April 2016: Warmest On Record

Do these posts sound repetitive yet? Repetitive enough that you just skim past them? That’s fine. I’m not writing for you; I’m posting for that hypothetical one person who might still be on the fence about all this, who wonders about it. Most people won’t change their opinions or positions based on a blog entry. Very occasionally, someone will.

• CNN: 2016 to be hottest year yet as April smashes records

• The Weather Channel: April 2016 Was 12th Consecutive Warmest Month on Record, NOAA Says

• theguardian*: April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs

(* I assume “theguardian” is an intentional misspelling on the part of this newspaper. Also, the reason for some saying “seven months” while other say “12 months” is that they’re looking at different data sets.)

After 2015 broke 2014’s record for warmest year in recorded history, globally, climate scientists are already saying 2016 is “on track to be the hottest year yet and by the biggest margin ever” and that the data “is already casting doubts on pledges made in the Paris agreement to keep temperature rises well below the 2 degrees Celsius that scientists say will have catastrophic consequences on the planet.”

Despite the “hope that a La Niña may be creeping in, which typically cools the Pacific waters”, there is strong doubt that any cooling would bring global temperature averages down far enough to stave off the next set of record-setting years. It might bring us down to 2010 levels or to 1998 levels, but both are still far above the 20th Century’s average.

In the comments sections under stories on this topic, I kept seeing the following, repeated over and over: “It’s been cold here”. For all the invalid reasons to deny anthropogenic global warming, the “but it’s cold here” argument seems to be the most effective, despite it being the most nonsensical. I remember that it worked on me for some time, in the late 1990s and very early 2000s. I would see the “warmest ever” stories during the winter, or during a particularly cool summer where I lived. So I understand that it can be very hard to remember how large the Earth is, and how insignificant your part of it is. “But it was the entire Eastern seaboard!” someone will say, or “the entire Midwest!” As if that portion of the U.S. is a significant portion of the Earth’s surface area (it isn’t). The entire U.S. contains only 6.6% of the Earth’s land area, and less than 2% of the Earth’s total surface area. Also, no global warming prediction, ever, has said every part of the Earth will only warm, all the time.

While your particular area might seem cool, compared to the past few years, it is not cool everywhere: Super Hot! India Records Its Highest Temperature Ever — 124°F, in May.

Here in my city, April 2016 was slightly below average — the average for the past seven years. So it seemed cooler. Everyone mentioned it. “Five years ago, we were swimming in April”, they said. “Now it’s cool and rainy.” Ignoring that four and five years ago we saw the warmest Aprils in the history of this region. This year’s relatively cool April was still warmer than most Aprils throughout the 20th Century.

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