It’s Hotter Than You Think

Apparently, there was a federal election last night in Canada. I voted with my conscience, knowing I was in a riding where there was no hope of positive change, even with a strategic vote. I have nothing to say about the new Prime Minister of Canada. In terms of policy, he is not a new silverback in charge of the troop. He is the same ape with a dye job to make him look younger. He supports all the same (destructive) ways and means of the prior leader, Bill C51, the TPP, pipelines, big business, etc. In a time when the frogs are starting to boil, all we have gained is a different stick stirring the pot.

“[How] much hotter has it got already? The convention is to talk about the amount of warming “above pre-industrial”, that is, before the steam-and-coal industrial revolution, around 1750.

But the instrumental record used by the major agencies in the US, the UK and Japan does not start till 1880, and it is this period that is often used to provide a “pre-industrial” baseline. So when we hear that warming so far up to (the average of) the last decade as being 0.8°C or 0.85°C, it is the warming from a 1880 baseline (see light green column in figure below of 0.87°C, based on the NOAA dataset since 1880).

But the climate around 1750 and 1880 were not the same. Research using proxy data and modelling shows that between 1750 and 1880 the global average temperature increased by ~0.2°C.

When that is added (dark green column), we find that the real warming from pre-industrial 1750 to the average of the last decade is 1.07°C. It is a shock to see that we are more than half way to the unsafe 2°C “guardrail” favoured by international policy-makers.

The warming over 1750 pre-industrial to 2014 was 1.17°C.

And for the first seven months of 2015, the margin is a staggering 1.26°C higher than the pre-industrial level. Yes, it is a strong El Nino period, and it may drop back for a short while, but 2016 could be just as hot and we may be entering a new phase of accelerated warming.

Greenhouse emissions continue to soar to record levels, and attempts to clean up and retire some of the world’s dirtiest coal power plants may result in a lowering of the production of aerosols (including black-carbon soot, organic carbon, sulphates, nitrates, as well as dust from smoke, manufacturing and windstorms) which at the moment provide a temporary (~1 week) cooling of 0.8-1°C.