Right Hooks

NOAA Confirms 2015 Was World's Warmest, But...

The usual caveats apply.

Jordan Candler · Jan. 20, 2016

A few days before a blizzard threatens to shut down Washington, DC, probably isn’t the best time to make a major global warming announcement. Nevertheless, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today said that the 2015 global temperature finished 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit above average, which easily beat out 2014. According to the report, “This was the highest among all 136 years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set [in 2014] by 0.29°F (0.16°C) and marking the fourth time a global temperature record has been set this century. This is also the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken.” An independent analysis by NASA found similar results.

However, satellite measurements were less daunting. NOAA says, “The 2015 temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest five miles of the atmosphere) was third highest in the 1979-2015 record, at 0.65°F (0.36°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). It was also third highest on record, at 0.47°F (0.26°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).” And that’s exactly what climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer predicted last month. In fact, he went a step further: “What is interesting is to consider the possibility that 2016 will indeed be a record warm year, even in the UAH (and probably RSS) satellite data. This is because the second year of El Niño year couplets is almost always the warmest, and 2015 is only the first year.” Translation: Expect 2016 to be record warm, even among satellite measurements. And when it is, remember that it was forecasted using natural variables. Speaking of which, the current El Niño is expected to flip to La Niña later this year. How will NOAA respond when global temperatures then drop beginning in 2017?

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