Climate warning: 2015 could be warmest year in recorded history

Climate deniers, get ready. 2015 could be the year your lies are put to rest.

The headline of the article I’m about to quote discusses a new way to predict El Niño events — events in the Pacific that cause significantly increased warming and greater occurrence of droughts and floods. El Niño frequently comes near Christmas time (hence the name). When an El Niño occurs, its effects persist through the following year.

In the past, El Niño years could be predicted only a few months in advance. A new technique, if proved valid, allows us to predict El Niño more than a year ahead of time. Which leads to my own headline — using this new technique, climate scientist Michael Mann thinks the newly predicted El Niño of 2014 could make 2015 the warmest on record — surpassing the previous record year of 1998, also an El Niño year — and blow climate denial out of the water.

First the prediction technique, from the article:

Study: El Nino can be predicted earlier

El Niño — the planet’s “most important” and menacing climate pattern — strongly influences weather in the U.S. and around the world. Marked by unusually warm water in the tropical Pacific Ocean, it typically can be predicted only a few months in advance.

But according to a new study, a group of researchers from Germany, Russia, Israel and the USA say they can now predict El Niño events more than a year ahead of time — and they’re forecasting one to develop later this year.

This El Niño could push the global temperature to its highest level on record by next year, surpassing the previous record of 1998, which was set during a strong El Niño.

There’s more about the specifics of the technique in the piece. I found that pretty interesting and invite you to click. Now Dr. Mann from the same article:

Researchers also say that an El Niño event may form, with about a 75% likelihood, later this year. This goes along with a prediction made last week by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.

“As the article notes, if this does happen, we will likely see a new global temperature record in 2015,” Mann said. “Perhaps that will put to rest once and for all the silly notion, promoted by climate change contrarians, that climate change has ‘stopped’.”

Mann notes that recent La Niña events, which cause extraordinary cooling, have helped to mask the constant warming the planet has undergone. (That masking has been aided by the recent and temporary absorption of the planet’s increased heat by the deep ocean, I have to add. Click to read more.)

To see all that in a graph, take a look (click to enlarge):

Global temperature change showing warmer El Niño years and cooler La Niña years

Global temperature change showing unusually warmer El Niño years and unusually cooler La Niña years

Absorption of retained greenhouse heat in the deep ocean, plus the added cooling during recent La Niña years, have kept surface temperature increases somewhat in check. Keep in mind though that heat-absorption by the deep ocean will end someday soon, just as the temporary cooling effect of melting ice will end as well. Then the surface increases could accelerate for quite some time.

In the meantime, extreme weather events will continue, during cool years and warm.

We could see all that as early as 2015, extreme weather and extreme temperatures, hotter surface temps, droughts and floods, the whole package. If so, climate deniers, get ready. Working your mouths won’t change those temperatures, stop those droughts in your home states and others. As I’ve said many times, the climate is making its own case. I hope it makes that case in time for us to respond.

Coming soon, what that response should be. (It’s not what you think.)


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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