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NASA: The Last 5 Years Hottest on Record?

By February 14, 2019June 29th, 2019Climate Culture, Temperature

NASA: The Last 5 Years Hottest on Record?

Yes, the last five years have been the hottest five years recorded since 1880. This is a big deal. But what we hear in the media portends bigger things. One of the biggest is the meaning of the yearly average temperature and its relationship to our old climate. 

We as a society, and our media and the scientists they report, we all have a view of our climate based on the past. But we fail to recognize the bigger meaning of our ever increasing average temperature.

The global temperature rose above natural variability in 2000, and yes again, the last five years were hottest ever recorded. What this natural variability thing means is that our climate has changed to something different than our old climate. It means that if we do not reduce the load of greenhouse gases in our sky, almost every–or every single five year period from now until we bring our climate back under control, will be hotter than the previous 5 years.

Bringing our climate back under control too, means that we have to remove already emitted greenhouse gas pollution from our sky using negative emissions or carbon dioxide removal. Emissions reductions alone allow for warming to continue, from”warming in the pipeline”, because of the great cooling capacity of our oceans.

“Hottest Year Statements” that are fundamentally as important, or more important than the last five years:
(From NASA’s temperature data)

  • Of the last 18 years, 17 have been the hottest on record.
  • Since 1980, 36 of the last 40 years have been hotter than the hottest year ever recorded prior to 1980.
  • Every 5-year period since 1976 has been warmer than the warmest 5-year period from 1880 to 1976.

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NASA: Hottest Five Years on Record… 

Climate change rose above natural variability… warming rose above natural variability right about the turn of the twenty-first century.
King et al., The timing of anthropogenic emergence in simulated climate extremes, Environmental Research Letters, September 10, 2015.

NASA’s Temperature Data… The data used for the “hottest ever” statements above was derived from NASA data, that NASA used to create cover image for this article.
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