Scientists at NOAA are saying this year’s higher temperatures are unusual given the lack of a strong El Niño, and that 2020 is on course to be the world’s hottest since measurements began in 1880. Estimates from all the major players show a 50% to 75% chance that it will break the record set four years ago during the El Niño fueled year of 2016, and NOAA says there is a 99.9% chance it will be in the top-five.
Data has shown that the average global land and ocean surface temperature from January through March was 2.07 degrees Fahrenheit above the average since records have been kept, making it the second warmest first three month period ever recorded. The second quarter has shown similar data. It seems no one is immune to the rising temps as the record-hot period spread across parts of Europe, Asia, Central and South America, as well as the Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific Oceans. In fact, according to NOAA, there haven’t been any land or ocean areas that had record-cold temperatures during this period. Real changes are being felt across many Arctic nations, where some even went through most of the winter with no snow in their capital cities, and for the first time ever in February on the southern continent of Antartica, temperatures reached more than 68F, while on the other end of the world, Qaanaaq, Greenland set an April record at over 42F.
Although the planet as a whole is warming, apparently it isn’t happening evenly. Western Siberia is standing out as a region, showing more of a warming trend with higher variations. It’s worth mentioning that temperature anomalies themselves are not unexpected, but scientists are a little concerned about how long the warmer-than-average events have lasted. Researchers at Russia’s Rosgidromet weather service have shared that this winter was the hottest in Siberia since records began with average temperatures up to 40F higher than the seasonal norms. Keep in mind, a number of Russian cities have been built north of the Arctic Circle, meaning melting permafrost is a very serious situation, as evidenced by the sinking of the supports of a diesel storage tank in Siberia leading Putin to declare a state of emergency after the recent spill.
Temperatures in the U.S. were particularly high in the Southeast, averaging 54.6 F, falling just short of the January-March record of 54.7 F, which was set in 2012, but was 5.5 F above the 126-year average. Florida also set a record with an average temperature of 65.4 F in January through March, eclipsing the record of 65.1 F set in 1990, and North Carolina’s average temperature of 49.7 F so far this year, tied a record set in 1990 as well. It will be interesting to see how things play out in Florida for those unemployed who now have a rising utility bill and no income. I’m told that, so far, the state’s utilities have voluntarily paused electricity shut-offs, but there’s certainly no guarantee these policies will continue as the pandemic wears on.
There are a ton of effects on weather from across the globe and I still maintain we simply don’t have enough data to determine if we are in a cycle or these are the direct effects of industrial growth. Regardless of which side you believe, what you can count on are the coming regulations having a real-life impact on our businesses. Stay informed and have a plan to help get ahead of the legislation. Bottom line, you can see the wave coming, I don’t think it’s wise to try and fight it… regardless of your opinion. Work to getting out ahead of it! (Source: USA Today, earthsky.org, Scientific American)