In 139 years of record-keeping, this June was the warmest June ever recorded. But June 2019 also revealed a deeper warming reality.
The first half of 2019, January through June, finished up as the second warmest half-year on record, newly released NASA data shows. On top of that, each of the last five January through Junes are now the five warmest such spans on record. Only 2016 started off hotter than 2019.
“At this point, the inexorable increase in global temperatures is entirely predictable,” said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University. She noted that NASA’s updated data is added proof that climate models have accurately predicted Earth’s continued warming as heat-trapping gasses amass in the atmosphere.
“As we have shown in recent work, the record warm streaks we’ve seen in recent years simply cannot be explained without accounting for the profound impact we are having on the planet through the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations,” added climate scientist Michael Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.
Indeed, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, already at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years, are now accelerating at rates that are unprecedented in both the historic and geologic record.
2019 will almost certainly end up being one of the hottest years on record. This is in line with another stark trend. Eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 — and the five hottest years have occurred in each of the last five years. (It’s not just the first half of each year setting records.)
“This is further evidence that temperatures will keep rising until government policies that decrease greenhouse gas emissions are actually implemented,” emphasized Green.