Saturday, April 16, 2016

March temperature

Above image shows Land-Ocean (in red) and Land-only (in black) global monthly temperature anomalies compared to the average over the period 1951-1980.

At the Paris Agreement, nations committed to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

To see how much temperatures have risen compared to pre-industrial levels, a comparison with the period 1951-1980 does not give the full picture. The image below, created by selecting a smoothing radius of 1200 km, shows that the global temperature rise from 1890-1910 was 1.58°C or 2.84°F.

The temperature rise is even higher when looking at measurements from land-only stations. The image below compares the March 2016 temperature with the period from 1890-1910 (250 km smoothing), showing a Land-only anomaly of 2.42°C or 4.36°F.

Taking into account that temperatures had already risen by some 0.3°C (0.54°F) before 1900, this adds up to a total temperature rise on land in March 2016 of 2.72°C (4.9°F) from the start of the industrial revolution.

On the Northern Hemisphere, there was an even more dramatic temperature rise on land. In March 2016, on land on the Northern Hemisphere, it was 4.9°F or 2.72°C warmer than the 20th century average, as illustrated by the image below.

How much of this rise can be attributed to El Niño? One way to answer this question is by adding a polynomial trend, as in the March Northern Hemisphere Land Temperature Anomaly image below, showing that temperatures had already risen by 2°C in March 2015, while pointing at a rise of 4°C by March 2030 and 10°C before the year 2050.

The trendline also shows that a temperature difference of about half a degree Celsius between the 20th century average and the year 1900. Taking into account that temperatures had already risen by some 0.3°C (0.54°F) before 1900, this adds up to a total temperature rise on land on the Northern Hemisphere in March 2016 of 3.52°C or 6.34°F from the start of the industrial revolution.

NOAA data show that in March 2016, it was 2.33°C or 4.19°F warmer on land globally than the 20th century average. When compared to temperatures around the year 1900, it was even warmer.

In February 2016, NASA data show that it was 2.33°C or 4.19°F warmer on land (with 1200 km smoothing) than it was in 1890-1910, while it was 2.48°C or 4.46°F warmer for a 250 km smoothing radius for the land-only data. In an earlier post, a 2.3°C rise in February 2016 was used as one of several elements making up the total rise that could eventuate on land by the year 2026, assuming that no geoengineering will take place (image below).

Meanwhile, the current El Niño is still going strong and causing very high temperatures, making one wonder how high temperatures will be during the next El Niño, which could eventuate a decade or less from now. The image below shows high temperatures at four locations in South-East Asia on April 20, 2016.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

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