said emissions cuts materialize.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  April 3, 2017

          You’ve probably seen this, it was a shock to me ”A target of 2½ °C is technically feasible but would require extreme virtually universal global policy measures.” From William D. Nordhaus https://www.scribd.com/document/335688297/Nordhaus-climate-economics

        • Yeah. It’s pretty amazing what we’re facing as far as challenges go. From the standpoint of policy we need to be hitting a very rapid ramp.

        • The 2 C budget numbers in the international frameworks are a bit too optimistic, IMO. I don’t want to attack those institutions because they are very helpful. But I will say that we need to be aware that events may, or are event likely, to transpire at a faster pace than expected.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  April 3, 2017

          Regarding international institutions, I also don’t want to attack them, but “The IPCC’s overly conservative reading of the science, they say, means governments and the public could be blindsided by the rapid onset of the flooding, extreme storms, drought, and other impacts associated with catastrophic global warming.”
          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-science-predictions-prove-too-conservative/

        • Yep. Which is why we need valid and nimble threat analysis functions to compensate for larger top-down assessments.

        • In other words we need to build on the IPCC basis — not use it as the final word. And we should probably understand that was what the IPCC framework was intended for.

    • coloradobob

       /  April 3, 2017

      Erik
      Today I saw the emissions graph once again , and our little mesa for the last 3 years. But the Mona Loa numbers keep moving up.
      Their are things afoot , we cannot get our hands on. Like Koalas coming down from the trees to drink.

      Why Koalas Are Suddenly Drinking Extra Water

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/koala-bears-water-eucalyptus-leaves-trees-australia/

      I have always tried to look to what Nature is saying. (A bit like reading racoon entrails for a 3 month weather forecast.) Everything I seen is on the move, if it can. And the very smallest , are the very fleetest.

      As RS rightly points out the numbers are not as fast as our thinking says. But I fear, as many others do, that our old world was a much more finely balanced watch than we had ever dreamed. And our daily beating it with carbon bat , has made it run faster than we every dreamed.

      Reply
      • Erik Frederiksen

         /  April 3, 2017

        “finely balanced watch”

        James Hansen said that orbital forcings, which caused large climate oscillations because of amplifying feedbacks, were so weak that the output from one CFC factory could overwhelm them.

        And now we’re going after the climate with a hammer of 20 tons of CO2 per person every year in the US.

        Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  April 3, 2017

        That dog story from Scotland , 2-3 days ago makes my point,
        I think was Shawn the Red who posted it. Please relink it.

        My thinking is no one is keeping track of these huge biological changes underway. That index is a picture of the world on fire. But as humans , they come to us as just scraps of bad news in some far of place. Why some bright mind from the world of biology has not done this, I’ll never know.

        For me this is the real measure of climate change, and just how fast it is. Two points ……..

        The Icelandic Orca pods are on the move to feed on Beluga, and Narwhal in Canadian far North. This is brand new. .

        Shrinking Arctic sea ice threatens the majestic Beluga whale

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/26/shrinking-sea-ice-threatens-beluga-whale-robin-mckie

        Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  April 4, 2017

        Ruddiman’s hypothesis that the Holocene was a man-made phenomenon was, if I remember correctly, largely supported by extensive modeling (as per Science). So, the unnaturally stable global climate that allowed settled agriculture and modern civilization was an accidental result of human activity, wholly anomalous from the previous 800,000 years of slow (in human terms) but widely variant glacial climate cycles. Therefore, the global climate of the past 12,000 years has indeed been a (completely coincidental) “finely tuned” tension between positive forcing from human generated GHG emissions, and negative forcing from Milankovitch cycles. Antecedent to this fluke climatic balancing act, however, is the paleoclimate record of an Earth of extreme swings in climate, from massive global sheets of ice to tropical temperatures in Arctic Alaska.

        It’s not surprising, then, that when you supercharge the global climate with extremely rapid and massive increases in GHG’s, you supercharge the processes that underlie 800,000 years of extreme climate variance. At the risk of being facile, you just speed things up; the exact mechanics, although crucial to understanding the process, are secondary to the observable structural reality in terms of what’s happening.

        The only reason we have civilization as we know it, then, is because human activity over the past 12,000 years has, until the past 150 years, only just offset scheduled glaciation. No more. We may not have fully triggered a “palm tees in Alaska” extreme quite yet (although I think we will get there sooner than anyone thinks, given human and climate inertia), but we’re certainly on the way.

        So yeah, of course humans think Earth’s climate in much more stable than it historically is. It’s all we’ve known, for all recorded history. (I suspect the most ancient oral traditions and myths carried some hints of a much less friendly natural environment; if anyone knows of anthropological sources of this I’d be very interested.) Of course humans think the world we’ve created and live in is resilient; it’s all we’ve ever known, it’s all we have records of knowing. Plus, almost all that humans do, think, or feel is automatic, conscious only in the sense that we narrate actions already taken or determined by unconscious, emotional/intuitive processes; and almost everything we ‘know’ is acquired non-consciously, automatically. Therefore we act almost entirely non-consciously based on ‘knowing’ that is acquired almost entirely non-consciously. No wonder humans have trouble seeing global warming for what it is, or how sensitive Earth’s systems actually are, or why our lifestyles are so catastrophic for a livable biosphere.

        Reply
        • Paul

           /  April 4, 2017

          Nicely put.

        • Cate

           /  April 4, 2017

          Stephen, you mentioned ancient oral traditions and myths–what an interesting context for the news that comes across our screens every day. Perhaps the story of the Flood, for one, which occurs in so many different guises around the globe, makes huge sense when read as a dim memory of catastrophic sea level rise or even regional flooding caused by extreme weather. LIkewise, graphic descriptions of apocalyptic natural catastrophes—endless fires, endless winters, mountains falling into seas, etc—could be interpreted now in terms of climate instability, and what the ancients might have remembered of it from their own dim past.

        • Cate

           /  April 4, 2017

          Not to forget that the purpose of myth is to let you in on the secrets, to educate and caution you—to impart the old wisdom: live in balance on and with this planet. Or else.

        • Paul

           /  April 4, 2017

          Here’s an article about ancient Australian Aboriginal tales of rising sea levels flooding dry land that their ancestors used to live on. http://theconversation.com/ancient-aboriginal-stories-preserve-history-of-a-rise-in-sea-level-36010

        • Worth noting that a number of Native American flood myth descriptions jibe with glacial outburst flooding during the end of the last ice age as the Laurentide ice sheet succumbed to warming. Definitely in line with an oral history warning similar to tsunami warnings in Indonesian and
          Sumatran oral history, for example.

        • Yes, well put.

        • Bill Everett

           /  April 5, 2017

          The creation of the Black Sea during the termination of the last glacial period when the rising Mediterranean poured through the Straits of Bosporus would be another place to look.

      • Cate

         /  April 4, 2017

        CB, you are so right. Everything is on the move. I have watched this here, as well. Some species seem to have left the neighbourhood for good, while others are moving in and setting up shop—birds never seen before, strange insects, even American toads! ……Signs and wonders, as my granny would say.

        Reply
  4. climatehawk1

     /  April 3, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  5. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    These stunning timelapse photos may just convince you about climate change

    Melting glaciers, from Greenland to Antarctica, have become symbols of global warming — and monitoring their retreat is one major way scientists are keeping tabs on the progress of climate change.

    Now, scientists are trying to bring the issue a little closer to home by using time-lapse photos to show the effects of climate change are already occurring.

    A paper published last week by the Geological Society of America presents dramatic before-and-after photographs of glaciers around the world over the last decade. Most of the photos were taken by photographer James Balog as part of a project called the Extreme Ice Survey, which began documenting changing glaciers around the world in 2007. The project was featured in the 2012 documentary “Chasing Ice.”

    Melting glaciers, from Greenland to Antarctica, have become symbols of global warming — and monitoring their retreat is one major way scientists are keeping tabs on the progress of climate change.

    Now, scientists are trying to bring the issue a little closer to home by using time-lapse photos to show the effects of climate change are already occurring.

    A paper published last week by the Geological Society of America presents dramatic before-and-after photographs of glaciers around the world over the last decade. Most of the photos were taken by photographer James Balog as part of a project called the Extreme Ice Survey, which began documenting changing glaciers around the world in 2007. The project was featured in the 2012 documentary “Chasing Ice.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/04/03/you-cant-deny-climate-change-once-you-see-these-images/?utm_term=.6f3fd265422a

    Reply
    • Yeah. This is one of those ‘just wow’ kind of assessments. Anyone who can doubt climate change after looking at this kind of evidence is clearly out of their mind.

      Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  April 3, 2017

      On-the-ground expeditions are “key to informing broad audiences of non-specialists,” note the paper’s authors, who include Balog and multiple other glacier and climate experts. “Science is grounded in observation, so science education will benefit from displaying the recently exposed landscapes.”

      Reply
      • coloradobob

         /  April 3, 2017

        In an interview with The Washington Post, Balog suggested that ground-level photographs provide an immediacy that’s missing from other scientific tools, such as satellite images.

        “I do think that our most dominant sensory apparatus is our vision,” he added. “So when you can deliver an understanding of the reality of what’s going on through vision, rather than numbers or maps, that also has the unique ability to touch and influence people.”

        Amen

        Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 3, 2017

      Thank you for this. I love Balog’s work. I said this here before, but there’s a moment in Chasing Ice where Balog chokes up while talking about disappearing glaciers.

      It’s a moment that one doesn’t soon forget.

      Reply
  6. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    God bless James Balog, he’s had his knees worked on . He’s not a spring chicken.

    Reply
  7. After a mild and dry winter here in Ireland, a cold spell came last month. Then, temperatures hit 17C before another wintry spell.

    More volatility than reversal, or maybe a transient state before phase shift? Anyway, the change is noticeable.

    Reply
  8. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    Tonight’s music break –

    I went down to the cross roads .

    Where a young man trades his soul to the Devil for a break from grinding poverty.

    Think about that .
    Robert Johnson- Crossroad

    Reply
  9. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 3, 2017

      Is all our love in vain?

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 4, 2017

      Johnson, Clapton. I am so lucky to have lived in these times. To hear this music.

      Reply
  10. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    O Brother, Where Art Thou – Sold my soul to the Devil

    Reply
  11. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    O Brother Where Art Though – The Soggy Bottom Boys – I Am A

    Reply
  12. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    Our roots are a lot deeper than we know.

    Reply
  13. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    Oh, Death – Ralph Stanley

    Reply
  14. coloradobob

     /  April 3, 2017

    Now off to the Road Show on PBS,

    Reply
  15. Ryan in New England

     /  April 4, 2017

    A recent episode of PBS’s Nature featured Yosemite park, and the episode explained how climate change is affecting the park.

    http://www.pbs.org/video/2365985049/

    Reply
  16. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    coloradobob / April 3, 2017
    Now off to the Road Show on PBS,

    There is a VW Hot Wheels micro bus worth $ 100,000 to $ 150,000 , in this world. How we got this crazy on what is important .

    I am at a loss.

    Reply
  17. That amount of extra heat in the Siberian Traps makes me worried about Arctic methane burps this summer.

    Reply
  18. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    How we got to this crazy on what is important ?

    We are far from what is important.

    My feet are robbing me of sleep. My legs are robbing of distance. My liver has spears.

    A very small piece of pot metal has value ?

    ” Get ready little lady Hell is coming to breakfast.”

    Reply
  19. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    Now men and women have to choose what is important , what has value.

    God help us all.

    Reply
  20. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    I have all my money on the girls.

    Reply
  21. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    I have the IQ of a Fruit Bat. Licking my wrists.

    It’s 117 F we all fall out of the trees.

    We all hit the ground dead.

    Reply
  22. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    Reply
  23. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    Ralph Stanley and Patty Loveless – Pretty Polly

    Reply
  24. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    The world saying more than words is here .

    The world pf ideas is here/

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  April 4, 2017

      I went to FaCEbook,

      The world sucks by the millimeter.

      Reply
  26. coloradobob

     /  April 4, 2017

    FaceBook will sell your liver when you die. Like a condo in Palms Springs.

    Reply
  27. The first clue out each month on the direction of the JIASO PDO index is the NOAA PDO… .08 for March, up from .04 for February. It’s probably bottomed. Could have an El Nino and a positive PDO index, which means not only could 2017 be either 2nd warmest or the record warmest, it means 2018 could also be a record warmest year. A mid-summer start for an El Nino usually means it will last well into the subsequent year, and that year is often the hottest of the two. Think 1997-1998; 2004-2005; 2009-2010.

    Reply
  28. Andy_in_SD

     /  April 4, 2017

    Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39482342

    Reply
  29. Erik Frederiksen

     /  April 4, 2017

    When we talk about hottest years I believe we are referring to surface temperatures, which are important because we live on the surface.

    But the rise in surface temperature is subject to fluctuations as natural cycles like El Ninos transfer heat from the planet’s largest heat reservoir, the oceans, to the surface.

    While surface temperature rise fluctuates, the planet as a whole continues to gain heat at a greater rate as CO2 rises and ice melts.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. Heat gain in the oceans is a more generally reliable measure than global surface temperatures. That said, surface temperatures are the primary benchmark that’s been used for some time now.

      Reply
      • Erik Frederiksen

         /  April 4, 2017

        It’s unfortunate that these fluctuations in the rate of rise of surface temperature, “no warming since 1998, etc” have been used by deniers to slow action.

        Perhaps it would be better to use a planetary warming rather than surface warming.

        Reply
        • I think the meme is too well established to upset. But it does help if you provide the added context — which we do — even as you explain why certain years are likely to back off from record warm years. It also helps to look at decadal rates of warming in the context of the larger trend.

          Once ice sheets start really letting loose, atmospheric warming will tend to back off for a while even as ocean rates of heat accumulation increase. So we need to be aware when that starts happening as temperatures will likely see-saw wildly. I think we’ll continue on to 2 C before rates of glacial ice loss start to hit that threshold, though. And it’s still somewhat uncertain how all the various Earth System feedbacks will play into the ice loss and fresh water lens effect. I don’t think the Hansen models added in albedo loss, for example. So the temperature swings may not be quite as wild as his simplified model series predicted.

          Melt water pulses at the end of the last ice age precipitated big annual temperature swings and an overall slow-down in the rate of warming prior to a reassertion of the warming trend. Present rates of atmospheric GHG accumulation would also tend to bend the downward deflections back up in such an instance.

          Meanwhile, ocean heat gain would spike.

        • Spike

           /  April 5, 2017

          Hansen as I recall talks a lot about land temperatures esp in summer, because as he says that is when the signal is clearest and that is where most people live. But I agree that a fixation on those can be misleading as we saw with the “pause/hiatus?slowdown” that even seems to have caused some confusion in some scientists.

  30. June

     /  April 4, 2017

    Someone commented earlier about climate change threats to beluga whales. Well, there’s a Beluga population in the Cook Inlet of Alaska that is threatened by both an ongoing methane gas leak and now an oil spill. The same company is responsible for both.
    it is insane that they were allowed to put pipelines there to begin with as the area is known to have “brutally strong currents and tides”.

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03042017/cook-inlet-alaska-natural-gas-pipeline-spill-oil-hilcorp-methane-beluga-whales

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, June.

      Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 4, 2017

      ““brutally strong currents and tides” Remember how much trouble BP had in sealing the disastrous Gulf of Mexico leak? It’s generally nice and warm and calm in the Gulf.

      Exploiting the Arctic for oil, where it’s cold and stormy, would be courting disastrous leaks.

      Reply
  31. Cate

     /  April 4, 2017

    “Eric Rignot (NASA/JPL) one of the world’s most prominent glaciologists, who is behind a landmark report revealing the unstoppable collapse of a large part of Antarctica, gave a lecture at Victoria University of Wellington in February 2017, on future sea level rise.”

    http://climatestate.com/2017/04/04/expert-explains-future-sea-level-rise-2017/

    Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 5, 2017

      Thanks, I’ve learned a lot watching his presentations and didn’t know about this one.

      Reply
  32. Cate

     /  April 4, 2017

    Here’s the new “Blueprint for a Climate Emergency Movement” from Climate Mobilization, complete with actions and a timeline. Of interest to the activists among us, and Robert, there is also a longer version with an “extended strategic analysis.”

    http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/blueprint_for_a_climate_emergency_movement

    Reply

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