World Meteorological Association Says 2015-19 On Track to Be Warmest Five Years Ever

The five years from 2015-2019 are going to be the warmest five year period on record according to the World Meteorological Association (WMO) which comes as no surprise given the “symptoms” we have experienced during this period, including sea-level rise, ice loss, and extreme weather.  This grim news that climate change is accelerating was made public this week in New York in order to motivate action at the United Nations Summit and beyond.  The WMO report on The Global Climate in 2015-2019  — states that the global average temperature has increased by 1.1°C since the pre-industrial period, and by 0.2°C compared to 2011-2015, and that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased to record levels, locking in the warming trend for generations to come.

Why This Matters:  Yet another wake-up call — this one by the global weather scientists — that re-affirms what we have been hearing in a drip by drip fashion in recent months.  How many second warmest month, or warmest low temperature, or highest flood level records do we need to set to have this news sink in?  Many people believe that communicating climate change through the “frame” of the weather is one way to gain support from the skeptical public for action on climate change.  Just continuing to report the weather facts — which are hard to change or deny — does seem to help.  Which is why it is good that NOAA continues to issue monthly updates about how this year’s weather compares to the past.

Second Warmest August On Record

Here are the weather facts NOAA reported last week about the summer of 2019.

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for August 2019 was 0.92°C (1.66°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F) and tied with 2015 and 2017 as the second-highest August temperature departure from average since global records began in 1880.
  • This is 0.06°C (0.11°F) less than the record warm August set in 2016.
  • Nine of the 10 highest August land and ocean surface temperatures have occurred since 2009, with the five warmest Augusts occurring since 2014.
  • August 1998 is the only August from the 20th century to be among the 10 warmest Augusts on record.
  • The global land-only surface temperature for August 2019 was the fourth-highest August global land-only temperature in the 140-year record at 1.14°C (2.05°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), trailing behind 2016, 2017, and 2015.
  • The global ocean-only temperature departure from average for August 2019 was the highest on record at 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.4°F).
  • The 10 highest monthly global ocean surface temperature departures from average have occurred since September 2015.

Graphic: NOAA

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