It’s Warm. Who Knows Why?

December 17, 2015


It could be innythang…

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting:

Of 259 newspaper stories that touched on December’s warmth between December 1 and 14, 25 made the link to El Niño, but only seven made the tie to climate change. Network news coverage has been no more willing to connect the dots. Of 67 mentions of December warmth, six linked it to El Niño, but only one talked about the climate connection.

Warmth Burns Hundreds of Records

Much of the East Coast and Midwest have seen record-breaking December warmth. Through December 12, nearly 700 warm records have been set, compared to only about 120 cold records, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

A series of cities broke records over the weekend, from Mississippi to Wisconsin to New York. On Saturday, Cleveland shattered its high temperature record by seven degrees. Then on Sunday, Philadelphia broke its record by six degrees and Dubuque, Iowa—943 miles to the west—broke its record by five degrees.

On Monday, Buffalo hit an incredible 71 degrees, destroying the old record of 64. The extended warm spell has left Buffalo with no snow to date, breaking the previous record for latest snow of December 3 that dates back to the 1800s. Buffalo usually sees its first measurable snow by November 8, but there’s stillno snow in the long-range forecast. The cycle has even become self-sustaining. “Without snow on the ground, the feeble December sun can warm things up much more efficiently,” Eric Holthaus says at Slate (12/14/15).

It’s too early to determine December’s place in the record books, but 2015 is on pace to be the warmest year on record. October “marked the sixth consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken and was also the greatest departure from average for any month in the 1,630 months of recordkeeping,” according to NOAA.


11 Responses to “It’s Warm. Who Knows Why?”

  1. Don’t worry. The public will make the connection even if it’s beyond the brainpower of the media.

  2. addledlady Says:

    Well. At least someone’s making the link in Adelaide.

    I might add that it’s 5 am here and the temperature has dropped to … 25.4C (78F in old money). It was 29 at 2.30 am. Yesterday it was 35 by 9am. Today will be more of the same.

  3. Here are two charts of “new daily record highs to new daily record lows”. The first chart is the US…and the second chart is for Russia. Note that the ratio of new daily record highs for Russia is about TWICE what it is in the US. This does NOT paint a pretty picture unless we change course QUICKLY. And I suspect that the melting permafrost in a great deal of northern Russia may have to do with the much higher ratio in Russia:;postID=8771945001454361017;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=11;src=postname


    Interesting article and comment by a NOOA Scientist that does not jibe with the temperature records

    “SHAPIRO: OK. So El Nino plays a roll. The Arctic oscillation plays a role. What about climate change? Is that playing a role?

    HALPERT: If it is, it’s probably fairly insignificant at this point. If it were to play a role, it would be more likely if, somehow, climate change is impacting either the Arctic oscillation or El Nino, and we’re not really aware that it is at this point. If you think about, maybe – the high temperature over the weekend was 70, so maybe without climate change, it would’ve been 69. I think it’s a fairly insignificant role, if any role at all.”

    • I wonder if this scientist understands statistics. If we’re setting one high temperature record after another, the point from which this temperature record was set was another temperature record on top of a series of records.

      This interview would have made sense if it were not on the top of a series of previous records, which indicates a warming trend, and a warming trend indicates climate change.

    • grindupbaker Says:

      I see 2 aspects to that. (1) GMST was up +1.3 degrees since ~1880 from the “global warming”. I don’t know the latest, 2015, but suppose it’s +1.5 degrees of trend when separated from the “natural variations” (mostly oceans). That’s +2.7 Fahrenheit for U.S. Americans. So +2.7 Fahrenheit is the established contribution from “global warming”. (2) Need to get the zettajoules released from Pacific this year. If it is well above the baseline for an El Nino heat release then there’s substantial reason to consider the excess being due to the radiation imbalance that causes “global warming” so that should be factored as an additional “global warming” contribution to warm temperature records. The remainder is an El Nino just like before “global warming”. The NOOA (sic) Scientist might not have been considering my (2) and going only with the ~+2.7 Fahrenheit (or whatever it actually is right now) in my (1).

  5. addledlady Says:

    I reckon he might. He is credited with improving the earlier identification of El Nino events 30 years ago.

    He might be one of those people who has a preferred area of research and consistently goes to that first. He produces the NOAA seasonal outlook which seems pretty reasonable to me,
    I don’t know how much he’s tried to background Shapiro on this stuff, but I’ve seen other reports go haywire because of reporter-science mismatch.

    There’s also the issue that two things are conflated in that conversation. Halpert is arguing that climate change has affected neither ENSO variation/occurrence/strength nor the Arctic oscillation. Here’s the entire, but very brief, interview.

    He’s not talking about temperature directly there – he’s talking about possible temperature effects of possible changes in the systems _themselves_, which would be pretty big news if it was happening. And a bit too meta as a concept for Shapiro to grasp or convey.

    I reckon everyone should just produce updated version of Nielsen-Gammon’s wonderful graph 3 years ago.

  6. […] Of 259 newspaper stories that touched on December’s warmth between December 1 and 14, 25 made the … […]

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