As reported in the Science section of the Oct. 21, 2015 New York Times, 2015 is likely to be a record-breaker for global warming.
Global temperatures are running far above last year’s record-setting level, all but guaranteeing that 2015 will be the hottest year in the historical record — and undermining political claims that global warming had somehow stopped.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the American agency that tracks worldwide temperatures, announced Wednesday that last month had been the hottest September on record, and in fact took the biggest leap above the previous September that any month has displayed since 1880, when tracking began at a global scale. The agency also announced that the January-to-September period had been the hottest such span on the books.
For much of the past decade, people who question established climate science have been claiming that global warming had stopped. Their argument depended on picking a particular base year — almost always 1998, the final year of the last strong El Niño — as their starting point.
But mainstream climate scientists said that was a statistically invalid cherry-picking of the data, and their analysis of the entire record showed that global warming never stopped — at most, the rise of surface temperatures slowed somewhat, even as the oceans continued to warm at a brisk pace.
The record-setting warmth of 2014 and 2015 has undermined the idea that the problem of greenhouse emissions had somehow solved itself, though some Washington politicians continue to repeat the claims. Climate scientists have not wavered in their view that the long-term temperature increase poses profound risks and that emissions must be brought under control.
The question is, will world leaders take action before it’s too late, or will they pass the problem on to future generations? Keep your eyes on the Paris global climate conference in early December.
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