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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Global Warming Is Here and Now: July 2015 Was the Hottest Month on Record

By Phil Plait

Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency are reporting that July 2015 was the hottest July on record—and those records go back to before 1900.

The Japanese chart makes this most clear:

That last dot on the right is last month, July 2015. There are several things to note right away:

  • This July is indeed the hottest on record since 1891,
  • The hottest Julys have all been the past few years,
  • The trend is upward, at 0.67°C per century,
  • 1998 was an outlier, the second hottest July on record.

Why is that last one important? Because 1998 had an extremely strong El Niño, and years with El Niños tend to be hotter. Guess what? There is a strengthening El Niño going on right now, and from all indicators it will be another extremely big one.

It’s becoming clear that 2015 will be the hottest year on record (2014 holds the record for now), and if the El Niño increases as expected, 2016 may be more of the same. As usual, Tamino has an excellent analysis of the July record.

Incidentally, the JMA site lets you change the month you can plot. When you do, you see that June 2015 was the hottest June on record. May 2015 was the hottest May. April 2015 was the third hottest April. And so on.

Another thing this makes clear: The idea that the Earth hasn’t warmed in the past decade or two is utter garbage. That’s been shown over and again, yet so many deniers still cling to it.

Guess where the Republican presidential candidates stand on this issue?

Donald Trump, still embarrassingly the front-runner, thinks it’s a hoax.

Jeb Bush, arguably the Republican front-runner once whatever inevitably happens to Trump happens to Trump, at least makes noises that global warming is real but says the science is “not complete,” which is just more doubt-sowing; it’s denier-speak for an excuse not to do anything about it.

Scott Walker hasn’t been clear on his feelings per se, but his actions make his denial stance pretty clear. Ben Carson denies global warming is even happening. He joins Ted Cruz who still flat-out denies the Earth is warming at all, and Marco Rubio, who still denies humans are to blame. Mike Huckabee just spews long-debunked nonsense.

Carly Fiorina uses distraction and scare tactics as well to avoid taking any action on climate change, saying no country can do it alone. But she specifically talks about China, and China has in fact pledged to reduce emission (as have the EU and Mexico). The US looks foolish in the world market when it ignores as great an economic threat as global warming.

Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

This party-platform denial prompted the Hillary Clinton campaign to put out a video on it, which, though very snarky, lays it out pretty clearly:

Clinton seems serious about climate change, but I have mixed feelings so far. Bernie Sanders is much stronger on climate than any other candidate in either party.

Of course, the Republicans didn’t even bother discussing climate in their candidate debate. And in the meantime:

When will the GOP start taking this national and global threat seriously? They’re fiddling while the world burns.

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