Warmer temperatures are the new normal In this May 31, 2015 file photo, an Indian women stands in front of an air cooler to cool herself on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Telangana. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A., File/Thinkstock)
Warmer temperatures are the new normal
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Hotter weather appears to be here to stay, El Nino or not, the U.N. weather agency said last Monday, warning that the Paris climate accord last year shouldn't give way to complacency about global warming.

The World Meteorological Organization issued its annual climate report following a record-hot 2015, highlighting records already announced by different countries' weather agencies. The agency pointed out that not only was 2015 breaking records on the surface but also hundreds of meters deep in the ocean.

And the first two months of 2016 were even hotter, so startling that they "have sent shockwaves around the climate science community," David Carlson of the World Climate Research Program said in a statement.

Climate scientists blame record high temperatures last year and this year so far on a combination of a super-sized El Nino, which is a natural warming of parts of the Pacific that changes weather worldwide, on top of a long-term global warming trend from the burning of fossil fuels.

NASA said last month was 1.35 degrees Celsius (2.43 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than average. Of that, 0.8 degrees (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) comes from the long-term warming and 0.25 degrees (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) from El Nino, with the rest unexplained residual, calculated climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute in Germany and the University of New South Wales.

Even after the El Nino phenomenon abates in coming months, way above normal temperatures won't exactly go away, Carlson and others said.

"We're on a slope; sometimes the slope goes very steep, sometimes it's a little bit more shallow, but we're going upward," Carlson said in a news conference. "So the normal is going to be increases: It's going to be increased temperature, increased ocean heat content, loss of ice, we know all of these things."

Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech climate scientist who wasn't part of the WMO team, agreed: "These records vividly illustrate the destructive power of an El Nino on climate change steroids."

The WMO predicts warmer weather accompanied by pockets of both drier and wetter conditions, depending on the region, around the world.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas told reporters in Geneva that many people believe the climate issue is "solved ... since we reached a nice agreement in Paris." But, he said, "we haven't changed our behavior yet."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (31)
  • briannec-ste
    4/14/2016 - 11:09 a.m.

    I personally don't like hot weather, I like it better when it is cold. So hearing that the world is getting hotter is upsetting.

  • lillianp-lam
    4/19/2016 - 10:44 a.m.

    I'm not saying that the burning of fossil fuels isn't causing our atmosphere to get warmer, but hasn't the earth been warming for a long time? Long before fossil fuels. It's natural, right?

  • lances-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:20 p.m.

    warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions because there is more rain fall and it dries up quicker.

  • garretta-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:21 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce drier and wetter conditions because global warming makes storms more fierce which drops more rain, and warmer temperatures dry the ground out a lot.

  • coled-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:21 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions because the dry-ness comes from it being hot, but the wet-ness comes from humidity.

  • ethany-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions because each region is different and the change messes with the pattern.

  • jacih-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:22 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce drier and wetter conditions depending on the region. And what part of the world you are in.

  • elizabetht-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures can create both drier and wetter conditions due to the fact that it depends on the part of the world that you're in and it also can just come to show that the more water evaporated from one area and sink and flood another.

  • johnj-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:23 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions because if the weather is warmer than water can dry up and precipitate faster which also leads to rain.

  • lucasp-fel
    5/06/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions because more rain evaporates

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