Global climate change

Record warm years like last year will likely become the norm

11/16/2016, 9:51:24 PM

The record global warmth of 2015 and 2016** may just be the new normal as early as the year 2025 if CO2 emissions continue to rise at their current rate, according to new research from the University of New South Wales (AU).

Record warmth of 2015 (Image courtesy NASA GISS)


The study, which was led by Dr Sophie Lewis, from the Australian National University hub of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, was recently published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

NOAA global surface temperatures compared to normal for 2015.


The author notes that there is still time to prevent record breaking seasons from becoming the normal at regional levels if immediate and strong action is taken to reduce global carbon emissions.

"It gives us hope to know that if we act quickly to reduce greenhouse gases, seasonal extremes might never enter a new normal state in the 21st Century at regional levels for the Southern Hemisphere summer and Northern Hemisphere winter," Dr Lewis said. (via EurekAlert)

The term "new normal" has often been used when talking about climate change but it had seldom been clearly defined, according to the EurekAlert report. In order to determine in a new normal occurred, the study noted that at least half of the years following a record year had to be cooler and half had to be warmer.

And no matter what action we take, human activities had already locked in a "new normal" for global average temperatures that would occur no later than 2040, according to Dr. Lewis.


** 2016 is well on pace to set a new, record high global surface temperature.

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Global climate change