NOAA State of the Climate Report – January 2018

Another scorching start to the year across the globe

Climate change supporters can add another marker to the mounting evidence in their corner – January 2018 was officially the fifth warmest start to the year since records began, reveals the monthly State of the Climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Boosted in no small part by heatwave-like conditions in parts of Australia, the temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.71°C above the 20th century average of 12.0°C

The last four years (2015-2018) now rank among the five hottest Januarys on record, and the new data also extends an unbroken 397 consecutive months (since January 1985) in which temperatures were at least nominally above the 20th century average.

Also worth noting, says NOAA, is that the global land and ocean temperature during January has increased at an average rate of +0.07°C per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great since 1975.

state of the climate report

Sydney hit by heatwave

Warmer-than-average conditions engulfed much of Australia with Sydney bearing the brunt of the sweltering heat. The 47.3°C recorded in Penrith Lakes was the hottest day in the city in 80 years.

Regionally, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia had a top eight warm start to the year, with Queensland and Tasmania having the second warmest January on record.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand also felt the blast with a national mean of 20.3°C, which is 3.1°C above the 1981-2010 average. That was the warmest January since national records began in 1909.

Other notable temperature spikes were recorded across the western half of mainland U.S., central and eastern Europe, and northern Russia, where temperature departures from average were +2.0°C, or greater. Record warmth across the land was limited to small areas across the southwestern North America, central Europe, and parts of Oceania.

Oceans also hotter than normal

Meanwhile, warmer-than-average conditions dominated across much of the world’s oceans in January, with record warmth observed across parts of the north Atlantic Ocean (off the coast of Portugal), and the central and southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Averaged as a whole, the global ocean surface temperature was 0.56°C above the 20th century average of 15.8°C. This value tied with 1998 as the fifth highest global ocean temperature for January in the 139-year record.

Antarctic sea ice extent during the month was 880,595 square kilometres (17.4 percent) below the 1981-2010 average, the second smallest January extent on record. Only the Antarctic sea ice extent in January 2017 was smaller. Below-average ice coverage was observed in the Ross and West Amundsen Seas.

In the Arctic, sea ice was the smallest spread in the 39-year record at 1.35 million square kilometres (9.4 percent) below the 1981-2010 average, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA. Sea ice coverage was particularly sparse in the Barents, Kara and Bering Seas.

NOAA data also reveals that rain anomalies during January 2018 varied significantly around the world, as is typical at this time of the year.

Precipitation was above average across parts of eastern half of mainland U.S, Canada, northern Argentina, Paraguay, northern, central, and eastern Europe, northern, central, and southeastern Asia, and western Australia.

It was notably dry across the south-central contiguous U.S., northeastern Brazil, southern half of Argentina, southern Europe, southern Asia, southern Africa, and eastern Australia.

January 2018 was Austria’s wettest January since 1982 at 170% of normal rain levels. However, several locations across the nation set new precipitation records. Of interest, Nauders in Tyrol (western Austria) had a monthly total of 163mm, resulting in the highest rainfall since records began in 1896.

France was also hard-hit with several regions experiencing two to three times the normal monthly deluge. Overall, the national total was 80% above average and the wettest January since 1959.

NOAA weather watch 2017: Australia’s scorching summer continues

Australia’s sizzling summer continued well into autumn in 2017, according to the world’s leading science agency for climate and oceanic research.

By the end of March, the global climate report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed Australia experienced “unusually warm conditions”.

The average mean temperature was 1.66°C (3.0°F) above the 1961–1990 average and the third highest in its 108-year record. The national maximum and minimum temperatures in March were second highest, behind 1986 and 2016, respectively.

Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia had a top three warm March, with Victoria recording its warmest March on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2016 by +0.41°C (0.74°F).

By the end of May, the trend had continued for Australia with a national temperature departure from average of +0.71°C, according to the NOAA. This was the 21st highest May temperature in the nation’s 108-year record.

Maximum temperatures were unusually warm, with the month tying as the ninth highest May maximum temperature for the nation as a whole.

Regionally, Queensland had its sixth highest May temperature on record, with the Northern Territory and Western Australia also experiencing top seven figures for the month.

Globally, numbers were also up at the start of the southern hemisphere autumn, with the average March temperature over land and sea recorded at 1.05°C above the 20th century average of 12.7°C.

This was the second highest for March since global temperatures were recorded, behind the record 2016 by 0.18°C, and ahead of 2015 by +0.15°C.

The average mean temperature was 1.66°C (3.0°F) above the 1961–1990 average and the third highest in their 108-year record.

Much of the world’s oceans surfaces also experienced warmer- to much-warmer-than-average conditions during March. Record warmth was limited to sparse areas across the central, eastern and western equatorial, and southern Pacific Ocean, southern Atlantic Ocean, and southwestern Indian Ocean.

The warm start to the year continued through April. The combined global average temperature over the land and ocean surfaces was 0.90°C above the 20th century average of 13.7°C — the second highest April temperature since global records began, trailing 2016 by 0.17°C and ahead of 2010 by 0.07°C.

The year-to-date global temperature was also the second warmest on record at 0.95°C above the 20th century average of 13.7°C, and just 0.19°C behind the all-time high recorded the previous year.

On land, most of the world experienced hotter than usual temperatures, with an overall spike of 1.3°C above the 20th Century average of 8.1°C.

May offered some respite, but was still characterised by warmer- to much-warmer-than-average conditions across most of the world’s land and ocean surfaces, reports the NOAA. However, near- to cooler-than-average conditions were present across the eastern half of the contiguous U.S., eastern Europe, western and north-central Russia, as well as parts of the northern and southern Atlantic Ocean, northern and southern Pacific Ocean, and the tropical Indian Ocean.

The end of the Southern Hemisphere autumn, also spelt more bad news for Antarctica’s sea ice extent.

By May, the coverage was just 9.67 million square km, which was 1.14 million square km, or 10.55 percent, below the 1981-2010 average. This was the second smallest May Southern Hemisphere sea ice total on record, revealed the NOAA.

The US-based administration also reported below-average sea ice extent in the Amundsen Sea, Ross Sea and eastern areas of the Weddell Sea.

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Australian Endured Exceptional Heat This September

22nd September is still remembered and has gone down in history in terms of having extreme weather. It was the hottest day in September with the majority of the country recording new highs.

As per the published statement of the Bureau of Meteorology, the mean maximum temperature was 33.47°C on 22nd September, and that is almost six degrees warmer than the average of the month.

The Bureau called the heat as ‘exceptional heat’ as it literally broke the previously set record in September 1998, having temperatures of 33.39°C, being the warmest since the beginning of records in 1911.

This year and the last year too, Australia has been a victim of severe climatic conditions. On many occasions, the country and its different regions have endured extreme temperatures, breaking many previous records. The Bureau considers the heat faced in September as a significant change in climatic conditions and all of this takes us back to the same debate of taking strong measures against climate change and carbon emissions.

While Australia has great tendency to meet the challenges of climate change, the country never took a step back in contributing towards the growing issue of climate change worldwide.

What the Bureau suggest as the most probable reason behind the exceptional heat endured by Australians this September is that much of the rising temperature was actually caused by the high-pressure system which is located at the Tasman Sea and New South Wales, and that kept a large portion of northern and eastern Australia absolutely cloud free.

The parched soil and low rainfall rapidly allowed the high sunny temperature to heat the overlying air and the land surface.

Exceptional Heat Hit Different Territories in Australia

In September, many regions of Australia met with record-breaking temperature whereas some made it to the top ten warmest days’ list.

Queensland and New South Wales took the lead and experienced the hottest days of September –so far on record – the following week.

Whereas other regions such as Victoria and the Northern Territory along with South Australia, have days in the list of the top ten warmest for September.

As per the statement of the Bureau “More than 20 percent of Australia by area recorded its hottest September day on record during 22-29 September”.

As a whole, New South Wales suffered from its hottest day in September so far on record on 23rd September. The mean maximum temperature recorded on that day was 35.18°C, almost 1.5°C greater than the previous mark and in terms of long-term average, nearly 15°C warmer.

The Bureau also noticed some other climatic conditions according to which, since the year 1910, the spring season has warmed up around one degree all across Australia, which is consistent with what has been seen around the globe.

The Bureau said that “Studies undertaken by the Bureau and other scientific institutions have shown that climate change has contributed to the severity and frequency of recent heat events, including spring warmth,”

The effects of climate change are inevitable and the last option left to the nations worldwide is to seek well strategic measures to cut down the impact of climate change, and to stay prepared for meeting more challenges down the line.

Leonardo DiCaprio Takes a Big Move towards Climate Change

Climate change has taken over a lot of countries in terms of the severe consequences that are causing the deaths of many. As the years pass by, these natural calamities are increasing in frequency worldwide!

However, a lack of focus and adequate measures in addressing the prevailing issue of climate change is considered solely responsible, for these deadly events.

As a matter of fact, while many countries are already handling the climate change concern in various binding ways such as Paris Agreement, some are least bothered to make any contribution.

Speaking of which, the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio also set his foot in by announcing to give out almost 20 million dollars, from his running foundation to tackle the climate change effects.

The provided huge sum is likely to be shared across more than 100 organizations which are supporting marine conservation, wildlife protection, and other climate change programs.

The Big Move by the Oscar Winner

The contributed sum to tackle climate issue may not be enough to completely eradicate the issue or to reduce its effect immensely but nonetheless; it emphasizes on the need of addressing the climate issue at a larger platform globally – especially when we witnessed Oscar winner, making such a huge effort towards the issue that is neglected by many other countries.

The granted sum is so far the largest amount that has ever been donated by Leonardo’sfoundation and that makes the total given out amount almost 60m since the foundation was set up in the year 1998.

While attending a conference on climate change at Yale University – DiCaprio stated;

“We are proud to support the work of over 100 organizations at home and abroad, these grantees are active on the ground, protecting our oceans, forests and endangered species for future generations – and tackling the urgent, existential challenges of climate change.”

These grants are focused on covering the six major areas as follows;

  1. Climate change
  2. Landscape and wildlife conservation
  3. Ocean conversation and marine life
  4. Innovative solutions
  5. Indigenous rights
  6. California climate change program

DiCaprio further stated that;

“Our challenge is to find new ways to power our lives, employ millions of people and turn every individual into an advocate for clean air and drinkable water. We must demand that politicians accept climate science and make bold commitments before it is too late.”

The targeted areas of this contribution include Kenya, Somalia, the United States and the Amazon.

Last year, Leonardo met with the U.S. President Donald Trump and discussed the issue of climate change and ways to boost the economy by adopting greenways. While Trump promised to watch the actor’s movie ‘Before the Flood’, there is a lot more than this which needs attention, to tackle the issue and from many countries around the world.

After witnessing some unexpected decisions by the U.S government to handle the issue, there is a great need of attention by other countries such as France, Australia or Russia to take a big move towards it.

Climate Crises Are Giving Rise to Food Crises

During the 2010 summers, Russia struggled through a severe drought. The series of wildfires and heat waves that destroyed almost one-third of the wheat harvest of the country.

This food crisis in Russia affected the two major regions and importers of the wheat, North Africa, and Middle East. Both of these regions are among those which are better being called food-insecure. They heavily rely on the imports of grain right from the Black Sea, majorly Russia, being the largest exporter of wheat in the world.

However, Russian government immediately banned the exports of grain, in the middle of the crisis, to save its own supply of food.

This caused the countries of the Middle East and North Africa to face skyrocket bread prices. And as some other factors also gave rise to the political unrest in these countries, the increasing food cost aggravated the discontent and further prompted many attempts, to put an end, to illiberal regimes – some suppressed violently and others successful.


Climate change is worsening the food scenario

Climate change and its drastic consequences are being faced worldwide. While we cannot connect a particular event of weather with the climate change, some models suggest that the climate shift is increasing the possibility of such events, even more.

For instance, the United States could face another round of episodes like the one previously observed in the year 2012. The consequences of Isaac hurricane not only barge traffic on various parts associated with Mississippi river but also closed ports.

Similarly, another heavy-hitter – Brazil— accounts for almost 17% of global maize, wheat, soybean and rice exports. But due to extreme rainfall, it’s road networks have started crumbling.

Imagine facing the crumbling of main transport route, along with the Russian drought and US flood. The world would end up facing a global shortage of food, political instability and riots, starvation in regions that are the main importers and severe recession at other places.


The underinvestment in worldwide infrastructure

To worsen the matter, the chronic reduction of investment in terms of infrastructure has also destabilized the critical networks. The rising trade flow and extreme weather put them at failing risk. As the McKinsey Global Institute presented deficit in terms of world’s infrastructure investment, the expected gap between the funds needed and funds available, stands at 250 billion US dollars/year by 2040.

But even if we consider the countries with infrastructure investment, they often fail to factor the risks attached to climate change. As per the survey conducted by the Organization for Development and Economic Cooperation in the year 2016 – the climate change is overlooked in the majority of these countries – even in the rich ones – except for a few exceptions.


What needs to be done?

Countries need to take adequate measures to diversify the production and to avoid relying on a handful of crops or major exporters. Funding should facilitate alternate sources and build various routes worldwide along with the infrastructure that is climate-resilient.

Nonetheless, all of these long-terms plans must be taken up immediately before we get hit by another consequence of climate change and ultimately global food crisis.

NOAA State of the Climate Report– February 2017

Earth experienced its second hottest February since records were first taken in 1880, reveals the monthly State of the Climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The combined average temperature over land and ocean surfaces was 0.98°C above the 20th century average of 12.1°C — a number only topped by the +1.20°C record set in February 2016.

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