Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

The first three months of 2016 have now all been blow-out months, all rising above 1°C anomaly over the GISS mid-century baseline. This month came in at 1.28°C. In fact, all of the past 6 months have come in at an unprecedented >1°C over their baseline. In terms of our anomaly over our 1880-1909 preindustrial baseline, this clocks in at 1.528°C and we've now marked 13 months where the 12 month average has remained over 1°C. We first crossed that point in February of 2015. (Full size image.)

Reliable sources are telling me April 2016 is coming in about the same, around 1.2°C in the GISS data. The 2015/16 super El Nino is continuing to wane but we probably have a few more months of these extreme global anomalies to come before the surface station data begins to fall back to the long term mean trend line.

The Ocean Nino Index (ONI) data is still just off its peak of 2.3, coming in at 2.0 for JFM (Jan/Feb/Mar). The satellite temperature data tends to lag the ENSO by about 6 months, so we will probably see those data sets also remain near their peak for another 6 to 8 months. (Full size image.)

Much noise is being made about the expected la Nina that will follow this current El Nino. John Abraham has a good article in the Guardian explaining how the ENSO cycles operate much like a battery; gaining heat in the oceans and then releasing that heat to the atmosphere. Many contrarians seem to think the la Nina is going to somehow wipe out the El Nino, but that's far from the case. They are essentially grasping for straws. This super El Nino and the resulting surface and satellite temperature responses have been nothing short of spectacular, and very concerning.

You simply cannot look at the recent anomalies on my first chart (small grey diamonds) in relation to all the other anomalies and not be struck by how dramatically they standout. Sou at HotWhopper also has a really good post about this year's anomalies in the GISS record that's well worth a read. 

This is some crazy stuff, and we likely will have several more months of the same or similar coming.

Expect 2016 to be the third year in a row that we beat the record for global mean temperature.

Posted by Rob Honeycutt on Friday, 29 April, 2016

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