Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year

Jan 23, 2017

By Justin Gillis

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases.

In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.


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21 comments on “Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year

  • @OP – In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling.

    But that’s real science which involves real measuring – measuring which is a bit more complicated than counting and comparing the numbers of people in two photographs of the same scene at different times!

    Much too difficult for the small-minded brains of those who prefer to use “alternative facts”!



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  • @OP – Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year

    Atmospheric CO2 levels also set new records, but in the land of Trumpeting pseudo-facts, this – along with details of pollution generally, is classified information which federal employees must not disclose!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38740205

    Badlands on Twitter: US park climate change tweets deleted

    A US national park has posted a series of tweets about climate change that were later deleted.

    “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate,” said one of the tweets.

    The posts by Badlands National Park in South Dakota were widely shared but had all been removed by Tuesday evening.

    The National Park Service shut its own Twitter operation briefly on Friday after an apparent clampdown.

    Since then the park service tweets have been about park news and scenery, but on Tuesday afternoon, the South Dakota park started posting tweets about climate science data.

    President Trump has previously called climate change a hoax and the White House deleted the climate change policies on its website on the day of the inauguration.

    The park service could not be reached for comment.

    Meanwhile, a media blackout has been introduced at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to the Associated Press news agency.

    It bans staff from awarding new contracts or posting on any of the agency’s social media accounts,

    The main EPA account has not posted anything since 19 January, a day before Mr Trump’s inauguration.

    The new president angered environmentalists on Tuesday with two executive actions that advance two controversial pipelines.

    But Mr Trump said the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines were important because they would create thousands of construction jobs.

    Trumpists can’t have those damned experts disputing pseudo-facts!



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  • I consider this as good news: “habitat for Homo sapiens will be gone. Shortly thereafter, all humans will die.”
    It’s the only cure for the planet – and beyond. With homo sapiens sapiens evolution has failed. Nice try though. 😉



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  • But it is winter here in Philly.

    Anyone ever see Da’ Ali G show when Sacha Baron Cohen asks Buzz Aldrin if we will ever land on the sun and Buzz says It’s too hot…. When Cohen says “but what if we just went in winter,,,, I thought Aldrin was going to slug him…” Funny as hell.



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  • crookedshoes #5
    Jan 25, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Anyone ever see Da’ Ali G show when Sacha Baron Cohen asks Buzz Aldrin if we will ever land on the sun and Buzz says It’s too hot…. When Cohen says “but what if we just went in winter,,,, I thought Aldrin was going to slug him…” Funny as hell.

    That’s a new twist on the old joke about spacemen landing on the Sun!
    (Maybe it’s OK if you go at night 🙂 )

    It is indeed the sign of a comic or an ignoramus, when “colonising stars” is mentioned – rather than space or planets in star systems!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/11/stephen-hawking-just-gave-humanity-a-due-date-for-finding-another-planet/#li-comment-215380



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  • @crookedshoes #5

    I never found Cohen’s Ali G character all that funny, but I’ve got a new respect for Buzz Lightyear, sorry Aldrin, for playing it perfectly straight all through that interview.



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  • While no one event can be distinguished as a result of global warming rather than a freak event, the incidence and power of droughts, floods, storms and wild fires, is increasing as the warmed atmosphere powers up!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-38766681

    Chile’s worst wildfire destroys town as help arrives

    The series of fast-spreading fires, mostly in Chile’s central region, are being fanned by strong winds, high temperatures and a prolonged drought.

    One town, Santa Olga, has been destroyed by the blaze.



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  • since in the cretacious period, the ocean level was about 160′ higher than today, I doubt that 2016 is anywhere near a global record. but it certainly could be since the last glacial maximum barely 20,000 years ago, when the ocean level was over 200′ lower than today and glaciers covered much of Canada.
    also, that forest discovered under the retreating ice over 40 years ago on Ellesmere Island contains trees that need well over +10 deg F to have thrived as they obviously did… so, that makes me a little doubtful that this upcoming interglacial period will only have a 1/5th the amount of warming that apparently occurred during the previous interglacial period.



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  • ceolwynn #14
    Jan 29, 2017 at 5:18 am

    You are correct to point out the scale of sea-level rises and the potential for further sea-level rises.

    also, that forest discovered under the retreating ice over 40 years ago on Ellesmere Island contains trees that need well over +10 deg F to have thrived as they obviously did…

    In climate science, we must be careful to separate global changes from local or regional changes , brought about by changes in ocean currents of wind flows.

    so, that makes me a little doubtful that this upcoming interglacial period will only have a 1/5th the amount of warming that apparently occurred during the previous interglacial period.

    The issue is, that currently on the basis of natural cycles (Solar cycles, orbital, and axial variations) we should be in a cooling cycle, but are actually warming due to the billions of tonnes of burnt carbon annually being added to the atmosphere.
    The situation could indeed become much worse if the excessive CO2 levels are still persisting when the Milakovich Cycles move to a natural warming phase!

    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovich_cycle



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  • ceolwynn #14
    Jan 29, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Here is some basic data.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
    Since orbital variations are predictable,[23] if one has a model that relates orbital variations to climate, it is possible to run such a model forward to “predict” future climate. Two caveats, however, are necessary: that anthropogenic effects may modify or even overwhelm orbital effects; and that the mechanism by which orbital forcing influences climate is not well understood. In the most prominent anthropogenic example, orbital forcing from the Milankovitch cycles has been in a cooling phase for millennia, but that cooling trend was reversed in the 20th and 21st centuries due to warming caused by increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.[24]

    The amount of solar radiation (insolation) in the Northern Hemisphere at 65° N seems to be related to occurrence of an ice age. Astronomical calculations show that 65° N summer insolation should increase gradually over the next 25,000 years.[25] A regime of eccentricity lower than the current value will last for about the next 100,000 years. Changes in northern hemisphere summer insolation will be dominated by changes in obliquity ε. No declines in 65° N summer insolation, sufficient to cause a glacial period, are expected in the next 50,000 years.



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  • since in the cretacious period, the ocean level was about 160′ higher than today, I doubt that 2016 is anywhere near a global record.

    Yes but you have to remember most of the changes in global temperatures happened over very long periods of time so let’s say for example a gradual warming over a 500 year period gradually melting the ice etc. and then you do your calculations of sea level in that period of relative stability. That’s not the problem here the problem isn’t what are the oceans up to today, the problem is how quickly we are reaching levels that in time will have massive effects on thing like sea level. I’ve done a bit of oxy welding, if you are welding a very thick piece of steel it takes ages to melt but that piece of steel will be damn hot all the same. Or another analogy is putting a large block of ice out on a cool winters morning, it’ll take ages to melt, chuck is on the BBQ and it will still take quite a while to melt but the massive temp underneath will get it there are even increasing amounts. The rate of Antarctic ice melting has been nicely modeled and that modeling confirmed with satellite data measuring the difference in mass. It takes quite a while to melt that amount of ice. Mind you as devastating as that is it is only one of the many disasters we are causing ocean acidification being one of the scariest. We can move our buildings at great expense but the sea life that could die off as a result of ocean acidification will cause massive starvation among many nations.



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  • While the climate change deniers of Trumpland head back into antiquated obsolete coal technology, the Icelanders or working on some advanced new technology to exploit geothermal energy!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38833023

    An attempt to drill into the heart of a volcano in the south-west of Iceland is now complete.

    Geologists have penetrated 4,659m down, creating the deepest-ever volcanic borehole.

    Their aim is to tap into the steam at the bottom of the well to provide a source of geothermal energy.

    They recorded temperatures of 427C, but believe the hole will get hotter when they widen it in the coming months.

    The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) team also collected 21m of cores, which will now be analysed.

    Gudmundur Omar Fridleifsson, from Icelandic energy company HS Orka, the lead funder of the scheme, said: “We got some beautiful samples – everyone is very pleased.”

    The project is located on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula, where a volcano last erupted 700 years ago.

    I visited the site in December to see the huge rig, which stands out against the black lava fields. Inside a drill had been operating, almost continuously, since 11 August 2016.

    The aim had been to reach a depth 5,000m, where the temperatures were expected to reach about 500C.

    At this depth, molten rock mixes with water. But with the extreme heat and pressure, the water becomes “supercritical”.

    This means it is neither a liquid nor a gas, but it holds far more energy than either.

    The idea is that when the steam is brought back to the surface and converted into electricity, it will create up to 10 times more energy as conventional geothermal wells.

    As the geologists neared their 5,000m target, the drilling got more difficult, and the team decided to halt the operation once it reached 4,659m-down.

    However at this depth, the scientists did find the pressure was high enough to see the supercritical steam they were expecting.

    “We knew we had reached our goal, so we decided it was the right time to stop drilling. Mission accomplished,” said Dr Fridleifsson.

    Over the coming months, the next stage will be to pump cold water into the well, which will open it up.

    Then they will wait for the well to warm up again. They think the temperatures could exceed 500C, which would make this the hottest borehole ever drilled.

    Then the team will see whether it generates as much energy as they hope.



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  • It looks like climate change, drought, and deforestation are taking their toll in Bolivia!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-38914922

    The Bolivian government has declared a state of emergency in a vast agricultural area affected by a plague of locusts.

    President Evo Morales has announced a contingency plan, which includes $700,000 in extra funds for fumigation.

    The swarm first appeared over a week ago near the low-lying eastern city of Santa Cruz, where most of Bolivia’s food and meat is produced.

    It has spread quickly, destroying pasture and fields of corn and sorghum.

    The authorities estimate more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural land have been devastated by the locusts.

    The government says fumigation must begin straight away.

    “We will create a 500-metre-wide ring around the area affected and fumigate inside, working alongside the local authorities,” said Bolivia’s Agriculture Secretary, Mauricio Ordonez.

    This is a belated panic measure!
    If they are not careful they will have insecticide residues in the food chains, poisoning locust predators and setting up a vicious cycle of plagues and swarms.

    Environmental management to maintain a stable predator population which prevents the generation of swarms, is a better long term solution.



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  • Alan4discussion #13
    Jan 27, 2017 at 9:07 am

    While no one event can be distinguished as a result of global warming rather than a freak event, the incidence and power of droughts, floods, storms and wild fires, is increasing as the warmed atmosphere powers up!

    I see that California has just flipped from drought to floods.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39010887

    One of California’s strongest storms in years – dubbed a “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb” – has hit the state, killing at least four people and bringing torrential rain and floods.

    Power cuts hit 150,000 households and sinkholes swallowed cars.

    Hundreds of homes were evacuated amid fear of mud slides near Los Angeles.



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  • The problem is not if measures are unstoppable, but if they are fast enough or extensive enough!

    However all positive efforts should be encouraged!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39081783

    The UN’s new climate chief says she’s worried about President Donald Trump – but confident that action to curb climate change is unstoppable.

    President Trump said he’d withdraw from the UN climate deal and stop funding the UN’s clean energy programme.

    But former Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa told BBC News that the delay in any firm announcement suggests the issue is still unresolved.

    She travels to US this weekend to try and meet the new US secretary of state.

    Ms Espinosa said it would be more damaging for the US to leave the on-going climate talks process altogether than to stop funding the clean energy programme. The US pays approximately $4m towards this programme every year – and often an extra $2m in voluntary funding.

    But she said the rest of the world would carry on tackling climate change without the US, if necessary.

    She said China’s stated willingness to lead the world in curbing emissions might cause American diplomats to ponder the implications of allowing China a role of global moral leadership.

    “We are of course worried about rumours that the possibility of the US pulling out of the Paris agreement and the convention on climate change,” she said.

    “It would be very bad if there were a change of position in the US. That’s why I’m looking forwards to engaging with the US as a partner.”

    She did not explain how the US would be able to remain within the Paris framework whilst scrapping action on its own emissions strategy that helps underpin that process.

    But she drew hope from the vast number of firms and cities looking towards a low-carbon future – in the US and round the world: “A lot of US businesses are really going into the agenda of sustainability and some are making their own commitments in emissions reductions in their own operations.”

    “An incredible amount of cities have embarked on ambitious goals; some states like California have been for many years in the forefront of this agenda.

    “In International Petroleum Week, I was very encouraged to hear how much some of the oil and gas companies are realising that the future of their industries is in a transformation into clean energy companies – and they have embraced this in their own interest.

    “The transformation has started. I think it’s unstoppable.”

    Ms Espinosa smiled at the irony of dealing with Mr Trump as a Mexican, a woman, and someone who works in climate change.



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