NASA and NOAA Both Confirm: 2018 Was Fourth Hottest Year on Record

Over the weekend, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced her candidacy in the 2020 presidential election, in the middle of a snow storm. A day later, America’s premier climate scientist — President Donald Trump — took to Twitter to explain why she should’ve waited to make her announcement because her points about global warming were made moot by all that snow, because as we all know, climate and weather are literally the same things.

Obviously that’s not true. Short term weather events are not the same as long-term weather trends, and anyone with even a cursory knowledge of how climate works understands that short term weather patterns can change because of the long-term climate readings, such as temperature. Warmer temperatures can still result in colder weather events because the impact that rising temperatures can have in areas that have had historically lower temps.

Normally, Donald Trump tweeting such stupidity wouldn’t really matter. There are sadly countless people who truly think that joking about global warming in a snow storm makes them both smart and funny. The problem comes when you realize that Trump is the de facto leader of the free world taking on a scientifically illiterate stance.

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Couple Trump’s inane joking with the fact that both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, and you’ve got all the reason you need to be alarmed.

NASA and NOAA released statements this month calling 2018 the fourth warmest year on record. Both organizations’ data suggests that the average global temperature last year was roughly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 20th-century average. Globally, the land-surface temperature rose 2.02 degrees higher than average, while the sea-surface temperature was 1.19 degrees higher. (Big Think)

This image, provided by NASA, shows global temperatures from 2014-2018.

In the image above,temperatures are measured in a color coding scheme that shows red for hotter than average temperatures, and blue for colder. Unfortunately, rising temperatures like these aren’t an exception, they seem to be the rule. For the last half decade, temperatures have been the warmest they’ve been since we started tracking them.

Collectively, the past five years were the warmest in the record’s 139-year history (2016 was the hottest ever). And 2018 was the 42nd year in a row sporting an above-average temperature, a streak that began in 1977.

As if the data and imagery aren’t harrowing enough, Climate scientists are starting to change their rhetoric from warning us to “We told you so,” as well.

“We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future,” Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told theNew York Times. “It’s here. It’s now.”

When temperatures rise in the north, polar ice melts. When polar ice melts, it breaks off into the ocean. When that happens sea levels rise and a whole host of attendant related issues start cropping up. Whether or not a certain segment of the world’s population acknowledges it or not, global warming is real, and the effects are observable.

Perhaps, though, we can find some way to make fiscal conservatives care more about the environment. If warnings from scientists don’t work, maybe warnings from economists will. Climate change has real financial consequences as well.

…2018 proved the fourth costliest year for the U.S. since 1980 (when records began). Fourteen inclement weather events amassed an economic toll of $91 billion, with Hurricane Michael’s $25 billion bill expending the most. These disasters also took at least 247 lives and grievously injured many more.

Climate change and conservation should not be a politically partisan issue. Maybe some of its solutions can carry a political cost, or evoke a political fight. However, with each day that certain political forces entrench themselves in a place where they flatly deny all the evidence in front of them, evidence that keeps mounting, we inch closer to a true point of no return.

Hopefully before that time comes, we’ve managed to find a way to convince people that fighting over the irrefutable fact that climate change is real and made worse by humankind is pointless, and that solutions should be debated, not whether facts are truly factual. If not, the temperatures are just going to keep rising, and we’re going to be subjected to worse and worse jokes about climate change. We’ll be like underwhelmed, politely laughing frogs, wondering where all the steam and bubbling is coming from.

Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.




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