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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Hot, Hotter, Hottest Year.....again!

Hot, Hotter, Hottest Year.....again!

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, January 19, 2018/Categories: natural history, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

                               Global Climate Events and Temperature Anomalies, 2017 (credit: NCEI)

The data is now analyzed and 2017 was the second hottest year ever, since temperatures records began in the 1880's. NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have just released their separate global reports intrepreting the climate data. According to NASA's announcement, Long-Term Warming Trends Continued in 2017, global temperatures in 2017 were second only to 2016, which remains the hottest year. However, NASA was able to show 2017 was the hottest recorded year not part of an el nino weather pattern, a major influencer of high temperatures.

NASA's report was followed by a companion effort by the National Center for Environmental Information, a division of NOAA. among other records, their report noted that temperatures in Alaska were nearly 16F above normal which made December 2017 the hottest ever measured. Likewise, the year just ended with Arctic sea ice hitting an all-time low. The Agency labeled their temperture map, "Baked Alaska", in reference to the blazing dessert named after the State.

Temperature anomalies worldwide have likewise been seen elsewhere. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) had previously designated extreme temperature anomalies by a new color, Code Purple. Similarly, new color designations were recently adopted by the National Weather Service (NWS) for use on extreme events here in the USA. The new codes reflect additional weather events including intense rainfall, super-storms, as well as temperatures. The codes were used during the multiple hurricanes that struck Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands in 2017. The color changes were first used during super-storm Harvey that released so much "rainfall on Texas that it was literally and figuratively off the map". Harvey was one of the events noted by NOAA and NASA in their 2017 reports.

Alaska Temperature Anomalies, December 2017 (credit: NCEI)       Code Purple Temperture Map, 1-8-2013 (credit: BOM)

NASA concluded: The planet’s average surface temperature has risen ~2 degrees Fahrenheit (~1 degree Celsius) during the last century or so, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. 2017 was the third consecutive year in which global temperatures were more than 1.8F above late nineteenth-century levels. The Agency used a temperature data visualization of measurements from 1880 thru 2017 to illustrate the warming trends over the past 137 years.

There is a close, if erratic, physical connection between heat-trapping gases, like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), producing the general trend of a continuous upward temperature path. The Earth's atmosphere has now passed 400ppm of CO2, higher than it has been in 3 million years, and temperatures will continue to follow this trend. The extent of the environmental consequences are still unknown but more events are likely to be labeled "code purple" going forward.

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