According to a recent report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) the Earth’s temperature has been warmer than average for 400 consecutive months. That’s 33 years.
NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN that the rising temperatures are “mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming,” and that “we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future.” Sanchez explains that the temperature does vary to a degree on its own due to natural forces, but that there would be far less variability if we took out the human factor. “It would be up and down” she says.
There is no up and down here; for 400 hundred months straight, we’ve beat the average.
The NOAA report states that “four of six continents had an April temperature that ranked among the five warmest Aprils on record, with South America and Europe having their warmest April on record.”
This was our third warmest April since 1880. The warmest occurred in 2016, and the second-warmest was 2017.
Unfortunately, whether it’s 300 months, 399 months or a nice round 400, it really doesn’t seem to matter to many denizens of this sphere. Though, as a 2017 study from Yale pointed out, compared to previous years, more Americans now believe climate change is mostly caused by humans, although this is a slim majority at 58 percent.
A poll conducted by Gallup in March found that the gap in thinking between Republicans and Democrats has widened a bit since last year.
This wasn’t always the case. In 2008, John McCain was battling with Barack Obama over who cared more for the environment. McCain’s views weren’t the norm back then for a GOP lawmaker by any means, but in the subsequent decade, as the country has grown more polarized and billionaire oil tycoons like the Koch brothers have made a more concerted effort to buy politicians, the right wing has decided climate change is not a problem worth considering.
Republicans elected a man who called climate change a hoax and pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement. He also appointed a man who wants to kill the EPA to run the environmental agency; he has deleted climate change from the US National Security Strategy; he has moved to cut 2 million acres from federally protected lands in what would be the largest rollback of federal land protections in US history; he is attempting to destroy the Endangered Species Act; and has dismantled a long and growing list of environmental regulations aimed at decreasing CO2 emissions.
Four hundred months. Our planet has been warmer than average for three decades.
The trend here is impossible to ignore, and its impact could decimate biodiversity. There’s been a big push to keep the rise in global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This was a primary goal of the Paris climate agreement, as anything above this threshold is believed to be catastrophic to our ecosystem. Sadly, two recent studies found that we could hit a 2 degrees Celsius rise by the end of the century.
The habitability of this planet for future generations is in peril.