Back when Richard Muller announced the formation of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, those who deny the danger from global warming were thrilled. They thought the Berkeley project would prove once and for all just how Earth’s temperature had really changed. More to the point, Muller was skeptical about Earth’s reported temperature history, so they expected it to show that all those other guys — NASA, NOAA, HadCRU — got it wrong. Anthony Watts welcomed it, praised it, and announced that he would accept the results, whatever they were.
When the Berkeley project announced their results, deniers changed their tune. Instead of “showing the love” to Richard Muller and the gang, they turned on them like a pack of wolves. That’s because the Berkeley project showed that all those other guys — NASA, NOAA, HadCRU — got it right.
Yes, Earth is really heating up. Fast. And since Berkeley is the first of the major organizations reporting global temperature to release their end-of-year results for 2015, they’re also the first to make it official: 2015 was the hottest year on record. By a long shot.
When it comes to global temperature over land and sea, Berkeley produces two versions, different in the way they treat areas covered with sea ice. Version 1 uses air temperature estimates for sea-ice covered regions, version 2 uses ocean temperature estimates. They describe it thus:
Two versions of this average are reported. These differ in how they treat locations with sea ice. In the first version, temperature anomalies in the presence of sea ice are extrapolated from land-surface air temperature anomalies. In the second version, temperature anomalies in the presence of sea ice are extrapolated from sea-surface water temperature anomalies (usually collected from open water areas on the periphery of the sea ice). For most of the ocean, sea-surface temperatures are similar to near-surface air temperatures; however, air temperatures above sea ice can differ substantially from the water below the sea ice. The air temperature version of this average shows larger changes in the recent period, in part this is because water temperature changes are limited by the freezing point of ocean water. We believe that the use of air temperatures above sea ice provides a more natural means of describing changes in Earth’s surface temperature.
Let’s not keep you in suspense any longer. Here are annual averages through 2015 (which is now complete) according to version 1:
Here it is according to version 2:
Any way you look at it, 2015 is the hottest. Any way you look at it, there was no “pause” in global temperature.
It’s now becoming so obvious, that deniers are having a hard time. They’ve become desperate, reverting to some of their more foolish arguments (when it comes to foolishness, this is hard to beat). They’re trying hard to blame 2015’s heat on the recent el Niño — which only begs the question, why is 2015 so much hotter than other el Niño years?
The important fact is that we’re rapidly approaching temperature levels that are beyond dangerous. Using the Berkeley data version 1, this year was 1.14 deg.C hotter than the pre-1900 average; with the version 2 data it was 1.09 deg.C hotter. Either way, we’re more than half way to the 2 deg.C limit some call “courting disaster.” Major disasters. Personally, I think that’s too optimistic. I think 1.5 deg.C hotter than pre-industrial is courting major disasters.
The situation has become so obvious that even republicans are starting to get it. Republican voters, that is. Republican politicians staunchly refuse to accept reality. That’s because they’re not serving their voters, they’re serving their donors. Money talks — loud — while voters, be they republican, democrat, independent, get screwed by the very politicians who take money from fossil fuel billionaires.
What can we do? Vote them the hell out of office. Whether you’re republican, democrat, independent, or “other,” help us all by getting rid of the politicians who deny the reality, the man-made cause, and/or the danger of climate change. That includes every republican candidate for president.
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