There is something about those climate records that keep getting broken


I think we have all become used to headlines like this – Earth Just Had Its Hottest September On Record. It’s all ho-hum to us. We just don’t notice any more – we don’t bother reading the articles.

This is the point made by Chris Mooney in his Washington Post article Climate records are breaking so often now, we’ve stopped paying attention.

But perhaps we should stop and notice something. How often do these headlines refer to “the coldest month on record?” Surely if this was just random variation, as the climate change deniers like to tell us, we should be seeing such headlines half the time. But we don’t. Doesn’t that tell us something?

We have random variation alright – but random variation on top of an increasing temperature trend. That is what we should worry about.

As Chris Mooney says:

“last September was the hottest of them all, out of 135 Septembers going back to 1880.The same was true for August 2014. And June of 2014. And May of 2014. What that means is that for each of these months, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature has never been higher, at least since we started recording these temperatures back in the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.”

In fact:

“for 355 months now (up through September), “every month on this planet has been warmer than the 20th century average,” according to Jessica Blunden, a scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. ThePost’s own Philip Bump, then writing at Grist, pointed out numbers like these back in November 2012, when the streak was only 332 consecutive months–but since then, every month has just added to the total. And now, we’re just shy of 30 years of unbroken warmer-than-average months. The last month that actually was not warmer than the 20th century average, according to Blunden, was February of 1985. (It was merely average, she says.)”

On top of this:

“2014 appears reasonably likely to wind up the hottest year on record, in NOAA’s accounting. In fact, to tie that record, the remainder of the year merely has to be average for the 21st century.

In climate science circles, there’s already much discussion of the likelihood of 2014 setting a new record. Climate researchers are particularly struck by the fact that prior record years, like 1998 (now the 3rd warmest overall, according to NOAA)  have often been El Nino years, which are hotter than average. But so far an official El Nino has not yet been proclaimed.

Thus, a new global average temperature record in 2014 would be all the more extraordinary. So will it happen? “As we watch daily temperature results come in, it’s becoming ever more likely,” says John Abraham, a climate scientist at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota who studies ocean warming and climate change. Abraham emphasizes, though, that there are several other global agencies besides NOAA (including our own NASA) that also track temperatures and they don’t always perfectly agree on the ranking of record years.”

I guess the climate change deniers will be yelling the news to the rooftops if one or more global agencies do not find 2014 to  be another record year. Anything to cover up the underlying trend.

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6 responses to “There is something about those climate records that keep getting broken

  1. Sanyo Music Center

    This is wrong. An abuse of statistics.


  2. Care to explain?



  3. Sanyo Music Center

    Yes, I can explain. It takes a while though and assumes a certain level of intelligence in the reader.
    Fairly obvious really, I would have thought.

    We can got brought the details or look at the bigger picture.
    The simple answer is that people are too dumb to see why this is wrong so I can’t be bothered really.

    I hope that is sufficient for you


  4. No, it is not sufficient. You come across as someone who has made a claim that they can’t support.


  5. Sanyo Music Center

    Yes, it is sufficient
    You come across as someone who is either ignorant of basic science or dishonest
    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are a simple person


  6. Climate change, as well as affecting total amount of rainfall, is also affecting what months it fall in. In Canterbury the total rainfall has been reduced for Kaikoura, Christchurch and Timaru, but not in some winter months where it has increased. That is comparing average monthly figures 1950-1980 with 1981-2010. I would be interested to see other workers’ figures. We cannot easily make up the irrigation since many water consents in Canterbury are already maxed out. Heavy rain falling on parched land is less likely to sink in and more likely to wash fertilisers into waterways, I hypothesise. Then we get problems of toxic algae/cyanobacteria which occured in St Anne’s Lagoon in August this year compared to the normal November start for monitoring.


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