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. 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) 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 (18)
  • kieranw-3-bar
    4/14/2016 - 01:25 a.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce drier and wetter conditions depending on your location. If you were located in the Sahara Desert then the increased temperature caused by El Nino and Global Warming would only increase how dry the climate is but if you were in the Costa Rican rain forests than the increase in temperature would only raise humidity making the forests more wet. I find this article really interesting because it informed me that since El Nino, the U.S.'s temperatures have risen on an average of two degrees. I think this article is really cool and I am happy to know more about our current weather and temperature increases.

  • mayaw-6-bar
    4/24/2016 - 02:58 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions because of the effects El Nino has on Earth's temperature and climate. In paragraph 4, the article states that, "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." From personal experiences I know that El Nino causes rain in certain areas, and an increase in temperature in other areas. Therefore, warmer temperatures produced by global warming, climate change, and El Nino produce both drier and wetter conditions. I liked this article because I love learning about the environment, and I consider myself and environmentalist.

  • tiffanyf-1-bar
    5/31/2016 - 11:53 p.m.

    Warmer temperatures produce both drier and wetter conditions, depending on the location. In warmer climates without a large body of water near, that area will continue to increase in temperature, causing the air to become drier. In colder climates with a large body of water nearby,the water will evaporate, and as the water cycle continues, that water will eventually become rain. This rain will eventually precipitate down onto the ground, creating that wet condition. The article states,"The WMO predicts warmer weather accompanied by pockets of both drier and wetter conditions, depending on the region, around the world." This article is interesting because I didn't know the increasing temperature would also produce wetter conditions.

  • izaacb-edg
    6/03/2016 - 03:24 p.m.

    the reason warmer temperatures cause drier and wetter conditions is because dry areas without much rain can turn into dessert areas with heat evaporating the water in soils while it can also cause wetter conditions in area with snow or ice. by melting the snow and polar ice caps it cause oceans, houses,cities, and islands to flood.

  • jadeng-edg
    6/03/2016 - 03:29 p.m.

    warmer tempatures cause drier and wetter conditions because in diffrent areas it is really hot this is what makes it dry. the wetter places are because theres not enough heat there to dry up all the rain

  • moniqueh-edg
    6/03/2016 - 03:41 p.m.

    I feel like what we do as people does have a lot to do with our climate change because we aren't taking care of the earth we really just are destroying it. I feel like we have completely ruined the layer that is trying to protect us from such close contact with the sun and that is another reason we just keep getting warmer and warmer.

  • martham-edg
    6/03/2016 - 03:45 p.m.

    One thing, that I have been knowing when it comes to the heat rising up in temperatures, is that more ice is being melted and that's worrisome because polar bears are having a hard time without ice.

  • julietr-edg
    6/03/2016 - 03:49 p.m.

    It is all depending on the location. Some areas are very hot, which is why that location stays dry, and in wetter conditions, there is not much heat so it is not always dry.

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