While some, perhaps not California farmers, will disagree with NOAA's assessment of the world's atmospheric conditions, earlier today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared that July was the warmest month ever recorded for the globe and was also the record warmest for global oceans, putting a full stop to a year that has been characterized by numerous perplexing atmospheric outliers around the globe but perhaps none other more so than NOAA's earlier assessment that the winter of 2015 was also the warmest on record despite the much discussed US winter, where for the second year in a row the economic slowdown was blamed on a colder than usual winter. Go figure: perhaps here too we need double seasonal adjustments.
Among some of the highlights noted by NOAA:
- The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for July 2015 was the highest for July in the 136-year period of record, at 0.81°C (1.46°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.08°C (0.14°F). As July is climatologically the warmest month of the year globally, this monthly global temperature of 16.61°C (61.86°F) was also the highest among all 1627 months in the record that began in January 1880. The July temperature is currently increasing at an average rate of 0.65°C (1.17°F) per century.
- The July globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.73°F (0.96°C) above the 20th century average. This was the sixth highest for July in the 1880–2015 record.
- The July globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.35°F (0.75°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest temperature for any month in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set in July 2014 by 0.13°F (0.07°C). The global value was driven by record warmth across large expanses of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
NOAA goes on to note some of the headline-grabbing "significant climate anomalies and events" including the Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Extent, Typhoon Nangka, the abnormally hot summer in western and central Europe coupled with the cooler than average weather in North Europe, the "widespread snow" in eastern Australia, the second warmest July in Africa, the fifth warmest July on record for South America, and the strange distribution of atmospheric conditions in the US, where the record California drought was contrasted with the cool Central states.
Some other highlights from the report:
- The average Arctic sea ice extent for July was 350,000 square miles (9.5 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the eighth smallest July extent since records began in 1979 and largest since 2009, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA.
- Antarctic sea ice during July was 240,000 square miles (3.8 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the fourth largest July Antarctic sea ice extent on record and 140,000 square miles smaller than the record-large July extent of 2014.
- Austria recorded its hottest July since national records began in 1767. The average temperature was 3.0°C (5.0°F) higher than the 1981–2010 average, beating the previous record of +2.7°C (+4.9°F) set just a few years earlier in 2006. Two major heatwaves, with temperatures reaching 38°C (100°F), contributed to this heat record. At some stations in major cities, including Innsbruck University, Linz, and Klagenfurt, it was not only the hottest July, but the hottest month ever recorded in the 249-year period of record. On July 7th, the daily temperature reached 38.2°C (100.8°F) in Innsbruck, its highest temperature in recorded history.
- The heat waves extended to France, where the country had its third warmest July in its 116-year period of record. Overall, the temperature was 2.1°C (3.8°F) higher than the 1981–2010 average, with localized departures of more than 4°C (7°F) in the Massif Central to the North East and the Alps, according to MeteoFrance .
- The Netherlands also experienced abnormally hot July temperatures at the beginning of the month. Under an intense heat wave that gripped much of western and central Europe, the southeastern town of Maastricht observed a temperature of 38.2°C (100.8°F) on July 2nd the highest temperature on record for that town and one of the highest for the country. The highest temperature ever recorded was 38.6°C (101.5°F) in Warnsveld in 1944. The heat did not last however. The temperature was below 0°C (32°F) at a station in Twente in the eastern part of the country on July 9th and 10th, the first time the temperature dropped below freezing in July since 1984.
- Record-breaking heat was observed in parts of the southern United Kingdom at the beginning of July, including the highest temperature recorded in the country since August 2003. However, the heat did not last as westerly Atlantic air flowed in, bringing cooler-than-average temperatures for much of the remainder of the month. So, despite the early record heat, overall, the average July temperature for the UK was 0.7°C (1.1°F) lower than the 1981–2010 average.
- Despite a heatwave over part of Sweden at the beginning of the month, temperatures remained cool for the reminder of July across much of the country. While temperatures across southeastern Sweden were slightly above average, other areas, particularly in the far north, were not. Pajala observed its coolest July since 1965 and Gaddede its coolest since 1951, although SMHI notes that the station has been relocated a few times over the years.
- Norway experienced cooler-than-average temperatures for the third consecutive month. The average July temperature was 0.7°C (1.1°F) lower than the 1961–1990 average. Temperatures were as much as 3°C (5°F) below average at some stations in Finnmark.
- A high pressure dome over the Middle East brought what may be one of the most extreme heat indices ever recorded in the world on July 31st. According to media reports, in the city of Bandar Mahshahr, the air temperature of 46°C (115°F) combined with a dew point of 32°C (90°F) for a heat index on 74°C (165°F). The highest known heat index of 81°C (178°F) occurred in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on July 8th, 2003.
Putting this in context, in the 180 or so State of the Climate summaries since 2000, the NOAA has documented what it defines to be 13 of the 15 warmest years on record. Which means that the US government is hoping the population is not habituated to seeing such reports by now, especially not ahead of the politically important Paris climate conference this December, when a "comprehensive climate plan" is expected to be proposed. A plan which, just like the entire carbon credit fiasco, is certain to enrich some - such as Goldman Sachs - and do little for everyone else, because it is far better for financial elites and the political oligarchy to keep the world always one step away from a state of permanent crisis.