The past five years have been the warmest on record

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA say that 2018 was 4th hottest year on record for the globe, just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest). A super optimist might claim that there is a slight cooling trend since 2016, but this suggests that predictions of global warming had some credence.

20 of the last 22 years have been the warmest on record.

In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organizationoffsite link also reached the same heat ranking.

And other news recently provide examples of other climate concerns.

Stuff: ‘Dangerous’ Antarctic glacier has massive hole, scientists warn

A large cavity has formed under what has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers, and could contribute to a significant bump in global sea levels, said Nasa scientists.

A study led by the agency revealed a cavity about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and roughly 304 metres tall is growing under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.

The cavity is large enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, most of which has melted within the last three years, say researchers.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Thwaites has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous glaciers because its demise could lead to rapid changes in global sea levels.

JPL said the glacier, about the size of Florida, holds enough ice to raise ocean levels another 60 centimetres if it completely melts.

It also backstops other glaciers capable to raising sea levels another 2.4m.

Until recently Antarctica was thought to be bucking warming trends, but new research appears to be uncovering more melt than had been realised.

Reuters:  Norway’s Arctic islands at risk of ‘devastating’ warming: report

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Icy Arctic islands north of Norway are warming faster than almost anywhere on Earth and more avalanches, rain and mud may cause “devastating” changes by 2100, a Norwegian report said on Monday.

Many other parts of the Arctic, especially its islands, are also warming far quicker than the world average as the retreat of snow and sea ice exposes darker water and ground that soaks up ever more of the sun’s heat.

LiveScience: The Greenland Ice Sheet Is Melting at Astonishing Rate

Last week, a cauldron of concerning news articles made two things very clear: The ocean is warming and Antarctica’s ice is melting.

Now, a new study shows how much global warming is pounding another area: Greenland.

Greenland’s ice sheet is not only melting, but it’s melting faster than ever because the area has become more sensitive to natural climate fluctuations, particularly an atmospheric cycle, a group of scientists reported today (Jan. 21) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that the ice is vanishing four times faster than it was in 2003 — and a good chunk of that acceleration is happening in southwest Greenland.

RNZ:  2018 was NZ’s warmest year on record – climate scientist

Veteran climate scientist Jim Salinger has calculated the mean annual land surface temperature in 2018 was 13.5 degrees Celsius, which was 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

This was “a smidgeon” hotter than the previous warmest year on record, 2016, which was 0.84C above normal.

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4 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  7th February 2019

    Dangerous, devastating, and astonishing? Do those words actually appear in the reports?

    Reply
  2. RNZ: NZ-led research shows extreme weather could worsen

    In research published today in the journal Nature, scientists from New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Germany and the US, have used satellite data and modelling to simulate how ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will melt and evolve through until 2100.

    Those simulations were then used to explore how the melt water changed the global climate.

    The project’s leader, Nicholas Golledge, from Victoria University of Wellington, said previous simulations used for government policy didn’t capture the effects of melting ice sheets.

    “It’s quite surprising just how important the ice sheet melting is for the global climate.”

    The earth’s temperature is on track to increase by three to four degrees on pre-industrial levels by 2100 even if the Paris Agreement pledges are met, he said.

    “These changes are already happening and are going to make things a lot more uncomfortable whether it’s through sea level rise or more variable climate patterns in the future. So it really just adds to the urgency of reducing our emissions and that’s essentially something that’s got to happen at all levels, Mr Golledge said.

    One of the papers key findings was that the melt water would cause significant disruption to ocean currents, with changes possibly causing more extreme weather events and greater year-to-year variations in temperatures.

    “We will start to see more of this recent extreme weather, both hot and cold, with incredibly disruptive effects for agriculture, infrastructure, and human life itself. ”

    Much of that weather is a flow on effect from the ice-melt’s impact on ocean currents.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/381902/nz-led-research-shows-extreme-weather-could-worsen

    Of course these simulations could turn out to be inaccurate. Things may not be so bad as suggested – or they could get worse, faster.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th February 2019

      Or it could be long running Interdecadel oscillation (IPO) in weather patterns

      “In New Zealand, the positive phase of IPO is linked to stronger west to southwest winds. The phase shift in 1976–7 led to more westerly winds in New Zealand over the subsequent two decades. As a result, the west of the South Island was approximately 10 percent wetter and 5 percent cloudier than average, with more damaging floods than average. The north and east of the North Island were approximately 10 percent drier and 5 percent sunnier

      The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) is a long-term oscillation of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that can last from 20 to 30 years.
      The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) was in a positive phase during 2014–16 and a negative phase during 1999–2013.

      Three phases of IPO occurred during the 20th century:
      a positive phase, 1913–44
      a negative phase, 1945–76
      a positive phase, 1977–98

      THREE other oscillations that can effect our weather patterns
      Theres El Nino Southern Oscillation ENSO
      Southern Annular Mode SAM
      Indian Ocean Dipole IOD
      last 2 are a lessor scale
      The Southern Annular Mode (or SAM) is a ring of climate variability that encircles the South Pole and extends out to the latitudes of New Zealand. The SAM involves alternating changes in windiness and storm activity between the middle latitudes, where New Zealand lies (40-50° S)… On a week-to-week basis, it flips between states – causing either windier or calmer weather over New Zealand latitudes – in an unpredictable way, apparently at random. Though these phase changes of the SAM cannot be predicted more than a few days in advance, once changed, the phases tend to persist for several weeks.

      A positive IOD gives weakened Storm Track activity with reduced rainfall over Northern parts
      negative IOD phase leads to significant increased cyclone related precipitation over northern parts

      These details are all from NIWA publications

      Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  7th February 2019

    Interesting to see the colour over Aotearoa/NZ : record warmest !

    Reply

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