Sunday, November 17, 2019
US flag

NASA says 2017 was 2nd-hottest year on record

NASA says 2017 wasn’t the hottest year on record but the second-hottest, with El Niño in retreat; the hottest year on record was 2016, which did have an El Niño effect, the New York Times reports.

Many scientists reportedly expected 2017 to be much lower than it was, though, simply because of the absence of a true El Niño. But average surface temperatures are, in fact, going up globally, and any blip downward is bound to be pretty high, still.

“This is the new normal,” the paper quoted Gavin A Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which conducted the analysis, as saying. But, he said, “It’s also changing. It’s not that we’ve gotten to a new plateau—this isn’t where we’ll stay. In 10 years we’re going to say, ‘Oh look, another record decade of warming temperatures.'”

Average global temperature change: 2013–2017 compared to a baseline average from 1951–1980. (NASA)

An analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which uses a slightly different method of computing the average global surface temperature by putting less weight on temperatures in the Arctic, called 2017 the third-hottest year on record.

The map above, which shows the regions of Earth that were hotter from 2013 to 2017 than they were between 1951 and 1980 in red, orange, or yellow, clearly shows that the Arctic has experienced a more significant warming of average surface temperatures than any other big region. A formula that puts more emphasis on the Arctic is, therefore, going to come out with a more significant change for the Earth over all.

So the numbers are a little different, but both NOAA’s and NASA’s analyses found that 17 of the 18 warmest years since modern record-keeping began have occurred since 2001.

Don’t get the wrong idea: it’s still really, really cold in the Arctic. Just because the average temperatures there are warmer than they were 50 years ago doesn’t mean it’s warm.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.