Was There Something Special About This Last July?


I have been writing these kinds of posts for going on two years. I should just get a template and insert the name of the month and I would be done. But July just might be special. The numbers aren’t all in yet but there’s a good chance that this past July was the hottest month ever recorded since instrument temperature records were first started in the late 1800’s. UPDATE: It’s now officially the hottest month ever.

Global temperatures in July vs. 1951-1980 average. Via NASA.

According to preliminary data from NASA along with information from the Japan Meteorological Administration, July 2015 was the warmest month on record since instrument temperature records began in the late 1800s.

Research using other data, such as tree rings, ice cores and coral formations in the ocean, have shown that the Earth is now the warmest it has been since at least 4,000 years ago.

According to NASA’s data, which is subject to refinement in coming weeks and months as more is analyzed, July 2015’s average temperature nudged past July 2011 by 0.02 degrees Celsius, or .36 degrees Fahrenheit.

In order for 2015 not to be the warmest year on record, the rest of the year would have to turn sharply colder, on a global average. That is not likely to happen, considering both the influence of long-term manmade global warming and a shorter-term climate cycle known as El Niño.

The heat waves began in June before the Indian Monsoon kicked into gear, as high temperatures well into the triple digits Fahrenheit hit India and Pakistan, killing more than 2,000 people.

Madrid, for example, set monthly high temperature records in both June and July, with a record high temperature on July 6 of 103.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or 39.9 degrees Celsius.

Germany broke its all-time heat record on July 5, when the temperature reached 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 40.3 degrees Celsius, in Kitzingen, according to Germany’s National Meteorological Service. The U.K. set an all-time July heat record when the temperature at London’s Heathrow Airport reached 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit, or 36.7 degrees Celsius, on July 1, according to the Met Office.

Maastricht in the Netherlands, set a new national July heat record in July, when the temperature reached 100.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38.2 degrees Celsius, according to the Weather Channel.

But if you think that’s hot try to avoid the Middle East.

Wherever you live or happen to travel to, never complain about the heat and humidity again.

In the city of Bandar Mahshahr (population of about 110,000 as of 2010), the air felt like a searing 165 degrees (74 Celsius) today(July 30) factoring in the humidity.

To achieve today’s astronomical heat index level of 165, Bandar Mahshahr’s actual air temperature registered 115 degrees (46 Celsius) with an astonishing dew point temperature of 90 (32 Celsius).

So let’s all of us just keep doing what we’re doing. There’s no problem here. Keep moving along. Nothing to worry about.

UPDATE–August was the hottest August on record.

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for August 2015 was 0.88°C (1.58°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F) and the highest August in the 136-year record. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2014 by 0.09°C (0.16°F). Most of the world’s surface was substantially warmer than average and, in some locations, record warm during August 2015, contributing to the monthly global record warmth. This was the sixth month in 2015 that has broken its monthly temperature record (February, March, May, June, July, and August).

UPDATE–September was hottest September on record.

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for September 2015 was the highest for September in the 136-year period of record, at 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F), surpassing the previous record set last year in 2014 by 0.12°C (0.19°F). This marks the fifth consecutive month a monthly high temperature record has been set and is the highest departure from average for any month among all 1629 months in the record that began in January 1880. The September temperature is currently increasing at an average rate of 0.06°C (0.11°F) per decade.

UPDATE–Incredible October Warmth Guarantees Record Hot 2015

Month after month this year, above-average — and sometimes record — global temperatures have piled up, raising the odds that this year will be the hottest one humanity has ever experienced. And now October has blown those records out of the water.

According to newly released NASA data, October was not only the warmest October on record, but had the biggest temperature difference of any month in the 135 years of NASA’s archive. The month was more than a full degree Celsius (nearly 2°F) above the average for the 1951-1980 base period that NASA uses — an unprecedented feat in all those years of data.

Carbon dioxide levels are also currently drifting back above 400 parts per million, possibly never to dip back down again for the foreseeable future as a strong El Niño event lends the buildup of the greenhouse gas an extra push.


UPDATE–No surprises, this November hottest on record.

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2015 was the highest for November in the 136-year period of record, at 0.97°C (1.75°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F), breaking the previous record of 2013 by 0.15°C (0.27°F). This marks the seventh consecutive month that a monthly global temperature record has been broken. The temperature departure from average for November is also the second highest among all months in the 136-year period of record. The highest departure of 0.99°C (1.79°F) occurred last month.

UPDATE–The Earth is on track to end 2015 with an average 1 degree C warming.

It’s all but certain that 2015 will end up as the hottest year on record. And in setting that mark, the world is on track to finish the year 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels, a dubious milestone.

That would make 2015 the first year to crack the halfway mark of 2 degrees C warming, the benchmark that’s been targeted as “safe” climate change and what nations are working toward meeting ahead of climate talks in Paris in December. But Monday’s announcement by the U.K. Met Office hints at how difficult achieving that target will be.

One of the big questions in the climate change debate: Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won’t jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.

Jeff Goodell



How Dry is it?

The title of the article was, “Drought Now Covers 100% of California“.

“California’s drought has finished its conquest of the state: 100 percent of the land here is now in a drought condition, and 96 percent of it is in a severe, extreme, or exceptional drought.

This week marks the first time in the 15-year history of the USDM that 100 percent of California was in moderate to exceptional drought,” writes NOAA’s Richard Heim in a drought monitoring report.

It’s gotten this bad, despite March’s decent rains…And the state’s hydrological conditions might be worse than they look here. Snowpack serves as a natural reservoir, allowing humans to capture the runoff during the long California dry season. If it’s warmer, though, more precipitation falls as rain, instead of snow, eliminating the storage in the mountains.

And that’s what’s happening this year. While precipitation in the northern Sierras is running at 60 percent of normal, the snowpack is sitting at 13 percent of normal in the northern Sierras and 22 percent statewide. It’s melting quickly, too, thanks to hotter than normal temperatures.”

Just this last week we had a series of weak rainstorms come through the area. Thursday I was doing a Virgin Creek SOS Survey and got caught in some rain. I even heard on the TV that a late “winter” blast was going to hit the mountains. But as I write this on a late April “Spring” day temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees higher than normal all along the West Coast of the United States.

This AccuWeather story states, “As an offshore wind continues over California and along much of the West Coast, temperatures will continue to rise through Thursday and will increase the risk of wildfires…In portions of Southern California, gusty winds, known as Santa Anas, will raise the fire danger.

“The combination of very low humidity, heat, sunshine and wind can cause any fire that gets started to spread rapidly through dry brush and potentially into populated areas,” Clark said.

Winds can gust between 40 and 50 mph in canyons aligned in a southwest to northeast fashion into Wednesday night into Thursday.

Northeast winds will carry any smoke from inland fires toward the coast and will tend to push fires to the south and west.

“A fire has broken out in Day Canyon, in the San Bernardino National Forest just north of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Wednesday midday and was spreading rapidly,” Clark said.”

After Dry Winter In California, Preparations Begin For Harsh Wildfire Season“. That’s the headline for this ThinkProgress article.

“And with the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released on Thursday showing the drought persisting or intensifying throughout the state until August, precipitation figures will continue to trend negatively. One area where figures will grow is wildfires, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is already warning that it will be a long and challenging fire season. And its not like its been easy so far — between January 1 and April 5, Cal Fire responded to approximately 900 wildfires, around triple the average for that period.

With that in mind, Cal Fire hired nearly 100 additional seasonal firefighters to be stationed in the north and middle part of the state starting this week.”

Gov. Jerry Brown ramps up drought action with emergency declaration.” 

 — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a sweeping emergency drought proclamation, cutting red tape for a variety of government functions to help water agencies find new supplies, and to press the public to use water carefully.

“I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible,” Brown said in a statement. “The driest months are still to come in California and extreme drought conditions will get worse.”

California’s draught is already causing tensions to rise between various interests here in the state. It is also causing price increases for many commodities raised or grown in the Central Valley. This New York Times article outlines many of these issues.

“Heading into the third year of a prolonged drought, the Allens are among the many California farmers forced to make dire choices that could leave as much as 800,000 acres, or about 7 percent of the state’s cropland, fallow. While some think that estimate may be inflated so early in the planting season, the consensus is that drier and drier seasons are on the horizon.

A recent report on prospective planting from the federal Department of Agriculture forecast a 20 percent decline in California’s rice crop and a 35 percent decline in cotton this year from last year’s crop.”

“Anywhere between one-third and one-half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are grown in California, meaning Americans are facing higher prices on melons, broccoli, baby greens, almonds and other popular crops.

Last year, when growers struggled with low water allocations from the state’s two largest water systems, the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, vegetable prices were 3 percent higher and fruits cost 2 percent more, according to the agricultural department. It expects similar price increases this year.”

Drought Is Driving Beef Prices To All-New Highs.” That’s the subject of this ThinkProgress article.

“Years of sometimes record-setting dry spells have punished the western and southern United States recently, cutting down crops like hay and corn that serve as cattle feed. That’s driven up the costs of raising and maintaining cattle herds, so ranchers spent the last few years selling off and slaughtering more cows than usual in order to keep their finances stable.”

The practical results of this generates headlines like, “Drought Causes Chipotle To Increase Its Steak Prices.”  This might actually be a good thing. Reduced amounts of cattle and the eating of beef will reduce the effects of climate change. 

Is there any sign of “good” news for California and the Southwest? This article titled, “Four Bad Things We Learned About The Epic California Drought This Week“, ended with this statement, “The only bright spot in recent news is that we still appear headed towards an El Niño, which “may suggest wet conditions in California later this year.” Of course, an El Niño typically means dangerously extreme weather in other parts of the world — especially if it turns out to be a super El Niño as some forecast.”

I plan to discuss El Niños in a later post I will let you decide if an El Niño event will be a good thing.

El Niños–how do you put that wavy thing over the “n” on an Ipad?

Edited: Just found this blog by Robert Keiffer called,”Drought & Livestock equals extra feed needed“. Bob is the “Center Superintendent” at Hopland Research & Extension Center here in Mendocino. He’s also one of the long time Mendocino bird record keepers. I just wanted to add a local flavor to this post. I birded the Hopland REC with Chuck Vaughn last year during my “green” year. You can read about it here.

North Pole Bans Fireworks

North Pole, Alaska has just banned fireworks. Santa and his elves will have to celebrate the 4th without sparklers. It seems that Alaska is burning along with much of the Western United States.

You can read the notice on the North Pole’s Website. Scroll down to the “News” section. You can read about Alaska’s fire season here. Remember that this link is more than a week old. Another link to Alaska’s heat wave is here. The last paragraph  states, “Climate Central notes in their story, “Alaska is one of the fastest-warming states in the U.S., largely because the nearby Arctic region is warming rapidly in response to manmade global warming and natural variability. In recent years, Alaska has had to content with large wildfiresmelting permafrost, and reduced sea ice, among other climate-related challenges.”

It’s hot here in the West. It’s “only” 78 degrees here in this part of Mendocino County where I live but normally here on the coast it’s socked in with fog and we have to turn the heater on during the Summer. High heat records are predicted to be broken. A record heat wave doesn’t prove anything as far as climate change. But as President Obama just stated and I’ve written elsewhere, 7 of the top 10 warmest years in the lower 48 states have occurred in the past 15 years and 2012 was the warmest year on record. Seems that this trend is hard to dismiss.

Most parts of Western United States has also been under extreme drought. These drought conditions have seen massive wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico. California has seen an early start to their fire season.



 This is the second year of drought conditions in the west. You can read the full drought monitor report here.
“California is close to 93 percent in severe-to-exceptional drought, a jump from last week’s 67 percent. The state has built a reputation for good management of its reservoirs, but near-record water deficits may soon take their toll…said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the Drought Mitigation Center and author of this week’s Drought Monitor.”