Planet Earth continues to sweat, making last month the second-hottest October in 140 years: NOAA

The average global land and ocean surface temperature for October 2019 was 0.98°C, a value that was just 0.06°C short of the record-warm October set in 2015


                            Planet Earth continues to sweat, making last month the second-hottest October in 140 years: NOAA

The planet is warming, and last month was the second hottest October on record for the globe, according to an analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US.

The experts say it is "almost certain" that when the year is done, the five hottest years globally will be the last five years. The odds of that happening naturally in a non-warming climate are "astronomically low," explain the scientists.

The costs of climate change on people and the economy are clear. Millions across the world recently united in a massive protest, urgently calling for action against climate change. Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment: intense heat waves, loss of ice, melting glaciers, and sea-level rise, among others, impacting ecosystems, and livelihoods. Multiple reports recently have also warned that if nations fail at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the number of hurricanes, severe storms, wildfires, and droughts will increase both in numbers and intensity. 

The NOAA scientists combined global land and ocean surface temperature. They found that this combined global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for October 2019 was the second highest for October in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. 

“The October temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.98°C (1.76°F) -- above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F). This value was only 0.06°C (0.11°F) shy of tying the record warm October set in 2015,” says NOAA.

October 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average temperatures across much of the global surface. (NOAA)

According to the experts, their calculations suggest that there is a 99.9% chance that 2019 will be in the top 5 and top 10 warmest years on record, but less than a 0.01% chance of it being the warmest year.

“Based on current anomalies and historical global annual temperature readings, it appears that it is virtually certain that 2019 will be a top 10 year, consistent with a strong propensity since 1988 for recent years to be initially ranked as a top 10 year,” says NOAA.

Climate by the numbers. (NOAA)

Record warm October temperatures were mainly present across parts of the North and Western Pacific Ocean and northeastern Canada, as well as scattered across parts of the South Atlantic Ocean, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and South America.

Regionally, Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean region, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Hawaiian region had an October temperature departure from average that ranked among the top four warmest Octobers on record, shows analysis.

“Europe, Africa, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands region experienced temperatures that ranked among the three highest on record for October. The world’s average sea surface temperature ranked second-warmest ever recorded for the year to date — less than a 10th of a degree cooler than the record-warm sea surface temperature observed in 2016,” say experts.

Arctic sea ice coverage was the smallest ever recorded for October, at 32.2% below the 1981–2010 average. The 10 smallest Arctic sea ice extents for October have occurred since 2007.

Selected significant climate anomalies and events in October 2019 globally. (NOAA)

According to the analysis, the global land-only surface temperature was 1.46°C (2.63°F) above average and the second highest on record, trailing behind 2015 by 0.03°C (0.05°F). The global ocean-only surface temperature was also second highest on record at 0.80°C (1.44°F) above average. October 2015 had a higher global ocean temperature departure anomaly of 0.87°C (1.57°F).

The year-to-date temperature for 2019 was also the second warmest on record for the January–October period. 

“The first ten months of 2019 ranked as the second warmest January-October on record, with a combined global land and ocean surface temperature of 0.94°C (1.69°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.4°F). This is only 0.09°C (0.16°F) shy of tying the record warm January–October set in 2016,” shows the analysis.

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