Hot vs Hotter

October 21, 2015

123243-5778393-6Overcast with a strong marine fog influence this early Wednesday on California’s north coast with predictions for the gray-matter to burn off by early afternoon.
Despite the dark layer, no rain expected until Sunday, then just a ‘slight chance’ if any.
Yesterday turned out gorgeous, but for the year, still warming up.

Last month was a worldwide scorcher — via Dr. Jeff Masters at WunderBlog this morning:

September 2015 had the largest departure of temperature from average of any month among all 1629 months in the record that began in January 1880, said NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Wednesday.

(Illustration found here).

Accumulated heat is creating the hottest year ever — Masters continues:

NASA rated September 2015 slightly cooler, as the 2nd warmest September on record, falling below September 2014’s mark.
September 2015’s warmth makes the year-to-date period (January – September) the warmest such period on record, according to both NOAA and NASA.
September 2015 was the fifth consecutive month a monthly high temperature record has been set in NOAA’s database, and the seventh month of the nine months so far in 2015.
A potent El Niño event in the Eastern Pacific that crossed the threshold into the “strong” category in early July continues to intensify, and strong El Niño events release a large amount of heat to the atmosphere, typically boosting global temperatures by at least 0.1°C.
This extra bump in temperature, when combined with the long-term warming of the planet due to human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide, makes it virtually assured that 2015 will be Earth’s second consecutive warmest year on record — with 2016 a good bet to exceed even 2015’s warmth.

And so it goes…a lot of numbers and a lot of math, but still going upward. Time and math are getting weird as the planet continues to heat, and with a lot of factors unknown right now, the probability of humanity being fucked is pretty high.
From Vox on Monday and a nasty look at the numbers:

The science here is pretty straightforward: If we want decent odds of avoiding more than 2°C (or 3.6°F) of global warming — which has long been the stated goal — then there’s only so much more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere.
The world’s annual CO2 emissions will need to shrink to zero to stay within this “carbon budget.”

In the United States, the necessary cuts for 2°C would require policies exponentially more ambitious than anything the Obama administration has been doing through the Environmental Protection Agency.
An “equity” approach would require getting to zero carbon by 2040 — just 25 years.
We’d be talking about World War II–style mobilization.
Congress would likely need to get involved, either by enacting carbon pricing or other policies to massively scale up zero-carbon energy. Few politicians are talking about anything like this.

One final coda: as I’ve noted before, even if the world does crash through the 2°C limit, that would hardly mean it’s game over.
Because the risks and damages from global warming go up significantly the higher that temperatures rise, even 2.5°C warming is still preferable to 3°C, which is better than 4°C, which is way better than 5°C.
There’s never going to be a point when it’s time to just give up.

Read the whole piece — fairly alarming, but realistic. One point of realism: ‘We’d be talking about World War II–style mobilization.’
However, we can’t just keep having hottest-year ever without something happening…

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