Near-record hot 2017, heat burst point to warming world
Another year of near-record global temperatures and the recent heat spike in major n cities should serve as warning of the vulnerability of populations to global warming, a leading climate researcher said.
The first complete datasets of land and sea surface temperatures worldwide, compiled by Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, indicate 2017 notched a fourth consecutive year of “exceptionally warm” conditions.
One set, by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, placed last year just 0.1 degrees cooler than 2016, the hottest year on record.
2017 was warmer than 2015 and 2014 – two years that had previously set the high mark for global heat in successive years, the preliminary set showed.
The average air temperature at the surface exceeded 14.7 degrees, the Copernicus service said. The most above-average temperatures for the year were in the Arctic, with few land regions below average. (See chart below.)
A slew of agencies will release their findings on January 18, but the ranking for 2017 is “very likely to be in the top three”, Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said. Hottest non-El Nino year
Andy Pitman, director the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes based at the University of NSW, said global temperatures shouldn’t be close to records since last year did not have an El Nino to give them a boost.
“Normally El Ninos add three-tenths of a degree or so to the global mean, and we’re not in one,” Professor Pitman said.
“Climatologically, it’s really quite surprising” 2017 was so warm, and the record for a non-El Nino year, he said.
The implications, though, are unclear.
One more favourable view is temperature increases linked to rising greenhouse gas emissions may be catching up to trend after a relatively slow stint of increases at the start of the century, he said.
A less promising outcome, however, might be the climate is more sensitive to warming than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated. The current range is about 2-4.5 degrees warming for each doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“It’s optimistic to think that the climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the range,” Professor Pitman said. “It’s likely to be on the mid- to high-end of the range – which isn’t good.”
The recent annual warming spurt implies the Paris climate goal of keeping warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees of pre-industrial era levels “is virtually impossible”, he said. From averages to extremes
The weekend burst of heat across south-eastern – including 47.3 degrees on Sunday in Penrith, the second hottest ever recorded in the Sydney Basin – underscores the risk of worse extremes when average temperatures rise.
While 2 degrees average global warming may not sound like a huge change, it implies land temperatures will rise about 3 degrees.
Those land regions in the mid-latitudes – where many n cities lie – may rise 4-5 degrees or more before extremes are taken into account, Professor Pitman said.
“If western Sydney warms by 4-5 degrees on the average in the summer, you’re looking at extremes being 5-10 degrees higher than they currently are,” he said.
A study published last October found Melbourne and Sydney could cop 50-degree days within decades if carbon emissions continued to rise.
The toll on the health of the population would mount as, if models predict, the length, frequency and intensity of heatwaves increase.
“What a few degrees increase in the average means is a dramatic escalation in the risk of extremely hot temperatures, lasting for longer periods of time,” Professor Pitman said. “That places immense stress on emergency services, health services, the electrical grid, et cetera.”
While western Sydney had posted one hotter day – 47.8 degrees back in January 1939 – the population was not highly reliant on air-conditioners with houses much better adapted to passive cooling back then.
“We are now adapting to the pleasure of air-conditioning – and it’s totally dependent on the power grid surviving,” he said. 2017 was the 2nd warmest year on record – @CopernicusECMWF analysis. An excellent summary is provided at https://t成都夜生活/FNoifC9v5LWhile 2017 rankings between various data sets may differ slightly (e.g., 2 or 3), the long-term warming is undoubtedly clear… pic.twitter苏州美甲/83vGyI6gLF??? Zack Labe (@ZLabe) January 4, 2018Posted in: 苏州美甲