Nov 10, 2015

Fresh Climate Data Confirms 2015 Is Unlike Any Other Year in Human History

by
Eric Holthaus
,
Slate
This year is set to be Earth's warmest in millennia, according to new data—with profound implications. Here, calved icebergs are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013, in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images
This year is set to be Earth's warmest in millennia, according to new data—with profound implications. Here, calved icebergs are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013, in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Over the past few days, a bevy of climate data has come together to tell a familiar yet shocking story: Humans have profoundly altered the planet’s life-support system, with 2015 increasingly likely to be an exclamation point on recent trends...This year’s global heat wave—about two-tenths of a degree warmer than 2014, a massive leap when averaged over the entire planet—can be blamed most immediately on an exceptionally strong El Niño, but wouldn’t exist without decades of heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuel burning. Separate data...showed the current El Niño...has now tied 1997 for the strongest event ever measured, at least on a weekly basis.