…which is not surprising, given that 2014 was the warmest year on record.
Someone might want to get Senator Jim Inhofe on the line. No, scratch that; this was the jamoke that thought one snowball disproved global warming. He’s not going to take our calls. Well maybe we should tell Sen. Ted Cruz, since he’s under the impression the Earth hasn’t warmed for the last 15 years. No, never mind, he’s too busy trying to get NASA to stop worrying about climate change. Maybe Sen. Marco Rubio, then? Oh, wait, no, he doesn’t believe climate change is caused by human emissions.
And anyway, he’s in charge of the subcommittee that oversees NOAA, so he’s probably heard about it already.
All snark aside, what exactly is going on? Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that, following the second-warmest February on record, the recent December-February period is now officially the warmest winter on record.
This follows on the heels of another hot and bothersome announcement by NASA that the hottest 12 months on record occurred between March 2014 and February 2015. Just to make that even more depressing, the previous record holder was the period between February 2014 and January 2015. For those playing at home, that means that temperatures are consistently going up.
Despite record heat levels across the globe, the eastern section of the U.S. remains one of the few areas experiencing record-setting snowfalls. Despite the “humbugs” thrown by American climate skeptics, this state is very much attributable to climate change. And while Washington, D.C. continues to get snowed on, California is in the fourth year of drought and Alaska is baking.
According to NOAA, the 2014-’15 winter season was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the twentieth century average, and 0.05 degrees F above the previous record-holder that occurred in the winter of 2007.
— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) March 6, 2015
To explain this sad and sobering news, no one puts it better than biological anthropologist Greg Laden: “There is nothing surprising here. Global warming is happening. We’ll continue to have many 12 month periods which are the warmest ever, along with the occasional 12 month period which is not, because the temperature squiggles up and down as it trends upward.”