Record Setting Heat…Today?

Hard to believe it is the 18th day of May and the high in Nashville was 62 degrees.  Yes it’s true.  That’s just shy of 20 degrees cooler than the average of 79.  62 is more like March weather in Nashville.  With that said, it is ironic that  NOAA released the monthly global temperature update today, and like the corresponding NASA monthly update, it indicates that this past April was the warmest April on record globally.

Here are a few of the quick stats from NOAA:

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2016 was 1.98°F above the 20th century average — the highest temperature departure for April since global records began in 1880.
  • 13 out of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015 (record goes back to 1880). The other two were in February 1998 and January 2007.
  • April 2016 is the 12th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken, the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of record keeping.
  • The global year-to-date temperature is 2.05°F (1.14°C) above the 20th century average, and is warmer than this time in 2015, which finished as the hottest global year on record.

For clarification, the NOAA anomalies are calculated from a 20th century baseline. Since the global conversation has shifted focus to a goal of limiting warming to 2°C with an aspiration of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the folks at Climate Central  combined the NOAA and NASA global temperature numbers and adjusted them to an early industrial baseline of 1881-1910 to better gauge warming against this global goal. That’s what is reflected in this graphic.

Blog Horserace April 2016 (002)
This second graphic from Climate Central is the year-to-date global map showing NOAA temperature anomalies using their 20th century baseline, highlighting record heat over Alaska, Brazil, and the Indian Ocean.

Blog Global Anomalies April 2016

So keep in mind that even though we have cooler days like today, that is weather.  Climate is when look at weather over a long period of time.  That is where you find the changes toward warmer temperatures.

I know all these numbers and scientific jargon can be a lot to ingest.  Thanks for taking the time.  Some who read this will say climate change is not real despite these numbers.  But it’s my position that it’s our obligation to be good stewards of this precious Earth.

I’ll have an update on our weather for the rest of the week coming up on Channel 4 News at 10pm.

Lisa Spencer

posted 9:45pm


About Lisa Spencer

Lisa Spencer is the chief meteorologist at WSMV Channel 4 Nashville. You can catch her weathercasts weekdays at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 6:30pm and 10pm.
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