Last month was the hottest August on record for global average temperatures over land and ocean surfaces, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.
If the trend continues, 2014 could set records for planet-wide heat, raising fresh alarm at the pace of global warming and the burning of fossil fuels.
The month's temperature was 1.35 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, the agency said in its monthly climate report.
"It was the largest departure from average of any month on record," said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA, noting that record-keeping began in 1880.
The month's average land and ocean surface temperature was 61.45 Fahrenheit (16.35 Celsius). The 20th century average for August is 60.1°F (15.6°C).
The period between January and August was also the third warmest on record, said the report.
"If we continue a consistent departure from average for the rest of 2014, we will edge out 2010 for the warmest year on record," Crouch told reporters.
"Another way to think of that, if the next four months—September through December—if each of those months rank among the five warmest on record, 2014 will be the warmest year on record for the globe," he added.
Most of the global oceans were much warmer than average last month, Crouch said.
On land, temperatures across the United States were near average, while parts of Europe, central Asia and Australia were near average or slightly cooler than average.
Even the arrival of El Nino, leading to warmer waters in the Equatorial Pacific and a wetter-than-normal season, is not likely to be enough to re-establish disappearing water reservoirs on the US west coast due to a devastating drought in recent years, experts said.
"This year's El Nino is probably not going to be the savior for ending the drought in California," said Alan Haynes, service coordination hydrologist at NOAA's weather service.
"We don't expect it to be in that drought-busting category."
Read more at: http://phys.org/news...august.html#jCp
World greenhouse emissions threaten warming goal
Emissions of greenhouse gases are rising so fast that within one generation the world will have used up its margin of safety for limiting global warming to 2°C (3.6°F), an international team of scientists warned Sunday.
A report by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), published two days ahead of the UN climate summit on Tuesday, found that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production grew by 2.3 percent in 2013, reaching a record 36 billion tonnes of CO2. It predicted a further 2.5-percent increase in 2014.
It means that the world's "carbon quota" is fast being used up, according to the GCP research. Like an allowance, the quota is the maximum of heat-trapping gas that can be emitted before warming breaches 2°C as compared to the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1750.
"With current emission rates. the remaining 'quota' to surpass 2°C of global warming will be used up in around 30 years—or one generation," its authors said. "Total future CO2 emissions cannot exceed 1,200 billion tonnes for a likely—66 percent—chance of keeping average global warming under 2°C since pre-industrial times."
"Globally emissions would need sustained and unprecedented reductions of around seven percent per year for a likely chance to stay within the quota," warned Glen Peters of Norway's Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo (CICERO).
"If this were a bank statement it would say our credit is running out," Dave Reay, a professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said in a commentary. "We've already burned through two-thirds of our global carbon allowance and avoiding dangerous climate change now requires some very difficult choices."
Tuesday's summit in New York aims at giving a political push to meeting the UN target on climate change.
Member states have agreed to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, although they have not set a date by which this should be achieved.
The negotiations are supposed to climax in Paris at the end of 2015, providing a global pact that should come into force in 2020. But the talks are complex and bitterly-fought, with divisions over who should shoulder the burden of curbing the emissions.
Although the 2°C goal is aimed at preventing "dangerous" climate change, scientists are cautious about endorsing it, saying the figure is no guarantee of avoiding damage to weather systems, amplifying such problems as drought, floods and storms and loss of land from rising seas.
China key for change
The report said most of the world's largest carbon emitters last year continued their upward curve.
China, which has been the world's No. 1 emitter since 2006, increased its CO2 emissions by 4.2 percent in 2013, while those of the United States and India grew by 2.9 and 5.1 percent respectively.
Only one of the main emitters, the European Union (EU), managed to reduce its figures last year, achieving a reduction of 1.8 percent due mostly to a weak economy and despite a rise in coal consumption by Finland, Germany and Poland.
China is responsible for 28 percent of all CO2 emissions, followed by the United States (14 percent) and Europe (10 percent), according to the GCP analysis.
"China now emits more than the US and EU combined and has CO2 emissions per person 45 percent higher than the global average, exceeding even the EU average," said Robbie Andrew at CICERO.
"This is an interesting trend and shows the important role China will play in addressing the climate challenge," said Sybil Seitzinger, director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), based in Stockholm.
The research was published in two peer-reviewed journals, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news...n-goal.html#jCp
Edited by ohreally?, 21 September 2014 - 06:55 PM.