Jan 26, 2016

The Earth's Chimney Rages

FNS News: Don't let the East Coast Snow Slammer fool you. If record heat was registered in 2014 and 2015, expect even hotter temperatures in 2016 and succeeding years. That's the prognosis of a climate research scientist who spoke this week in a Mexico City presentation organized by the Research Institute for Development, a French government-sponsored agency with a focus on the global south.

"If global warming continues at the same pace as now, temperature records will continue getting broken every year, said Dr. Myriam Khodri, who works with Frances's Pierre Simon Laplace Institute.

Khodri projected drier weather for regions of the Americas, warning of the ramifications of less rain on different economic activities. She also touched on the effects of this year's large El Niño.

"Latin American nations like Mexico should worry about the increase in phenomena like El Niño, which directly impacts," Khodri said. For example, we have a big El Niño  this year and this means  a colder winter and a drier summer."

Khodri's talk coincided with news from the National Aeronautics and Spance Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the planet's 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest ever since the advent of modern record keeping in 1880.

"Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much," NASA said in press release last week.

According to NASA: "The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.0 degree Celsius) since the late-19th century, a change largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Last year was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average."

The U.S. agency cautioned that weather dynamics affect regional temperatures to the extent that not every place on earth saw record heat last year.
In a separate statement, NASA said the 2015-2016 El Niño had probably reached its peak, with "warmer-than-average waters" in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean expected to cool off and shift to the west.

Added NASA, "By summer, the tropical Pacific might be back in a neutral state or La Niña cooling could kick in, as it did after major El Niños of the past. But will the ocean respond in 2016 the way it did in 1998 and 1983? Given that the planet is hotter than at any time in the past 135 years, there are no guarantees."

According to Khodri, the climate changes the earth is experiencing today are the result of previous greenhouse gas emissions, with the effects of today's ongoing releases still waiting to be seen in the future.

Khodri compared the process to a chimney fire that is extinguished but keeps smoking for some time. The big difference with respect to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, she continued, is that the chimney fire has not even been put out.

Calling for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, Khodri concluded that "we will begin to see a difference in temperature" only when a general decrease in such emissions happens.

For more information:


Pierre Simon Laplace Institute:

Additional source: El Sur/Agencia Reforma, January 22, 2016. Article by Diana Saavedra.

Frontera NorteSur: on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico

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