NOAA reported the blockbuster news today:
The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880.
NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was second warmest on record, behind 1998.
This is almost certainly the new El Ni±o on top of the long-term warming trend (see NOAA says “El Ni±o arrives; Expected to Persist through Winter 2009-10″³ “” and that means record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record).
Pretty impressive given that we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,” according to NASA. Go figure (see “Another long-debunked denier talking point is debunked again: Changes in the Sun are not causing global warming“).
As the AP noted about the July, which also had record ocean temps:
Breaking heat records in water is more ominous as a sign of global warming than breaking temperature marks on land, because water takes longer to heat up and does not cool off as easily as land.
“This warm water we’re seeing doesn’t just disappear next year; it’ll be around for a long time,” said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia. It takes five times more energy to warm water than land.
The warmer water “affects weather on the land,” Prof. Weaver said. “This is another yet really important indicator of the change that’s occurring.”
As revealed by the NOAA video above (via Andy Revkin), it is getting hot pretty much everywhere, except of course over the continental United States, a small fraction of the world’s overall landmass inhabited by a large fraction of the world’s deniers, delayers, and disinformers who continue to trumpet the supposedly “cool” weather of the United States as part of their overall planetary cooling nonsense. And that’s too bad because we need all the unmuffled warnings we can get given that humans are not like slowly boiling frogs, we are like slowly boiling brainless frogs.
Once again, the geographical distribution of the warming continues to be bad news for those worried about the permafrost permamelt, since temps even in the summer ran upwards of 3°C (5.4°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 norm over much of Siberia, as National Climatic Data Center’s figure shows:
This is worrisome because:
- NOAA recently reported: “Methane levels rose in 2008 for the second consecutive year after a 10-year lull,”
- Scientific analysis suggests the rise in 2007 methane levels came from Arctic wetlands (see here).
- Siberia contains probably the world’s largest amount of carbon locked away in the permafrost (see here).
- The permafrost is increasingly not so perma (see here).
- Much of that carbon would be released as methane, which is 23 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Also, the warming over Greenland will no doubt further accelerate the summer melt season there.
If the El Ni±o does strengthen and last into next spring, then 2009 may well see the hottest ocean temperatures on record — and 2010 may well be the hottest year on record.
- Must-read NOAA paper smacks down the deniers: Q: “Is there any question that surface temperatures in the United States have been rising rapidly during the last 50 years?” A: “None at all.”
- Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 year
- The data show the planet STILL keeps warming
- Yes, the planet has kept warming since 1998
- Yes, the globe is warming. But how fast?
- “Hadley Center to deniers: We are STILL warming”
- NASA: 2007 Second Warmest Year Ever, with Record Warmth Likely by 2010