November was so hot globally it’s now over 99.999 percent certain 2015 will be the hottest year on record — driven overwhelmingly by record levels of carbon pollution in the air.
Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), tweeted out this chart Monday:
2015 will be a scorcher relative to all other years in the record. Even with sampling uncertainty: pic.twitter.com/wvTvzA1GC2
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) December 14, 2015
Schmidt also tweeted out “With Nov update to GISTEMP, probability of 2015 being a record year is > 99.999%.”
Scientifically, >99.999 percent certainty is equivalent to the chances that:
- The new Star Wars movie will make money.
- Donald Trump will say something at the Las Vegas GOP debate that will offend somebody.
- At some point in your life, you will experience either death or taxes.
How hot was November? NASA reports it was a whopping 1.05°C (1.9°F) warmer than the global mean for 1951-1980 — a full 0.25°C (0.45°F) warmer than the warmest November on record.
It was so warm that, as the NASA temperature map on top shows, parts of the Arctic and Siberian permafrost were a staggering 10.2°C (18°F!) warmer than normal. That is particularly troubling since the permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, and as it defrosts, it releases that carbon in the form of either CO2 or methane (CH4), which is 84 more times more potent at trapping heat than CO2 over a 20-year period.
Why is 2015 so hot? A recent analysis by Climate Central makes clear that virtually all of the warming — some 95 percent — is due to human activity. The rest is due to the small, short-term boost to global temperatures from our current El Niño, along with some other natural factors.