The numbers have been crunched and the results are in. 2012 continues to show that global warming has and will continue to have a major impact on our lives.
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that 2012 is officially the 9th warmest year on record. So, 9 of the ten warmest years on record have been in the 21st century. The one exception is 1998.
Again (and NASA says this too) one more year of warm temperatures does not verify global warming. However, 2012 supports the trend that temperatures in the 21st century are much warmer than temperatures even 15 years ago. Considering decade over decade, the temperatures are rising.
Further, localized areas had some of the highest temperatures ever recorded. The continental US, for example, had the warmest year on record by far.
According to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the trend is getting worse. This group just released a study comparing record breaking temperatures on a month-by-month basis for 12,000 points on the Earth’s surface over 131 years. What the found is that there monthly record breaking temperatures are not evening out, but increasing. In fact, there has been a five times increase in the number of record breaking warm temperatures as there should be without global warming.
Think of it this way. A record breaking score in a basketball game is a pretty rare event. And it should be. Over time, as selection picks those players that are just better than others, the there may be that one game with a great team against a crummy team and we see a record breaking score.
But the current state of the climate is like having a record breaking basketball score 15 times in a season… every season… for the last decade.
The study isn’t just comparing summer months either. Winter months are warmer and having record breaking high temperatures. This trend has been really apparent in the last 40 years… not coincidentally, this matches the time frame for the massive increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
If the global warming trend continues (and it’s not showing any signs of letting up), then the PIK is expecting as much as a 30 times increase in the number of record breaking warm months. And all of those records are breaking the ones set now. We’re looking at more and more extremes of heat.
Was that 112F we experienced in August of 2012 a little too hot… well that record will be shattered over the next few year. Not just in August, but in June, July, September, and October.
Meanwhile,the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL released a study that uses tree rings to reconstruct the May/June temperature of Eastern Europe all the way back to 1040AD.
The temperature anomaly (based on the 1961-1990 mean) is shown in the graphic below. The team examined 545 trees (both living and cut) to determine this data. Click on the link for some interesting cultural implications and comparisons.
As you can see, even the 1961-1990 baseline is warmer than the average over the last 1000 years. but when you hit the mid 1900s, that’s when it really shoots up. Look at that cluster of warmest years in the present. Sigh… and there are still people who don’t think global warming exists.