Daily Archives: December 11, 2019

Second-Least-Cold Year

At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll repeat myself. Global temperature is a combination of trend and fluctuation.

The fluctuations make it jitter about from year to year (or month to month, or day to day, or whatever), but the trend of late has been steadily upward. It’s called global warming (although some might prefer “global un-cooling”). We even know some (but not all!) of the causes of the fluctuations; things like the el Niño southern oscillation (ENSO), massive volcanic eruptions, and variations in the output of the sun itself. But the fluctuations don’t last. The trend, however, continues upward unabated.

Earth’s hottest year on record remains 2016, when the warming from man-made climate change combined with extra heat from the strong el Niño of that year. But even without el Niño, this year is likely to come in a strong 2nd. Here are yearly averages since 1950 from NASA, with the 2019 value year-to-date (January through October):

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