For those wondering why the planet hasn’t yet exceeded the 1998 El Niño-fueled temperature record, a new Science magazine article ($ub. req’d) explains why. Basically, in addition to the steady increase in anthropogenic warming from greenhouse gases, you have to add a smaller variation from climate oscillations linked to the oceans. Those oscillations have been tamping down temperatures a tad, and will keep doing so for the next couple of years, but the decade of the 2010s is going to bring a return to record-smashing temperatures:

Our system predicts that internal variability will partially offset the anthropogenic global warming signal for the next few years. However, climate will continue to warm, with at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.


They further predict the year 2014 will “be 0.30° ± 0.2°C warmer than the observed value for 2004,” which means there is a 50 percent chance that the warming from 2004 to 2014 will be 3/8 that of the warming of the previous century!

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In short, if these projections are right (and if there are no major volcanoes to dampen temperatures), then the Denyers have a couple more years to spin their misinformation. But after that, the accelerating nature of climate change should become painfully clear to all. And I would not be surprised if this epic multiyear heat wave drives the Arctic over the edge, leading to a drastic — if not total — reduction in summer ice by 2020.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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