Recently, three of the most trusted sources of meteorological records – NASA, NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) – ranked 2014 as the hottest year on record. So far, all three of these agencies have measured record high temperatures for every month in 2015 so far, putting this year on track to be even hotter.
On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its global temperature records for March. The month exhibited an average temperature 1.53°F above the 20th century average across land and ocean surfaces. “This marks the highest March temperature in the 136-year period of record,” the agency wrote, “surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.05°C (0.09°F).”
The JMA also ranked March 2015 as the hottest on record. NASA ranks it third, after 2010 and 2002, based on differences in measurement factors. However, according to ClimateCentral, all three agencies have ranked the period of January through March as the hottest quarter year on the books, beating out the previous record holder, 2002, by one-tenth of a degree.
“We expect that we are going to get more warm years,” Gavin Schmidt, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, told ClimateCentral, “and just as with 2014, records will be broken increasingly in the future. But perhaps not every year.”
This information would be useful to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), current presidential candidate and the head of the Senate subcommittee that oversees NASA, who has publicly and repeatedly attested that the Earth has shown no significant warming in the last 15 years. In fact, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century, and experts say the trend is likely to continue.
Last month marked the official beginning of El Nino, which could give this warming trend a significant boost throughout the year. NOAA has forecast a 70 percent chance of it continuing through the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) and a 60 percent chance it will continue through fall.
“If El Niño continues throughout the summer and fall, as currently projected, and if the warm `blob’ remains in the northeast Pacific Ocean, as it has been for more than a year now, it seems quite likely that Earth will continue to see record or near-record high temperatures over the next several months,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with ERT, Inc., at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
The “blob” Blunden refers to is a “persistent expanse of exceptionally warm water” NOAA is monitoring in the Gulf of Alaska. The blob is responsible for abnormal warming from Alaska to Japan, which is not only unprecedented, but also bad news for the marine food chain.