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NOAA report shows June was warmest month since records began

Residents struggle to put out hot spots in a burned out home. Washington is experiencing the worst fires in history, caused by climate change.
Residents struggle to put out hot spots in a burned out home. Washington is experiencing the worst fires in history, caused by climate change.
Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report showing that June 2014 was the warmest June on record since 1880 when records began. This follows a previous NOAA report showing that May was also the hottest May on record. These conclusions are in agreement with a Japan Meteorological Agency finding, released last week, that May and June were the hottest on record since 1891.

The average temperature over global surfaces for June 2014 was 1.3 degrees above the 20th-century average of 59.9 degrees. In May, the Earth's temperature was 1.33 degrees above the average of 58.6 degrees. June was the 352nd consecutive month that the global temperature was above average.

“The warmth was fueled by record warm ocean temperatures,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. “Large parts of the Pacific Ocean and most of the Indian Ocean hit record-high temperatures or were much warmer than average for the month.” Blunden pointed out that since the beginning of 2014, every month except February has been among the four warmest.

These findings are consistent with NOAA’s "State of the Climate in 2013" report released last week. It found that the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels and global temperatures continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet.

“These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.”

Here are the highlights of the 2013 report.

Greenhouse gases continued to climb:
Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.

Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface:
Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest.

Sea surface temperatures increased:
Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record.

Sea level continued to rise:
Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades. Perhaps it’s time to option that beachfront property in Las Vegas

The Arctic continued to warm and sea ice extent remained low:
The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

Antarctic is warming:
Near the end of the year, the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957.

Despite all this data, many Republican members of Congress and state legislators, as well as some governors deny climate science. They claim that reports of the earth’s warming are a hoax—a scam to get grant money.

This is reminiscent of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned. This time, the entire planet is burning both figuratively and literally as wild fires flare again this summer, further adding to the carbon in the atmosphere. Is this a death spiral?

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