Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 Warmest Global Temperatures On Record

Annual departure from normal 2015

Global Temperature Anomaly from 1880-2015

Unprecedented Global Temperatures

The National Centers for Environmental Information released their analysis of global temperatures for December 2015 and the year as a whole and they are unprecedented in the instrumented record and "off the charts" in the sense that they almost certainly required a revising of the y-axis scale.

Let's start with the last 3 months of 2015 (Oct - Dec).  During this period, El Nino was well developed and global mean temperatures were 1.84ºF (1.02ºC) above the 20th-century average and a whopping 0.47ºF (0.26ºC) above the next highest Oct-Dec period (2014).

Source: NCEI
December 2015 in particular was the first month in the instrumented record with a temperature a full 2ºF above the 20th-century average for the month.

Source: NCEI
Now for the worst-kept secret in the climate business: 2015 was the warmest year on record, and by a pretty wide margin, reaching 1.62ºF (0.90ºC) above the 20th century average.

Source: NCEI
This extreme warmth reflects both global warming and the strength of El Nino.  The last "super El Nino" was in 1998 and if you look at the graph above, you'll see that it was the warmest year on record to that point.  However, 2015 tops 1997 by 0.49ºF (.27ºC).

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