Canned Heat, Chilled

December 15, 2015

CC_El_NinoClear as a bell and still way-chilly this Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast — this morning cold as dog shit, below freezing for the first time, with frost covering rooftops.
Supposedly this should carry through today and on into tomorrow morning, but by late Wednesday afternoon, another storm front is scheduled to cycle through the area, and we start all over again.

Despite the cold here, overall last month kept the planet’s fire burning (via Climate Central): ‘On Monday, NASA released its latest monthly temperature data for the globe. And it’s perhaps no surprise that this November was the warmest on record for the planet. The Japan Meteorological Agency’s dataset also shows the same record warmth for the month.’


November marks the second month in a row the global average temperature was more than 1°C (1.8°F) above the 1951-1980 baseline period NASA uses.
October and now November are the first time in NASA’s dataset that a given month has been a full degree Celsius above average.

With November’s new record, the probability of this year being the record hottest year is now greater than 99.999 percent.
In laymen’s terms, that means it’s as likely to be a record setter as it is for the sun to rise tomorrow.

Even with us a bit chilly, the eastern US will see heat — from the Guardian: ‘Meteorologists have blamed El Niño and the polar vortex for record-breaking warm temperatures across the US this week, saying the pair of weather systems will likely keep 2015 warm enough to be the hottest year on record.’

And this heat starts at the top, top-of-the-world, the Arctic — again, Climate Central from this morning:

The region continues to be one of the fastest warming on the planet.
From October 2014 to September 2015, it had the warmest average temperature on record going back to 1900, as the planet heads toward its warmest year on record.
That accelerated warming has repercussions in the form of downward-spiraling sea ice coverage, melting of the massive Greenland Ice Sheet, and reduced summer snow cover.

The Arctic has been warming at more than twice the rate of the globe as a whole, with average temperatures today 5.4°F (3°C) above what they were at the beginning of the 20th century, compared to an estimated global average of 1.8°F (1°C)  over the same time.
“We know this is due to climate change,” Rick Spinrad, chief scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said.
The excess heat trapped in the atmosphere from accumulating greenhouse gases leads to changes in the Arctic that cause still more warming, a process called Arctic amplification.
Temperatures from October 2014 to September 2015 this year were 2.3°F (1.3°C) above average — the highest in an observational record going back to 1900.
That warmth influenced the extent of sea ice across the Arctic over the year: The maximum area that comes at the end of the cold winter months was the lowest on record this year, and it came 15 days earlier than average.
At the opposite extreme, the end-of-summer minimum was the fourth lowest on record — the September minimum has declined at a rate of 13.4 percent per decade compared to the 1981-2010 average.

And the real furrow in the brow: ‘One perplexing trend that continued this year was the browning of Arctic tundra that has been occurring over recent years, after several years of greening.
Scientists aren’t sure what is causing this switch or exactly what its ramifications might be.’

That last part — scary.
Chill-out or what…?

(Illustration above: El Niño last August, via NOAA, found here).

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