Friday, January 16, 2015

2014 Record Warm Year

The NY Times reports today on a study showing that the global atmospheric temperature hit a new record
In the annals of climatology, 2014 now surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human emissions and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and to the natural world.
 And as they point out, this happened without an El Nino.  An El Nino has been forecast for this year but it didn't happen, but when it does we will have a very hot year.  The El Nino is independent of global warming due to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, as I've explained elsewhere, and so that makes this years record all the more disturbing because it the record is more due to the underlying increasing trend in temperature that it would be otherwise.

There recently has been some concern that the increase in atmospheric temperature was slowing down.  The data do suggest a slowdown, but this study shows that the increase appears to be back. What will be interesting now is how the global warming deniers are going to respond.  The content of the response will have to do with how much they are affect by data as opposed to emotion.  I believe emotion dominates the deniers, and so the response will be digression and nitpicking.

For one thing, it wasn't a record year for the U.S. which experienced some severe cold in 2014 (and 2015) from an errant jet stream allowing arctic air to flow south.  The fact that this cold air is simply in the wrong place because of the jet stream and is not actually colder than usual is hard for some people's minds to get around.  So it is likely that this record year is not going to slow the deniers down.