NASA reported Wednesday that this was the hottest June on record (tied with 1998). And it’s now all but certain 2015 will be the hottest year on record, probably by a wide margin — as what increasingly appears to be one of the strongest El Niños in 50 years boosts the underlying global warming trend.
Climate expert Dr. John Abraham amended this NASA chart to show how the first six months of 2015 compares to the annual temperatures of previous years:
The gap between 2015 and all other years seen in that chart is likely to grow because the El Niño that NOAA announced a few months ago has been growing stronger — and it is projected to grow even stronger and last the entire year. The rising ocean temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, which are characteristic of an El Niño, just keep rising.
“Confidence continues to grow that this El Niño will be one of the stronger El Niños over the past 50 years,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said Thursday.
El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) junkies should be following the Twitter feed of the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate & Society, where you will learn “Last week’s NINO3.4 temps were ~+1.5. If that level holds for the month of July, the #ElNino will be considered a strong event” and “#ElNino forecast is off the charts! Both dynam & stats models calling for stronger event than last month.” You’ll also see this:
— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) July 16, 2015
There is a greater than 85 percent chance that the current El Niño lasts through May. As AccuWeather’s Anderson explains, “El Niño typically reaches its peak during the December through February period.”
If this pattern plays out, then 2016 would likely top whatever temperature record 2015 sets — again, possibly by a wide margin. After all, the blowout temperature year in the 1997/1998 super El Niño was 1998.
If you look at the NASA temperature chart closely, you may notice that they have updated a lot of their temperatures going back for decades. NASA explains what they did here — essentially they started using better sea surface temperature data from NOAA. As a result of this update to higher quality and “substantially more complete input data,” the ongoing human-caused global warming has become even clearer to see.
Bottom Line: The warming trend that made 2014 the hottest calendar year on record is continuing. As some climate scientists have said, it’s increasingly likely we’re witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures.