Meteorologists have blamed El Niño and the polar vortex for record-breaking warm temperatures across the US this week, saying the pair of weather systems will likely keep 2015 warm enough to be the hottest year on record. This year’s El Niño, a recurring weather pattern caused by unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is particularly strong and reaching its peak. The 2015-16 El Niño is expected to rank as one of the three strongest in half a century. –Alan Yuhas and Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 15 December 2015
Global warming is within the 2oC goal set by the United Nations (UN), according to scientists from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). An analysis of satellite data stretching back 37 years suggests that temperatures have risen by around 0.4oC since 1978, when continuous satellite monitoring of global atmospheric temperatures began, and that the long-term rate of temperature increase is around 0.115oC per decade or 1.150oC per century. UAH climate scientist John Christy is quoted in a news release issued by UAH as saying: “If that trend was to continue for another 63 years, the composite warming for the globe would be 1.1 C (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the century”. —Reporting Climate Science, 19 December 2015
A new paper forecasts that overall winter sea ice extent will remain steady in the near future. This research underlines the significance of satellite data showing that Arctic sea ice extent now is broadly similar to that reported a decade ago. Climate scientists at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have found that changes in the North Atlantic ocean circulation could allow overall winter sea ice extent to remain steady in the near future, with continued loss in some regions balanced by possible growth in others, including in the Barents Sea. —Reporting Climate Science, 11 December 2015
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s reliance on poorly-sited weather stations to calculate surface temperatures is inflating the warming trend of the U.S. and maybe even the rest of the world, according to a landmark study looking at three decades of data. “The majority of weather stations used by NOAA to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts,” Anthony Watts, a seasoned meteorologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement Thursday. These “compromised” weather stations run hotter than stations that are well-sited, and are used by NOAA as a benchmark to make upward adjustments for other weather stations that are part of the agency’s official temperature record. –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation, 17 December 2015
If you enjoy making small children cry – and who doesn’t? – then Fairfax has the perfect Christmas gift idea: An Australian scientist has written a new children’s book, just in time for Christmas, that weaves the impacts of climate change into a story about Santa Claus, his reindeers and an evil billionaire… Santa’s toy workshop will soon fall into the sea, he has nowhere to go, and the elves who make the Christmas toys for him are threatening to leave. They’re terrified of an old enemy, but won’t say who it is, only that the dark is rising again. Will this be the last Christmas? Previous works from Irvine include climate doom novels for adults, which the author claims predicted the future: Many of the events described in the books (such as the destruction [sic] of New Orleans) have now come true. I was in New Orleans just a few weeks ago. Considering it’s been destroyed, the place seems to be doing pretty well. So too is dear old Santa. –Tim Blair, The Telegraph, 10 December 2015
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