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.)


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

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

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59 Responses to “Climate warning: 2015 could be warmest year in recorded history”

  1. Nathanael says:

    Ocean acidification is actually a much more serious problem for humanity than global warming. I know of no idea for how to deal with it.

  2. brock2118 says:

    Repercussions…yes, that reminds me of doc Martin season 5.

  3. F.C. Pipeline says:

    The most important prediction out there is that the Arctic will continue to shrink. One of the major repercussions — and there are others — is that the cold Arctic air mass is no longer contained in the far north as well as it was twenty years ago.

  4. F.C. Pipeline says:

    The oceans continue to heat up. You can’t get around that one.

  5. 2karmanot says:

    And leveling mountain tops to put windmills on them, and……… pot begins to crack.

  6. 2karmanot says:


  7. brock2118 says:

    Gee the solution must be to bulldoze down more pristine desert for solar farms then drain the aquifers cleaning the mirrors and absorptive surfaces daily.

  8. brock2118 says:

    I suppose if you flipped a coin half the time you would be right. According to my reading, arctic ice has rebounded tremendously this year, what’s more Lake Superior is set to freeze over for the first time in thirty years. And what about all the terrifying hurricanes we shoulda had since Katrina?

  9. Joey__Blow says:

    well that was … different..

  10. Joey__Blow says:

    that graph clearly shows we have not warmed since 1998!! you goat warming alarmists are so busted!!

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    0f course, and mine was information. Did you think it was valuable information?

  12. heimaey says:

    That was sarcasm.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    The polar vortex upset old atmospheric and oceanographic norms and has caused extreme weather across North America is now rapidly destabilizing. CBS News reported that “With many areas in the United States suffering from winter’s extremes… CBS News contributor Michio Kaku … told the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts that “the wacky weather could get even wackier. Weather forecast: Deadly winter storm hits South, heads North“What we’re seeing is that the jet stream and the polar vortex are becoming unstable – instability of historic proportions,” he said.

    He said that researchers think the reason the polar vortex is weakening is because of the “gradual heating up of the North Pole. “The North Pole is melting. That excess heat generated by all the warm water is destabilizing this gigantic bucket of cold air, weakening this low pressure region, causing cold air to spill out over the United States,” he said. “So that’s the irony, that heating could cause gigantic storms of historic proportions.”

  14. barada says:

    Rapa Nui is a very underrated film that portrays the possible last days of the Easter Island culture. Very profound and worth checking out, especially for its parallels to OUR present society, IMO. The role of religion as enabler of the downfall is especially well-portrayed—Reminds me of fundy xtianity and the mindless followers of the tea party, bigtime.

  15. barada says:

    I guess this means all those “Global Cooling” wackos will have
    to give it up now, eh?

  16. Dave of the Jungle says:

    It’s always a pleasure to encounter your fine work, GP.

  17. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    There are actually bodies under the heads!

    Other shots show Polynesian style tattoo work on the bodies. Google images for a treat.

  18. PeteWa says:

    I don’t think there were enough comforting lies in that picture for brock.

  19. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    can’t or won’t? Food for thought:

    The upshot of all this? Science is biased towards gradualism and the models that make scientists look like gloom and doomers are biased conservatively against rapid changes; but the real world has no such bias and it is hitting the fan right now.

    Easy ones: Alaska


    Even Fox has to admit the climate is changing, as long as they make time for the two minute hate and the page three news readers the audience is fine.

  20. The_Fixer says:

    Oh yeah, knew it was sarcasm. Mine was more of a general comment.

    Michelle Bachmann stupid? Surely you jest :)

    Good luck breaking your car out of the ice sheet. I just got in from shoveling snow. Only about an inch, but on top of the much higher than average amount we’ve gotten so far, it’s still very tiring. But hey, at least we got up to about 18 today, so things are looking up!

  21. emjayay says:

    Yes it was sarcasm, I thought obviously. I’m pretty sure Rush was going on about how this winter was proving global warming was horseshit. One has to wonder if he is actually that stupid.

    But the chipping the car out of a glacier part was true.

  22. emjayay says:

    It was 61 in Seward, Alaska a few weeks ago. It’s the opposite side of the same Arctic Vortex thing.

  23. emjayay says:

    I thought the big heads were a mystery. Like the Mystery of the Anasazi.

  24. GaiusPublius says:

    My thanks, all of you. Another excellent comments section!


  25. GaiusPublius says:

    There have been many, brock. Read this:

    and ponder this chart. That’s predicted decline of arctic ice, and observed decline. Sobering?


  26. bejammin075 says:

    A good scientific theory makes predictions. If 2015 becomes the warmest year on record, it will help convince many who sit on the fence that the climate scientists know what they are talking about. Perhaps good strategy in this situation would be for us to get a meme going about the prediction for 2015. It’s a bit of a gamble, but it could pay off.

  27. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Not to mention the depletion of said aquifer, which will not be replenished.

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    Scary as hell.

  29. karmanot says:

    Love Brooklyn! Snow or no snow.

  30. karmanot says:

    This was an incredible movie!

  31. karmanot says:

    Even worse will be the contamination of the Ogallala Aquifer if Obozo approves the tar sands pipe line.

  32. karmanot says:

    Easter Island—- a perfect example

  33. karmanot says:

    Better not try to think then………..

  34. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Don’t do much reading, do you?

  35. brock2118 says:

    I can’t think of a single climate prediction which proved true the last twenty years: it’s good to have this one on record so we can reflect back on it in 2016. Always be careful what you wish for.

  36. emjayay says:

    Absolutely. They will be calling for bombing of any still existing coal fired plants in China and India. They will also completely forget the history of their reactionary paranoid rejection of the science.

  37. emjayay says:

    And a fan blowing directly at you.

  38. emjayay says:

    The Anasazi culture (now properly called Ancestral Pueblo culture) also had used up all the wood resources and maybe soil where they farmed for unsustainably long distances all around as well. Although the actual people went south over the years and combined with existing related pueblo cultures to the south, so the culture itself didn’t really disappear.

    Many civilizations or locations have tanked thoughout history for localized man made environmental reasons. We just never managed to do it on a worldwide basis before.

  39. emjayay says:

    Yup, the pine bark beetle has been all over the Pinion/Juniper forest areas all over the place like in the Mesa Verde area for some years apparently for exactly that reason. It’s soon going to be a Juniper only forest.

  40. The_Fixer says:

    We’ve had an unusually cold winter here so far. But as I am sure you know, emjayay, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

    Where I live, in the upper Great Lakes, we’ve had a seriously cold winter – second only to 1977-1978 in recent memory. On the face if it, that gives plenty of fuel to those who deny that climate change is taking place (and it’s global-scale warming with local-scale climate changes).

    Of course they only look to their own back yard when making that assessment. They’re not looking at it globally. And they don’t know the reason for our cold snap – displacement of the polar vortex by warm air. When the jet stream moves Northward in the coming months, I suspect that we’ll see some unrelenting heat come summertime. If this El Niño forecast holds true, I shudder to think of what we and other parts of the country will see.

    The right-wing’s distrust of intellectualism in general and climate science in particular is, of course, going to bite us in the ass. I am sure that those same people will be screaming for the scientists whom they so distrust now to “Do Something” and save us all.

  41. PeteWa says:

    the deniers will just turn up their air conditioners and complain about how government regulations are making them pay too much for their electricity, while drooling to the latest Fox News cast.

  42. Bill_Perdue says:

    I really hope not.

  43. BeccaM says:

    A number of the older techniques still work:

    – ‘Swamp’ coolers (evaporative) rather than refrigerated A/C for hot & dry locales
    – Changing cooking habits to do so during the cooler times of the day, or even the use of ‘summer kitchens’ like many used to have
    – Using ceiling fans
    – Adjusting one’s schedule so as to do more activities in the early morning and towards evening, rather than in the middle of the day
    – Opening windows and doors in the morning and evening, and closing them during the hottest part of the day
    – Paint your roof white or some other light color

  44. BeccaM says:

    It’s only the 2nd week of February and the tulips have started to sprout here east of Albuquerque.

    Not only was the winter overall a bust in terms of the usual precipitation, except for a few cold-snaps, it was way, way warmer than the old average.

    2014 is shaping up to be another dry, hot, windy year…

  45. Dave of the Jungle says:

    The pinon pines in New Mexico are dying because the warmer winters no longer suppress a beetle species there and it’s getting the upper hand. A similar story in Colorado.

    The stage is being set for an epic regional disaster.

  46. HolyMoly says:

    Yep. I grew up in the South with no AC. Kept the windows open for circulation (got to hear many a cat fight and mating ritual as a kid). But the trick to keeping as cool as possible is to lay perrrrrfectlyyyy stillllll in bed.

  47. Bill_Perdue says:

    The other big regional problem is that the massive Bark Beetles that produced massive a dieoff of trees in Big Bear CA and led to raging firestorms there in the 90’s is now spreading to the mountain ranges adjacent to Interstate 15 in SW Utah. Big burn offs will no only kill a lot of people but they’ll badly affect drainage into Lake Mead.

    Much of the SW may become unsustainable.

  48. Dave of the Jungle says:

    All of the articles I have read about this in scientific journals are now concerned with a dispute about how fast the drought will result in the failure of the water systems to make their arranged deliveries. There is no longer any question whatsoever about global warming only exacerbating the problem. All agree that it’s only a question of how soon it will happen.

    Here in Southern Arizona, we are the end user of Colorado River water via the Central Arizona Project. We”ll be the first to be taken off the system. Southern California will always get first dibs.

  49. Bill_Perdue says:

    Sometime this year.

  50. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Has the new lower elevation intake on Lake Mead been completed?

  51. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’ll be 80 in Vegas on Saturday.

  52. Bill_Perdue says:

    I live in Las Vegas. In Nevada, Utah and parts of Colorado and Arizona we’ve faced a drought for the last 14 years. Lake Mead is getting lower and lower. Bitter fights are breaking out between states and among competing users in states over water rights. During the last thirteen years the water level in Lake Mead dropped 100 feet or about the height of a 10 story building. The Lake is at less than half it’s capacity.

    Extended droughts have happened before in the west. One destroyed Anasazi culture. There was a long drought from 1125 to 1180 followed by two more, one from 1270 to 1274 and then another from 1275 to 1289, during the warm period before the Little Ice Age. Both were related to naturally occurring weather patterns. and Wiki

    The current drought is related to the desertification of central Africa, drought caused firestorms that have swept the Western US, Spain, Portugal and Australia. The current drought is clearly related to global warming and it’s attendant climate change. Other effects include increasingly violent superstorms, superswarms of tornadoes and unexpected and disastrous weather events.

    One of the main victims of the California drought will be farmworkers. They should not be made to pay for the cost of the current drought and should receive guaranteed wages at high trade union levels for it’s duration, which, in spite of the recent rains, could last a very long time. That will mean that the profits of massive agribusinesses will suffer. Good. All the costs of the drought should be paid by agribusiness stockholders and by the banks who finance them agribusinesses.

    Obama already favors offshore drilling and fracking and if he adds Keystone XL to the list he’ll be among the greatest pollution enablers in American history. Obama is not alone. Capitalist governments, Chinese maoists, and corporate polluters the world over are literally killing us. . Socialists will jail these criminals for long terms at hard labor reterraforming to correct the damage they’ve done and confiscating their wealth to aid their victims and we’ll robustly enforce anti-pollution laws.

    Crop failure photo –
    Lake Mead photo –

  53. Dave of the Jungle says:

    That liberal hoax is causing month after month of record warm temperatures here in the Southwest. It’s going to be 87 here by Saturday. In February. Damn liberals.

  54. Indigo says:

    Survival techniques? Well, turning up the AC isn’t it, that just churns more energy by consuming more fuel by throwing more gaseous debris into the atmosphere. However, generations of tropical folks have survived just fine. As they say in the (too easily maligned) South, if you’re sweating, you’re walking too fast.

  55. cole3244 says:

    the bible thumpers and the extreme deniers will never be convinced until the seas are at their doors, then it will be too late and they will blame the science liberals for the miscalculation.

  56. nicho says:

    No thanks. I have no intention of giving that site traffic. But nice try.

  57. Love of Country says:

    A person on Twitchy calls the POTUS a baboon (obviously in a pejorative way) and I objected to that language and then I got deluged with down-votes for my well-warranted objections. If you would like to explain to this person how he gives Republicans a bad name then please be my guest …. I can’t get through to any of them.

  58. emjayay says:

    Yeah, the fact that this has been the coldest snowiest winter ever right where I live clearly proves that the whole global warming thing is obviously a vast secret left wing conspiracy of every one of thousands of climate scientists around the world orchestrated by the UN to promote one world government.

    In fact, I am actually going out right now to chip my car the rest of the way out of a frozen glacier with a hammer and chisel before the next storm comes tonight. Seriously.

  59. heimaey says:

    Wait but it’s cold out! ;)

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