It’s hot out there. And getting hotter. Just ask the NOAA climate dudes.
Capped by an exceptionally warm July, the Northern Hemisphere sweltered through the warmest seven-month period of the past 127 years, with temperatures averaging 1.37 °F above the long-term average, according to a new report posted online by the National Climate Data Center.
The southern hemisphere was somewhat cooler during the same January-to-July period, but the record heat over Northern continents kept the kettle aboil, so to speak. Average global temperatures for the first seven months of 2007 ended as the second warmest seen since 1880, tying with 2002 and 2005, and beaten only by 1998.
All this news comes as ice watchers report an unprecedented decline in polar floes on the Arctic Ocean, with ice extent never smaller for this date during three decades of satellite coverage. A driver in the Arctic decline was the high temperatures along the coast of Alaska and Far Eastern Russia.
Parsing out what this new sizzle means can get dizzy. One hot year does not a climate bake. But the drumbeat of new records, starting last winter, with temperatures consistently at record or near record levels, does seem to raise the stakes in the global climate debate over reducing greenhouse emissions.
An antidote for nonsense and misinterpretation can be ingested by reviewing actual climate data — albeit translated into layman’s terms by agency science writers. The National Climate Data Center and the Alaska Climate Research Center are good first stops, followed by a visit to RealClimate.Org to peruse interpretations by climate scientists.