2016 could be the hottest in history

On Monday evening, the national administration on ocean and atmosphere administration (NOAA) – an organization that, in particular, monitors the climate of the planet, reported that, according to them, 2016 is the year America became the second warmest year in the entire history of observations. Most likely, globally on Earth last 365 days will be the warmest in 120 years of observations – at least, preliminary data suggests that’s about it.

A year of records

2016 seriously declared itself from the beginning. Already on 30 January in Moscow was broken the previous high of 1989: the temperature in the day rose to 2.6°C. Each following month updated the previous records, and July was the warmest month over entire history of meteorological observations – and not in Moscow, but throughout the world. In autumn, the trend continued: on the Ground in General was abnormally warm. September 2016 has become the hottest in Europe since 1910. Africa almost held on to record there in September was a little cooler than in 2015, when he was beaten the absolute maximum since 1910. It was hot even in the extreme server: from may to September on the Yamal absolute maximum temperature of the day was blocked six times.

At the North pole at the end of December was around zero degrees – about 20 degrees above normal. The growth of the ice cover, which by the rules must increase continuously, starting from the first months of autumn, in October and November unexpectedly slowed for the first time in 40 years of satellite observations. In November, the ice on the pole was % to 9.08 million square kilometers to 800 thousand square kilometers less than the previous record year 2006.


Illustration of changes in global temperature of the planet. 1955 and 2015

The preliminary report, which was recently presented at the world meteorological organization, said that 2016 really is likely to be record hot, – says Director of the Institute of atmospheric physics (IFA) in the name of A. M. Obukhov of RAS, Professor of MIPT thermohydrometric ocean Igor Mokhov. – The year started in a phase of very strong El Nino this term refers to a set of processes in the climate system atmosphere–ocean. This is a positive anomaly in the tropics of the Pacific ocean. The years of El Nino always abnormally warm. The temperature in the years of the opposite phase, La niña, on the contrary, below normal. The current phase of La niña was formed by the end of 2016, so his end was not so warm. A relatively weak cold the end is not overpowered overall for 2016, the warming effect of a strong El niño.

The planet warms greenhouse effect

Another record, scientists announced in September 2016. In 2015, the global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million parts (scientists call this ppm – parts per million). By September the following year this figure fell for the first time in the history of observations. 400 ppm is psychologically very important level: safe content carbon dioxide is considered to be 350 ppm. Many experts believe that exceeding this value is fraught with climatic disasters. CO2 – the most famous, although not the most powerful greenhouse gas. He is assisted methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), fluorinated gases and water vapor. Together, these substances create a semblance of transparent blanket that covers the Ground and does not allow solar heat to dissipate into space.


The ratio of the main greenhouse gases

The more greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, the more it heats up. If the temperature changes by 1-2 degrees, the consequences will be catastrophic. Warmer water in the oceans will melt a significant portion of the glaciers, the result of coastal and low-lying areas will be flooded. A General increase of free water will lead to the fact that the planet will experience more rainfall, with heavy rains and snowfalls will increase where so wet. Desert and arid regions will become even less suitable for life. However, life will not be easy and in other parts of the world: by some estimates, if the temperature will rise at the same rate as now, by 2050, the Earth will lose from 15% to 37% of living species of animals and plants. Losses among endemic species that are customized for specific habitats and cannot survive in other places will be 39-43%.

The main source of carbon dioxide in fossil fuels. The burning of coal, oil, gas and so on, the atmosphere gets a huge amount of CO2. Quite a large percentage it can to hide the plants: they build their body from CO2 and water, for years, removing it from the atmosphere. Cutting down the forest, people leave the planet with no storage of dangerous gas. Methane is also produced by burning fossil fuels. Live main producers of this gas – bacteria, including those living in the digestive tract of farm animals. The more cows and sheep – the more methane. A lot of CH4 is formed during the decomposition of organic waste: garbage and excrement.

Threat limit

Global temperatures are rising not only for the last two years. The planet is warming abnormally for more than half a century. In 2016, we have several times touched the borders of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This figure recorded in the Paris agreement – the document which was signed by representatives of nearly one hundred countries. The parties have agreed to keep global average temperature increases well below 2°C and make an effort to limit the temperature rise value of 1.5°C. However, the document does not spell out what sanctions await those who will not make effort, and that basically means this formulation. But even if all signatories of the Paris agreement, in fact, drastically reduce emissions, the planet is not immediately colder. The climate system is very inertial, so even if you completely stop CO2 emissions on the planet, the temperature in 21st century will rise – said Mokhov.


Schedule of changes in global temperature of the planet

Individual skeptics believe that these data prove nothing and may be explained by the global planetary processes that are still unknown to researchers and obey their laws. But most expert-climate scientists are confident that the steady rise in temperature – the handiwork of people who continue to burn coal and fuel oil. Calculations with the most detailed climate models and analysis of empirical data shows that without CO2 and it causes the greenhouse effect to explain the trend of climate warming is impossible. Skeptics often based on a single – sided point of view- for example, say that the current rise in temperature associated with solar activity. But data analysis and model calculations show that it explains variations of up to 0.2 degrees, and we see today the increasing temperatures at the Earth’s surface is several times stronger. In the evaluation of climate should take into account all the parameters and solar activity, and volcanic activity, and the exchange between atmosphere, ocean, biota, land and so on – explains Mokhov.

Moreover, many of the existing models underestimate the speed of some changes. As told Mokhov, when compared to calculations using the world’s leading models, using satellite data, found that the Arctic ice is melting faster than predicted by the model. So, it may well be that in reality the situation is developing more rapidly than scientists assume.

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