Record Heat Sans El Niño

The smallest posts on are often the most terrifying.

Even without an El Nino warming the world’s waters, Earth in February sizzled to its second hottest temperature on record, behind only last year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated that February 2017 averaged 55.66 degrees (13.08 degrees Celsius). That’s 1.76 degrees (.98 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average.

It was also the second hottest winter in the on record. Records go back to 1880.

In the past, Earth doesn’t come near record heat if there’s no El Nino. This year it did—on every continent.

NOAA climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo called it clear evidence of .

She calculated that the rate of February warming since 1980 is twice as high as since 1880.

July of 2016 was the hottest individual month on record. Just prior to that we had the hottest eleven month streak on record. There are two kinds of reports now – abnormally warm, and extraordinarily abnormally warm.

Previously in Liebig’s Red Line I noted that not only do biological systems have resource constraints, but technical systems do, too. If we were wise we’d be hustling as hard as possible to convert all air conditioning requirements in this country to solar, given that the need matches the production curve. The other big benefits are that solar is naturally distributed, it’s a source of heat for cool, but sunny days, and best of all it produces electricity without requiring cooling water.

California got a reprieve last month in the form of record setting rains, and then we got another reprieve in the form of the Oroville emergency spillway holding despite the stress. Had it failed the top 30′ of the largest reservoir in the state would have come out all at once. The evacuation of nearly 200,000 Butte county residents was deemed a necessary precaution. Now we sit and wait and hope that this early fill is enough, given that the heat is going to quickly drain our natural storage in the Sierra snow pack.

Oroville Spillway

Oroville Spillway. It’s supposed to be a long, straight chute full of water.



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