You’ve probably heard or read the news by now that 2014 was the warmest year on record. This related story deserves to be examined.
On Wednesday January 21, the Senate voted on an amendment to legislation concerning the Keystone XL pipeline. The question was whether climate change is a hoax. It was affirmed to be real by a vote of 98 to 1. That sounded encouraging. That was followed by another amendment that stipulated climate change was real and that human activity significantly contributes to climate change. That was defeated. It needed 60 yes votes but got 50, with 49 no votes. All but four Republicans voted no. Those four joined the entire Democratic group. It is astounding to me that such an important question could viewed so differently and along strict party lines. Here is the list of yeas and nays.
According to the Senate, climate change is real, but humans are not responsible for it. The vast majority of the scientists who study this question disagree with what that vote says. Here is a partial list of organizations they represent.
This graphic shows the temperature anomaly world-wide for 2014 compared to the baseline average from 1951 to 1980. Dark red is a +4˚C anomaly. Dark blue is a -4˚C anomaly. The only inhabited part of the world with large population centers that was cooler than average was the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. Alaska, of all places, was the warmest anomaly. A 4˚C anomaly equates to a 7.2˚F anomaly.
Long Term Trend
Since 1950, measurements show how the Earth’s temperatures have changed. The scale for darkest orange is +0.5˚C per decade. Land areas in the northern hemisphere, especially the arctic, have the largest increases. Light blue in some ocean regions show a very slight decrease in temperatures.
This trend can be seen graphically in the following. The black line is the trend for all data between 1950 – 2014. El Niño and La Niña year trends are in red and blue respectively. They show the same long-term trends, only slightly warmer or cooler than each other.
Who Says This Is Happening?
Four major institutions reported the same findings using different baseline periods and their own methods to estimate global temperatures. NASA and NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom all came up with similar records. This chart, which begins in 1880, shows the close match of the overlapping plot lines. All of the peaks and valleys match. The warmest records are in the recent decades since 1980.
From Why So Many Global Temperature Records?
January 21st, 2015 by Adam Voiland…
…the difference between the hottest and the second hottest or the 10th hottest and 11th hottest year on any of these records is vanishingly small. The more carefully you look at graph (above), the more you’ll start to appreciate that the individual ranking of a given year hardly even matters. It’s the longer term trends that matter.