“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”
It seems every month I’m pointing out that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is providing its monthly State of the Climate report with new records broken. I’d love to stop posting such repetitive information month after month, but when temperature records are being broken every thirty days, I think that’s information that needs to be shared.
So what’s new with the June 2012 State of the Climate Report?
- It was the hottest twelve-month period on record, about two degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average
- One hundred seventy all-time temperature records were broken in the month of June in the contiguous US
- The first six months of 2012 were the warmest half-year on record
Since 1895 when accurate temperature measurements began on the continental US, the consistently broken records have become alarming of late. And here’s one particularly concerning bit of trivia that has never happened before: each of the thirteen months from June 2011 to June 2012 was in the warmest third for those months in recorded history.
It’s been calculated that the odds of this happening purely from random chance alone is about one in 1,594,323. As meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters has stated it,
“Thus, we should only see one more 13-month period so warm between now and 124,652 AD—assuming the climate is staying the same as it did during the past 118 years. These are ridiculously long odds, and it is highly unlikely that the extremity of the heat during the past 13 months could have occurred without a warming climate.”
As always, the NOAA makes no comment about what they believe is the cause of this warming trend. They simply report the facts. But as most people who are alarmed about these trends believe, our increasing greenhouse gas emissions are going to play a part given the physics associated with the properties of these molecules which absorb infrared radiation and thereby contribute to the warming of the other gases in our atmosphere.
As long as these records are being broken consistently month to month, I’m going to report this information month to month. But the way it’s been going, my readers are going to tire from these NOAA State of the Climate reports. Frankly, I am too. I look forward to the day when broken records are the exception rather than the rule.