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World Meteorological Organization — Dangerous Climate Future Has Arrived

The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented in modern records. — Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization

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It would be a bit of an understatement to say that the global scientific community is reeling. Sure, the various scientists and researchers knew that a massive accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans was beginning to take a serious toll. They knew that ocean heat content in the top 2,000 meters of the world ocean system (accounting for 93 percent of Earth System warming) was going through the roof. And they knew that this warmth was going to bleed out in a seriously big and bad way as a record El Nino swept through the global climate system during 2014, 2015 and 2016.

2016 Blowing Records Away

(Temperature averages for 2016 are so far about 1.22 C above the 1951 to 1980 baseline or about 1.44 C above 1880s averages. Though temperatures should fall somewhat as El Nino cools off in the Pacific, it’s likely that 2016 comes in well hotter than the previous three record warm years. Current guidance indicates a likely range of 1 to 1.13 C above the 1950 to 1981 baseline or 1.22 to 1.35 C above 1880s averages. This is uncomfortably close to 1.5 C warming levels the Paris Climate Conference has stated a desire to avoid by the end of this Century. Image source: Climate Central.)

But I’m pretty sure if you told these same scientists a year ago that February of 2016 would see temperatures in the range of 1.43 to 1.57 degrees Celsius above averages seen during the 1880s, as we see now in the three major global climate monitors (here, here and here), they’d have responded with not just a little incredulity.

“The startlingly high temperatures so far in 2016 have sent shockwaves around the climate science community,” said David Carlson, Director of the World Climate Research Programme, in a recent World Meteorological Organization press release. Dr Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State echoed these sentiments — “I think we all knew this would be a warm year due to the major El Niño event. But I don’t think any of us expected such remarkable and persistent record-breaking warmth.”

It’s a new extreme record warmth that comes immediately following a major global temperature ramp-up during 2015 — a period that the World Meteorological Organization is calling alarming due to an increasing number of severe climate impacts. “Our planet is sending a powerful message to world leaders to sign and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and cut greenhouse gases now before we pass the point of no return,” said Mr Taalas, the WMO’s Secretary General in a press release announcing its most recent State of the Climate annual report.

World Meteorological Organization — Dangerous Climate Change is Here

The new report entitled — Hotter, Drier, Wetter; Face the Future — is scheduled to be released on March 23rd. It highlights a world undergoing a fundamental and wrenching shift in its once-stable climates. A shift that became all the more vivid during 2015 as the pace of major climate change related events rapidly ramped up.

The report highlights observations of record global surface temperatures, record ocean temperatures within the top 2,000 meters of the worlds’ waters, and the highest sea levels ever recorded on a global basis. The report also noted that Winter Arctic sea ice during 2015 and 2016 were at the lowest extent levels ever observed in the satellite record. WMO also highlights major heat, wildfire and hydrological events during 2015. Devastating heatwaves swept through India and Pakistan, exceptional heatwaves scorched Western and Central Europe, and more than 2 million hectares of Arctic forest burned in Alaska. WMO points to a number of very extreme rainfall events around the globe — particularly highlighting a West African monsoon that in some places dumped 13 months worth of rainfall in just one hour. Severe drought was also an issue for 2015 with Southern Africa experiencing its worst drought since 1933 and Northern South America and the Caribbean also seeing record dry conditions.

Significant climate anomalies and events February of 2016

(The WMO notes a number of extreme and significant climate change related events in its most recent annual report. A series of events that, according to monthly monitoring by NOAA, continued on into a record hot February of 2016. Image source: NOAA.)

According to WMO, 2015 also saw some of the most intense tropical cyclones ever recorded with Pam, a category 5 storm, making landfall near Vanatu, Mexico and Patricia reaching a peak intensity of 346 kilometers per hour — the strongest storm ever to emerge in either the Eastern Pacific or the Atlantic basin. A very rare hurricane Chapala also churned ashore in Yemen. An event that was immediately followed by a second similar cyclone — Megh.

Overall, WMO notes that:

The year 2015 made history, with shattered temperature records, intense heatwaves, exceptional rainfall, devastating drought and unusual tropical cyclone activity… That record-breaking trend has continued in 2016. The theme Hotter, Drier, Wetter. Face the Future highlights the challenges of climate change and the path towards climate-resilient societies.

In confronting that challenge, WMO calls for a redoubled effort to rapidly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to prevent runaway global warming. However, WMO realistically notes that current national pledges will likely result in about 3 C worth of warming this Century unless even more aggressive action causes fossil fuel based emissions to peak soon and swiftly decline.

WMO recognizes that increasingly intense droughts, heatwaves and wildfires will inevitably emerge due to the amount of warming that is already locked in. WMO recommends a set of climate resiliency enhancements to aid in climate change related disaster response. However, it is unclear if even the WMO realizes the level of threat and difficulty a rapidly warming world is now facing from an increasingly dangerous and destabilized global climate system.

In other words — that disorienting sensation scientists got from looking at these terrifying temperature jumps during February is about to become a lot more common for pretty much everyone. For from the weather to the ice to the oceans to the very complexion of the sky — things are about to get pretty darn weird. Worse and weirder if we don’t shut down fossil fuel based carbon emissions soon.

Links:

State of the Climate: Record Heat and Weather Extremes

Monster El Nino Emerging From the Depths

NASA: February Warmth Crushed All Previous Records

Climate Central

NOAA

GISS NASA

Japan Meteorological Organization

Hat tip to Wili

(Note: RS estimated temperature departures for 2016 have been revised upward to 1.22 to 1.35 above 1880s averages [1 to 1.13 above the NASA 20th Century baseline] in light of very high January, February and March global temperature anomalies.)

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Ocean Temperature Anomaly Hits Extraordinary +1.12 C Above Average Reading on April 22, All Australian Weather Models Now Predict El Nino for 2014

With the ever-more certain approach of El Nino, the world ocean surface is starting to radiate more and more heat.

Over the past four days, GFS assessments have shown positive temperature anomaly values in excess of +1 degrees Celsius (C) above the, already hotter than normal, 1979 to 2000 average (which was, itself, about .5 C above the low averages seen during the period of 1880 to 1920). With each new dawn, readings ramped higher and, by today, those temperatures had spiked to an extraordinary +1.12 C hotter than ‘normal’ for the entire global ocean system.

TS_anom_satellite1 April 22

(Global oceans hit extreme +1.12 surface temperature anomaly. Data from NOAA’s Global Forecast Systems model visually depicted by the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer.)

The equatorial Pacific region hovered near El Nino values with readings of +.44 to +.45 C approaching the El Nino threshold of +.5 C. It is worth noting that the Eastern Equatorial Pacific has consistently shown below average temperatures during recent years as strong trade winds drove both upwelling of cooler waters and atmosphere-to-ocean heat transfer. Meanwhile, the Western Pacific spiked to much hotter than normal readings as heat content just kept piling up in a broad zone east of the Philippines.

Extraordinary high temperature departures have also cropped up across other regions. The Northern Hemisphere, for example, showed an extraordinary +1.56 temperature anomaly for April 22. This exceptional reading was fed by extreme northern ocean temperatures in the Barents Sea above the Arctic Circle at +4-5 C above the 1979 to 2000 average and a very warm pool in the Pacific Ocean south of Alaska ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 C hotter than normal.

Aside from these zones of extreme heat, almost all Northern Hemisphere waters now display hotter than average temperatures.

All Australian Models Now Show El Nino

These excessively high global ocean temperature readings come on the same day that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued new findings showing that every climate model run by that agency now predicts El Nino for 2014. The BOM notes:

The likelihood of El Niño remains high, with all climate models surveyed by the Bureau now indicating El Niño is likely to occur in 2014. Six of the seven models suggest El Niño thresholds may be exceeded as early as July.

At issue is the fact that reversals of the trade wind, known as west wind back-bursts (WWB), are currently ongoing both east of the Solomon Islands and in the Central Pacific Ocean. Real-time observation of western Pacific wind flow through composite weather model data shows a broad field of westerly winds of about 5-15 mph velocity centered at 1.7 degrees South, 156 degrees East. A second cyclonic circulation north of Tahiti at 2.9 North, 139 West in the mid Pacific Ocean has also generated a 5-15 mph west wind.

Overall, these counter trade wind flows help to push down-welling warm water in the Western Pacific eastward, spreading hot waters across the surface and amplifying the force of what, during March, was the most powerful Kelvin Wave on record. Factors that bring with them the potential for an extraordinarily powerful monster El Nino for 2014-2015, continued positive ocean surface temperature extremes, and major weather disruptions associated with both human warming and the global tilt toward the warm extreme that is El Nino.

Links:

Climate Reanalyzer

BOM ENSO Wrap-up

El Nino’s Arrival Seen by All Models

Real Time Global Surface Wind Data

Monster El Nino Emerging From the Depths

Potential For El Nino Spikes as Record Pacific Ocean Heat Content Continues to Emerge

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

 

 

American Meteorological Society: Global Warming Now ‘Unequivocal’ — ‘Dominant Cause’ is ‘Human Induced Increases in Greenhouse Gasses’

This month, the American Meteorological Society issued a new statement on human-caused climate change. If possible, this statement is even stronger than their previous one issued in 2007.

The statement comes down hard on the side of anthropogenic global warming. It notes that humans are the dominant cause of global warming. That evidence for a warming climate is now unequivocal. And that rapid reductions in CO2 are necessary to deal with an ongoing global warming crisis.

Some key statements from the paper include:

Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence.  Observations show increases in globally averaged air and ocean temperatures, as well as widespread melting of snow and ice and rising globally averaged sea level.

The effects of this warming are especially evident in the planet’s polar regions. Arctic sea ice extent and volume have been decreasing for the past several decades. Both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have lost significant amounts of ice. Most of the world’s glaciers are in retreat.

Globally averaged sea level has risen by about 17 cm (7 inches) in the 20th century, with the rise accelerating since the early 1990s. Close to half of the sea level rise observed since the 1970s has been caused by water expansion due to increases in ocean temperatures. Sea level is also rising due to melting from continental glaciers and from ice sheets on both Greenland and Antarctica.

It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide. The most important of these over the long term is CO2, whose concentration in the atmosphere is rising principally as a result of fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation.

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.

The American Meteorological Society was founded in 1919 and includes over 14,000 weather and climate professionals as well as enthusiasts. Its goal is to promote the advancement of the atmospheric sciences and to aid in the distribution of information and in education relating to those fields of study.

The American Meteorological Society is part of a long list of scientific organizations that recognize the impacts and potential harm caused by global warming. It is also one of the most vocal watch-dogs on the issue of human caused climate change. As such, it has been the brunt of a series of attacks by industry, individuals, and climate change denial groups.

About 97% of climate scientists and 60% of meteorologists are aware of and acknowledge the impacts of human-caused global warming.

Links:

http://ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html

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