The heat goes on: Earth sets 9th straight monthly record

Feb 19, 2016

Photo credit: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP

By Seth Borenstein

The January figures are in, and Earth’s string of hottest-months-on-record has now reached nine in a row. But NASA said January stood out: The temperature was above normal by the highest margin of any month on record.

And January set another record: Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point for that ice-building winter month.

NASA said January 2016 was 2.03 degrees Fahrenheit (1.13 degrees Celsius) above normal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which calculates temperatures differently, said last month was 1.87 degrees (1.04 degrees Celsius), which is the second biggest margin in history. NOAA said the greatest was this past December.

January’s average global temperature was a record 55.5 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), easily beating the old January record set in 2007, according to NOAA. Records go back to 1880.

There were colder-than-normal patches in parts of the United States, Europe and Asia in January, but they were overwhelmed by incredible “off our chart” warming in the Arctic region, according to NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden. Siberia, northwest Canada, and a lot of Alaska were at least 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, she said.

That heat was why there was record low sea ice in the Arctic for this time of year, when sea ice grows, Blunden said.

January Arctic sea ice averaged only 5.2 million square miles in January, which is 90,000 square miles below the previous record set in 2011, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It’s also 402,000 square miles—about the size of Texas and New Mexico, combined—less than the 30-year normal.

The string of nine consecutive record hot months matches June 1997 to February 1998, which was the last time Earth had a large El Nino. It is still behind the 10 straight months of record heat in 1944, Blunden said. It’s likely we’ll tie that record in February, she said.


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2 comments on “The heat goes on: Earth sets 9th straight monthly record

  • @OP – The January figures are in, and Earth’s string of hottest-months-on-record has now reached nine in a row. But NASA said January stood out: The temperature was above normal by the highest margin of any month on record.

    And January set another record: Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point for that ice-building winter month.

    Ah with the usual levels of “careful, responsible, industrial activity” more new records can be set!!!!!!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35659947

    A scientific analysis of a natural gas leak near Los Angeles says that it was the biggest in US history.

    The Aliso Canyon blowout vented almost 100,000 tonnes of methane into the atmosphere before it was plugged.

    The impact on the climate is said to be the equivalent of the annual emissions of half a million cars.

    Researchers say it had a far bigger warming effect than the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

    First detected on 23 October, the leak came from one of the 115 wells connected to a massive underground natural gas storage facility, the fifth largest in the US.

    .Seven unsuccessful attempts were made to shut down the billowing plumes of methane and ethane by the owners, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).

    Concerns over the impacts of the spewing gas eventually led to more than 11,000 nearby residents being evacuated as California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the area.

    The analysis found above normal levels of several potentially harmful chemicals that came from the natural gas leak. These included benzene, toluene and xylenes, which have been linked to health impacts from long-term exposure.

    The authors believe there are important lessons to be learned from the leak – particularly the need to monitor oil and gas facilities more carefully.

    They say that there has been little co-ordinated oversight of the biggest oil and gas leaks in recent years. They point to Aliso Canyon, the BP spill and the Total Elgin rig blowout in the North Se- as examples where luck more than intent ensured the impacts on the environment were monitored.

    In the case of Aliso Canyon, the surveying aircraft was working on another project searching for pipeline problems, when the scientists were asked to overfly the leaking well.

    “The state’s response to Aliso Canyon was teed off by the first measurement we took, at that point no-one had any clue that this was 50,000kg per hour of gas,” said Dr Conley.

    “That to me is a huge oversight, especially with the Paris Climate Agreement. How can we commit to monitor and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions without measuring our biggest emitters?



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  • Not only is gas used for generating electricity a risk from leakage, but it is also a CO2 generating problem in dealing with climate change!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35632075

    Gas-fired power stations are seen as a critical element of government energy policy
    ‘Limited role’ for natural gas in UK future energy mix
    The use of natural gas for electricity generation in the UK may have to decline significantly over the next 30 years, according to a new study.

    Without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, gas-fired electricity would have to fall to 10% of the mix to meet emissions targets for 2050.

    The new study also warns that current government policies will deter investment in gas.

    The report has been published by the UK Energy Research Centre.

    Last November the government signalled that the UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations would be phased out by 2025.

    Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said those closures would only go ahead if nuclear and gas-fuelled generation could fill the gap, and act as a bridge to a decarbonised future.

    This new report raises questions about the implications of a new “dash for gas”.

    The authors calculate that without carbon capture and storage technology, unabated gas could only make up 10% of the electricity mix in 2050, if the government wanted to meet current legal obligations to restrict carbon.

    Legislation on the statute books in the UK requires an 80% cut in CO2 emissions below the 1990 level by the middle of this century.



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