It’s Getting Hot in Here

By Sidney Reilly

SciShort-FansAccording to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), 2014 was the hottest year (in terms of average across global land and ocean surfaces) since they began recording the data in 1880. Which basically means the ship may have sailed on all the uplifting parts of an Al Gore TED talk.

Some people have noted that things don’t seem that different, and in fact in some places the recorded data show that they haven’t been experiencing any type of sustained warming. The United States itself only had its 34th warmest year since the recording began. But according to Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, who commented in an OSU press release, this doesn’t mean the change isn’t happening. It’s just hard for people to detect sometimes.

“Most of us relate to climate through what we remember and the week-long spell of near-record cold, snow, and ice last February may seem more pertinent or convincing than global mean temperature,” said Mote, “but from a physics perspective, global mean temperature represents lots of interesting processes—rising greenhouse gases among them.”

For Oregon it was our second hottest year on record, behind only one year during the great Dust Bowl, 1934. A lot of this year’s warmth was driven by the continuing drought in southern and eastern Oregon. The short-term outlook isn’t too rosy either, with the droughts and higher temperatures expected to continue in 2015. The short-term outlook is considerably higher for doomsday shelter salesmen.

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