August 2014: Hottest Ever

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Published on: 2014.09.15

My First Sunrise (3)
Sunrise in Corpus Christi, Texas
(Copyright © 2014 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

For three of the past four months, global temperature measurements have proved wrong the ultra-conservative meme “the earth hasn’t warmed in 16 years”. August 2014 was the hottest August ever recorded, according to NASA.

(This follows news that June 2014 was the hottest June ever and May 2014 was the hottest May ever. In those two entries, I attempted sarcasm to lighten the mood. I won’t here.)

NASA-GISS Director Dr. Gavin Schmidt told in an email interview that “the difference … is very small compared with previous Augusts” and August 2014 “is basically in a statistical tie” with 2011, 2008, 2006 and 2003. Notably, all five years are within the past 16.

It’s also worth noting, for those who experience “cool” summers or winters locally: most of those were actually average seasons that only felt cool because we’ve grown accustomed to hotter summers. (Our “very mild” summer here in Central Texas was still hotter than the average over the past century. We’ve seen — so far — 25 100-degree days. It’s only “mild” when compared to the past few years.)

And if you’ve heard from your denier friends that “even climate scientists acknowledge that warming has paused!” please note that it doesn’t mean what they think it does. Global warming has not stopped or “paused”. There is no “hiatus”. The rate of warming has slowed, and is slower than previous predictions, but it is still going … which direction was it? Oh yes: up.

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