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NASA: May Was 4th Hottest on Record

According to reports from NASA GISS, May of 2018 was the 4th hottest in the 138 year global temperature record. This new warmth came as the Equatorial Pacific began to retreat from a cooling La Nina state — which, all things being equal, would have resulted in somewhat cooler than average global temperatures.

(Analysis of global temperature trends based on recent NASA and NOAA reports.)

But all things are not equal. Greenhouse gasses in the range of 410 ppm CO2 and 493 ppm CO2e have created a historically unprecedented heat forcing within the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, recent global temperatures have consistently exceeded 1 C above 1880s levels and have hit as high as 1.5 C above 1880s levels on a monthly basis and 1.2 C above those levels on an annual basis.

For this May, temperatures were about 0.82 C above NASA’s 20th Century baseline or about 1.04 C above 1880s levels. This was the fourth hottest May in the global climate record despite La Nina influences continuing to maintain hold over the global climate system.

(NASA global anomalies map shows distribution of warmer than normal [yellow to red] and cooler than normal [blue to purple] temperatures across the globe. Note that warmer than normal conditions dominated.)

Overall, the greatest above average temperatures were experienced in the regions of Scandinavia and Antarctica — from an anomaly perspective. Meanwhile, significant trough zones generated counter-trend cool temperatures near Eastern Canada, over the North Atlantic south of Greenland, and across Central Siberia. As we moved into June, some of these zones have shifted or moderated, with cooler air tending to shift closer to eastern Europe in Asia and toward the North Atlantic cool water zone (due to melting Greenland ice) from Eastern Canada.

Looking ahead, NOAA is forecasting a 65 percent chance for a return to El Nino conditions in the Equatorial Pacific by winter of 2018-2019. With atmospheric CO2 hitting near 410 ppm and overall greenhouse gas levels hitting near 493 ppm CO2e, this switch to the warm side of natural variability will again bring with it the risk of record hot global temperatures, should the NOAA forecast bear out. Though we should be clear that El Nino is merely a short term aspect of natural variability that is riding over the long term warming trend generated by human produced greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Erik Frederiksen

     /  June 19, 2018

    From a communication by James Hansen regarding 2017 temperature.

    “The 2017 global temperature remains stubbornly high, well above the trend line (Fig. 1), despite cooler than average temperature in the tropical Pacific Niño 3.4 region (Fig. 5), which usually provides an indication of the tropical Pacific effect on global temperature7.

    Conceivably this continued temperature excursion above the trend line is not a statistical fluke, but rather is associated with climate forcings and/or feedbacks. The growth rate of greenhouse gas climate forcing has accelerated in the past decade.3 There is also concern that polar climate feedbacks may accelerate.8

    Therefore, temperature change during even the next few years is of interest, to determine whether a significant excursion above the trend line is underway.”

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/20180118_Temperature2017.pdf

    Liked by 3 people

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  2. Mike S

     /  June 20, 2018

    According to the NWS, May was THE warmest on record for the lower 48 states of the U.S. From the “May Weather and Crop Summary”: “Consistent warmth and erratic rainfall highlighted an unusual May. In fact, 2018 featured the nation’s warmest May on record.”

    Scroll down to page 12 of this PDF:
    http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/waob/weather_weekly//2010s/2018/weather_weekly-06-12-2018.pdf

    In a reversal of the usual situation for the past 12 months or so, Maryland was considerably more above normal than the southwest U.S. Also notable: I visited Sacramento in mid-May, and they had consistently cool, breezy weather. For whatever reason, temperatures have averaged less above normal there so far in 2018 than most of the rest of the United States.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. redskylite

     /  June 20, 2018

    Australian Bureau of Meteorology ENSO Wrap up agree’s with NOAA (50% chance) and has shifted to El Niño watch. So gradually we continue up the escalator.

    Latest model outlooks and recent warming in the tropical Pacific Ocean indicates that the chance of El Niño forming in spring has increased. As a result, the Bureau’s ENSO Outlook status has moved to El Niño WATCH. El Niño WATCH means that the likelihood of El Niño forming in 2018 is approximately 50%; double the normal chance.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=Overview

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Glen Kelleher

       /  June 20, 2018

      Its very bloody scary for farmers in NSW. Bone dry and warmer. Some have dry sown crops hoping for rain and some have not even bothered given the outlook for the sowing window for winter crops (wheat, barley etc).

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. kassy

     /  June 20, 2018

    Pruitt grants home state coal ash regulation powers, enraging environmentalists

    https://thinkprogress.org/trump-oklahoma-coal-ash-pruitt-404403f2a960-363721029a28/

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Jean Swan

       /  June 21, 2018

      Comment by Oklahoma’s Best activist environmentalist…Earl L. Hatley shared a link to the group: Stop Fracking Payne County (Oklahoma)

      EPA just approved Oklahoma’s Coal-Ash Combustion Rule (CCR) allowing our state to manage the storage of ash and residual wastes from coal burning power plants. All of the companies in OK that manage pits, ponds and ash dumps have polluted our groundwater where these units exist and have already violated OK’s CCR rule that EPA just approved. The State doesn’t care about the violations and the violators will not have to close these units down and build new ones since the new changes recently made by EPA will give states and industry the right of discretion to decide whether to clean up, close down or not do anything about these sites. Also, since the permits will now be for “life” we will not have right to know what happens with the sites and pollution under them over time. Niece rule, eh? Ours is the first state to get their rule approved! Is this a great state or what? Thank you Pruitt!!!

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  5. kassy

     /  June 20, 2018

    How Melting Arctic Ice Could Cook the Tropics

    Explaining exactly how melting Arctic ice will cause warming in the tropical Pacific is not straightforward. After all, the water that flows out of the Arctic Ocean goes into the Atlantic, not the Pacific, so it’s not as simple as warm water flowing down south. Instead, the process that warms the Pacific is a type of “teleconnection”

    “Teleconnections aren’t new, but what wasn’t known before this [study] was how those teleconnections from sea ice evolved over time,” Kushner says.

    Tropical oceans, in particular, are highly sensitive to changes in atmospheric and oceanic systems because strong currents and winds coalesce near the equator, affecting ocean temperature and stratification. When sea ice is lost, the planet’s energy balance changes, Kushner says. The new modeling study shows that the disappearance of ice from the Arctic causes changes in wind patterns, which in turn change the ocean’s temperature in the tropical and subtropical Pacific.

    https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/how-melting-arctic-ice-could-cook-the-tropics/

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Thank you for this, Kassy.

      Like

      Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  June 20, 2018

      In the past when the Arctic warmed due to orbital forcings the whole world warmed because of processes which released greenhouse gasses from a warming ocean and melting permafrost.

      Like

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  6. wharf rat

     /  June 20, 2018

    Colorado Adopts California Clean Car Standards in Defiance of Trump Admin

    Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that his state would join 13 states and the District of Columbia in adopting California’s clean car emissions standards.

    “Colorado has a choice,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado. Low emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/06/19/colorado-adopts-california-clean-car-standards-trump-auto-alliance

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  7. Jeremy in Wales

     /  June 20, 2018

    One of the biggest changes in electricity consumption taking place around the world today is the change in street lighting from sodium or metal halide lamps to LED. A local council close to where I live is replacing some 2,500 this year (it will take them 5 years to convert all 12,000, better in my opinion if they had taken the one hit),

    Assuming those 2,500 are 100 watt lamps they currently consume:

    2,500 X 100w = 250Kw x 4,000 operating hours per year = 1,000,000 Kwh

    If the saving is between 35-50% in electricity consumed then the saving is:

    87.5 Kwh X 2,500 = 218,750 Kwh to 500,000kwh, a cost saving in the region of £35,000 – £43,750.

    The carbon saving, using the 2017 carbon intensity of UK electricity 351 CO2 g/kwh = 77 to 175 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

    The council has confirmed that the lamps will be below 4,000 kelvin (better if they were nearer 3,000 kelvin). The reduction in blue/white light is better for human sleep and nature. Pity they have not included a Central Management System (CMS) to dim lights in the small hours.

    Lets be clear though that the main driver is to save money, not just from the electricity but maintenance as savings are quoted as 60%, the carbon saving is a nice addition as far as the council is concerned.
    But this is savings the whole world seems to be embracing in double quick time.

    Like

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  8. Svante Törnquist

     /  June 21, 2018

    As you can see, Scandinavia has had an exceptionally warm may. I live in Sweden and it was just totally abnormally warm the whole month due to a parked high pressure. SMHI which is the Swedish meterorological institute has made an alaysis of the record temperatures, and it’s pretty interesting:

    “That we should experience such a high average temperature in Stockholm in May, 16.1 degrees celsius, statistically only happens three times in a million years, so it was unusually hot, even exceptionally to what we usually experience in May, says Gustav Strandberg, climate researcher at SMHI’s Rossby Center. He has made a statistical analysis of one of the longest Swedish temperature series, the so-called Stockholm series, with temperature recordings from 1756.The second highest monthly average temperature for Stockholm is from 1993. Then it was 13.9 degrees in average temperature in May, ie. 2.2 degrees lower than this year’s high listing. That is also not so common, as it statistically only occurs once in six hundred years. The monthly average temperature in Stockholm for May is 10.5 degrees, based on the meteorological normal period 1961-1990, as today’s weather comparisons are related to.”

    Here is a link to the article (in swedish): https://www.smhi.se/forskning/forskningsnyheter/varmebolja-i-maj-2018-det-var-ovanligt-varmt-till-och-med-exceptionellt-1.136806

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