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
Lexile

Hotter weather appears to be here to stay, El Nino or not. That's according to the U.N. weather agency. It warned 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. It highlighted records already announced by different countries' weather agencies. The agency pointed out that 2015 was breaking records on the surface. It also broke records hundreds of meters deep in the ocean.

And the first two months of 2016 were even hotter. These months are so startling that they "have sent shockwaves around the climate science community." That's according to David Carlson of the World Climate Research Program.

Climate scientists blame record high temperatures last year and this year so far on a combination of a super-sized El Nino. It is a natural warming of parts of the Pacific that changes weather worldwide. Another factor is 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) comes from El Nino. The rest is from unexplained residual. This was calculated by 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 is a Texas Tech climate scientist who wasn't part of the WMO team. But she 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 (50)
  • paytong-
    4/01/2016 - 11:19 a.m.

    It's crazy how El NiƱo always causes problems, it's also pretty crazy the way it is caused.

  • autianae-ste
    4/01/2016 - 11:34 a.m.

    I've noticed how much warmer our temperatures have been. Surely there are some days that just aren't warm as we want it to be, but definitely warmer than we are used to. In winter, it barely snowed and it was about 75 degrees on Christmas in Pennsylvania. It's pretty different to see people playing in the sun with a Christmas hat, shorts, and sandals.

  • talas-ver
    4/01/2016 - 01:15 p.m.

    More rain happens but at the same time when doesn't rain it gets dry from the sun

  • sydneym-3-bar
    4/01/2016 - 02:15 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter temperatures for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is because of the region the warm temperature is that. As the second to last paragraph said, the WMO predicts that the conditions will matter where the warmer temperatures are around the world. I found this interesting because I did not know how much the whole world was affected by the warmer temperatures.

  • jackr-2-bar
    4/01/2016 - 04:05 p.m.

    One reason that warm temperatures produce both drier and wetter temperatures is because the area where the warmth occurs is more wet if the area is by water, so it makes it very humid. Another reason would be that since if the area is more arid, than the area would just get drier from losing moisture. One thing I found interesting about this article is how cool it is that the warmth causes two different outcomes.

  • ashtonb-hol
    4/03/2016 - 09:57 p.m.

    This was a very good book. It's cool how they talk about the weather or the climate. Most people like to know about the wearer or the climate. This is good go read this story...

  • christianc-ver
    4/04/2016 - 08:28 a.m.

    The warmer temperatures in a wetter area make the area more humid causing the conditions to be wet and moist, but if warmer temperatures are present in a drier area then the heat will suck up any remaining water and cause a drought.

  • mauricioa-hol
    4/04/2016 - 10:54 a.m.

    One reason that warm temperatures produce both drier and wetter temperatures is because the area where the warmth occurs is more wet if the area is by water, so it makes it very humid. Another reason would be that since if the area is more arid, than the area would just get drier from losing moisture. One thing I found interesting about this article is how cool it is that the warmth causes two different outcomes.

  • angele-
    4/04/2016 - 11:08 a.m.

    The water temperatures we keep us health and cool off. When we drink water we keep are mouth from getting dry.

  • nayelic-hol
    4/04/2016 - 01:05 p.m.

    I think it's really not good when there is high temperatures because you can get dehireted or sick because it's hot

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