A monster El Nino firing off in the Pacific. A massive fossil fuel driven accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere pushing CO2 levels well above 400 parts per million. The contribution of other greenhouse gasses pushing the total global heat forcing into the range of 485 parts per million CO2e. Given this stark context, we knew the numbers were probably going to be bad. We just didn’t know how bad. And, looking at the initial measures coming in, we can definitely say that this is serious.
According to today’s report from Japan’s Meteorological Agency, global temperatures jumped by a ridiculous 0.36 degrees Celsius from the period of December 2014 — the previous hottest December in the global climate record — through December 2015 — the new hottest December by one heck of a long shot. To put such an amazing year-on-year monthly jump in global temperatures into context, the average decadal rate of global temperature increase has been in the range of 0.15 C every ten years for the past three and a half decades. It’s as if you lumped 20 years of human forced warming all into one 12 month differential.