Yet again, last year was the warmest year on record — and it’s not a surprise.
Larissa Rodriguez (’17) thinks that this is a huge problem. While it is caused by both natural and human sources, we need to reduce our carbon footprint — and Rodriguez gave several well-known examples, such as carpooling and using alternative energies. She personally says that the odd weather affects her because she “never knows how to dress”.
By last August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the temperatures were so high that they were 97% sure that 2015 would surpass 2014. NOAA was correct, and the subsequent months only proved its estimate. September and October ended up being the hottest of their respective months of all time.
Additionally, El Niño began earlier in 2015. While climate change affected earlier months, El Niño is what caused the warmer and wetter weather so late in the year. This unique climate change event is what caused many parts of the US to miss out on a snowy white Christmas.
Berkeley Earth, an independent group created to fact-check major official agencies on climate change, states that 2015 is the warmest year on record. Their estimates are conservative, and they said that 2015 set the record “by a significant margin.” Berkeley Earth is led by physicist Richard Muller, who was originally a skeptic of global warming until he started Berkeley Earth in 2010.
The group found that for the first time in history, the global temperature passed 1° Celsius above the preindustrial average. Passing 2° Celsius could have catastrophic consequences, including the loss of low-lying islands or coasts.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said that 2015 was the second hottest year on record for the US, after 2012. However, it was the warmest ever around the globe.
Fortunately, many world leaders want to curb climate change. In December, 196 counties adopted an agreement to combat global warming at a the United Nations COP21 summit. The agreement is not yet in force, but signatures will open on April 22 and it will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions ratify it.