March 2017: 2nd warmest March on record

In Episode 4 and Episode 5 of our brief history of the scientific evidence of global climate change, we saw how direct atmospheric CO2 measurements and measurements from air bubbles trapped in ancient ice provide us a record of the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration since Biblical times. This record reveals a dramatic and accelerating increase in atmospheric CO2 beginning with the onset of our large scale combustion of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolutions:

Publicly available Scripps ice core-merged data, downloaded and plotted by me. Green: Ice core data from Law Dome, 0 C.E. to 1957 (see references here and here). Blue circles: Average yearly data from atmospheric sampling at Mauna Loa and South Pole, 1958-2016. Blue square: Mauna Loa measurement made on March 30, 2017. Human experience milestones added by me.

A new graphic prepared by Climate Central uses NASA and NOAA temperature data to show how the monthly global average temperature for each month since 1880 has compared with the average temperature for that month during the “early industrial” years of 1881-1910, highlighted in red in the plot above. (Basically, how much cooler or warmer each month was compared with that month during the time period when Dr. Brown and Mr. Escombe were conducting their early CO2 measurements at the Royal Botanical Gardens.) Cooler months are blue and warmer months are red, with the saturation of the color indicating the departure from the average temperature for that month between 1881 and 1910:

Image credit: Brian Kahn, Climate Central. Underlying data are from NASA and NOAA (see here for details).

March, 2017 was the second warmest March on record, 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average March that Dr. Brown and Mr. Escombe experienced around their time at the Royal Botanical Gardens. It also marked the 627th consecutive month of warmer-than-average temperatures since that time.

This is not “fancy scientific data” or computer models. Just readings from thermometers at meteorological stations. Do you generally believe thermometers?

If you were born after December, 1964 (look for that lonely blue box above), you have never experienced a “cool” month.



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