Climate

2015 May Bring Long-Awaited Step-Jump In Global Temperatures

CREDIT: NASA

Historically, the global temperature trend-line is more like a staircase than a ramp. We now appear to be headed for a step-jump in global temperatures — one that scientists have been expecting.

NASA reported this week that this was the hottest five-month start (January to May) of any year on record. Climate expert and UK Guardian columnist John Abraham put together this chart of how the start to 2015 compares to previous years:

AbrahamNASA5-15

CREDIT: NASA

As Abraham notes, “2015 is a whopping 0.1°C (0.17°F) hotter than last year, which itself was the hottest year on record.”

The recent study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” explains why a speed up in the rate of global warming is imminent — with Arctic warming rising up to 1°F per decade by the 2020s.

More than 90 percent of global heating goes into the oceans — and ocean warming down to 2000 meters (1.24 miles) has accelerated this century, as this recent NOAA chart shows:

heat_content2000m

Climatologist Kevin Trenberth has explained that “a global temperature increase occurs in the latter stages of an El Niño event, as heat comes out of the ocean and warms the atmosphere.” This week, NOAA released its monthly El Niño Southern Oscillation [ENSO] report, which concludes, “There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere fall 2015, and around an 85% chance it will last through the 2015-16 winter.”

So — barring a massive volcanic eruption in the next few months — 2015 is all but certain to become the hottest year on record by far. And if the growing El Niño does extend into next year, than 2016 will be another blistering year.

We are building a staircase to … Hell — and High Water.