Climate

NASA: Hottest August Globally Since Records Began In 1880

CREDIT: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

A Pakistani youth, cools off under a water supply pipe, during a sudden heavy rain fall after days of scorching temperatures due to a heat wave, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.

Last month was the warmest August globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported Monday. The globe just keeps warming.

While it may have seemed like a cool August in this country, the NASA chart shows it was actually just “normal” or very close to the 1951-1980 average over most of the U.S. (other than the warm West, of course). But we’ve become so used to the “new normal” of global warming that when the old normal returns locally, it feels unnaturally cool.

NASA8-14

Over West Antarctica, however, it was so hot NASA had to put in the color brown to cover the 4°C to 8°C (7°F to over 14°F!) anomalous warmth. Fortunately that is so far away from us why should anybody should get very concerned about it when D.C. had such a mild summer? It’s not like recent studies have found that glaciers in West Antarctic ice sheet “have begun the process of irreversible collapse,” is it?

Significantly, this August record occurred despite the fact we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño. It is usually the combination of the underlying long-term warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records.

But there are indications that an El Niño is imminent. The key Nino 3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific ocean is warming up (again). Perhaps even more importantly, the wind patterns in the Pacific are once again becoming favorable to an El Niño.

Climate expert Dr. John Abraham, Professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas, explains:

El Nino and La Nina cycles are driven by winds above the ocean waters in the Pacific. When winds are strong and blow from East to West, a La Nina is likely to occur. When these winds weaken in strength and change direction, an El Nino can form. Daily wind patterns are freely available from the TAO/TRITON system [here]. They show that these winds may be beginning to favor an El Nino again — just like earlier this year. We will have to wait to see how things progress over the next few weeks but if I were a betting man, I would put my money on an El Nino formation soon.

NASA data shows 2014 year to date (January through August) is the fourth hottest on record. All the hotter years were either El Niño years or had an El Niño preceding them — there is a few-month delay between the peak El Niño temperature and peak global temperature.

Because of global warming, all global temperature records will be broken (again and again and again and …). If there is an El Niño, this should happen even sooner.