Earlier this year, we learned July was the hottest month in recorded history, and that August was the hottest August on record. It’s a good thing September came along to cool things down . . . oh, wait. No it didn’t.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has released their monthly climate report and to nobody’s surprise, Earth beat the odds again: September was the hottest September on record, hotter than any other September in the entire 136 years of NOAA’s bookkeeping.
The odds of this are less than the odds of your Fox News viewing uncle believing that Obama is a Christian and Hawaii isn’t in Kenya — unless it’s indicative of some sort of trend.
It’s like the planet is warming or something.
It’s basic science that a thick atmosphere of CO2 traps heat; Venus’ surface should be the final word in this argument, but Titan, Saturn’s moon, is another example.
Of course, there are more immediate examples closer to home: ocean acidificaiton is a huge red flag that the carbon cycle is way out of whack. Global ice coverage is falling. Hurricane Patricia was the strongest Pacific landfall hurricane on record; at peak, it had a wind speed comparable to the EF5 tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma in 2013. Since hurricanes are Carnot engines, a hotter ocean means more powerful hurricanes, and vice versa.
And then there’s the fact that entire countries are disappearing under a rising ocean. Combine this with a spike in human CO2 production since the beginning of the industrial revolution, a deep solar minimum and a lack of major climate-altering Siberian-trap style eruptions and you’ve got one clear culprit: fossil fuels.
It should be obvious how climate change is affecting the planet and how humans are generating it — if an uneducated, scientifically illiterate dolt like me can understand, there’s no excuse other than sheer, willful ignorance.
Unfortunately, sheer, willful ignorance doesn’t appear to be in short supply.
Even accounting for this year’s El Niño, the September was hottest September on record, and we’re well on our way to what might be the warmest year since record keeping began:
The odds that 2015 will be the warmest year on record have been set at 93 percent by NASA and 97 percent by NOAA, using slightly different methods. Those numbers are based solely on the warmth so far this year and how it compares to the overall annual averages of the total record — essentially, the ability of the last three months of the year to bring down the average are extremely limited.
Related: Presidential Hopeful Rick Santorum Rails Against Pope on Climate Change: ‘Leave the Science to the Scientists’
The Earth’s temperature in September was 1.62°F hotter than our global average September temperature for the 20th century. September 2015 will go down in the books for another reason, too: it was the most unusually warm month since record keeping began, with the greatest amount of deviation from the baseline mean. Huge parts of the Earth’s surface were breaking records:
For the United States, it was actually the second warmest September on record, a statement that your parochial and provincial uncle will likely use to “debunk” the claim that September was the hottest September on record. Because the entire world is the United States, amirite?
Feature image via author composite