Earth just experienced hottest June ever recorded

A map showing global temperature data for June 2014. National Climatic Data Center.


A map showing global temperature data for June 2014. National Climatic Data Center.

Writes Brian Kahn at Climate Central: "The world just experienced its hottest June on record. The heat was driven in large by part by the hottest ocean temperatures since recordkeeping began more than 130 years ago. That makes this the third-warmest start to the year." I'm sure it's nothing.

When looking at land areas only, this was the 7th-hottest June. Temperatures averaged over land were 1.7°F above average.

It’s the ocean surface temperatures that put the month over the top. Temperatures were 1.2°F above average. That’s a smaller number than the 1.7°F land averages, but oceans tend to lag behind air temperatures. And despite being a smaller number, oceans cover 70 percent of the planet, which tend to give them more weight on global temperatures.

"Driven by Ocean Heat, World Sets Mark for Hottest June" [climatecentral.org]

Climate change is life and death

Temperatures rise. Scientists warn and study. Conspiracy theorists cry foul. Politicians scoff and wheedle and suppress, while their bureaucrats calmly plan ahead. In the meantime, life and death go on—just not in quite the same way we’re used to. Posted by Rob Beschizza.

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April 2014: warmest April on record

201404The global temperatures last month tied with April 2010 as the warmest on record [NOAA]. I'm sure it's nothing.

Massive iceberg six times the size of Manhattan drifts away from Antarctic glacier


This combination of Dec. 10, 2013, left, and March 11, 2014 photos provided by NASA shows a large iceberg separating from the Pine Island Glacier and traveling across Pine Island Bay in Antarctica. (NASA)

One of the largest icebergs on the planet, about six times the size of Manhattan, has separated from an Antarctic glacier and is floating out towards open ocean. The iceberg is named B-31, and is roughly 255 square miles (660 square km). Its estimated maximum thickness is 1,600 feet (487 meters). Last Fall, it broke off from the Pine Island Glacier. Researchers have been watching it drift away since then, via satellite.

"The ice island, named B31, will likely be swept up soon in the swift currents of the Southern Ocean, though it will be hard to track visually for the next six months as Antarctica heads into winter darkness," according to scientists at NASA's Earth Observatory monitoring its progress.

From Reuters:

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'Rising Seas,' long-form radio doc on climate change by Alex Chadwick and 'BURN: An Energy Journal'

My friend, former NPR colleague, and longtime journalism mentor Alex Chadwick has an incredible new radio documenting hitting the public radio airwaves this week. We're sharing it here on Boing Boing before it hits the radio-waves. I asked Alex to tell us a little about 'Rising Seas.' He explains:

The Rising Seas project grew out of an encounter at an MIT energy seminar almost a year ago. I met an Americanized Brit, Dr. Len Berry, from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He's been speaking forcefully and clearly about the threat that rising seas present. At the end of his talk, I asked if Miami is a viable city. He smiled and answered, 'well, it is right now'.

And then I asked about the end of the century. He smiled again, but said nothing.

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Meltwater lake forms at North Pole

Photo credit: NOAA

NOAA's Arctic division maintains a couple of webcams at the North Pole, and one of them is showing a pretty impressive meltwater lake forming around it. Previous years show small ponds forming and refreezing throughout the summer, but this year nearly all the snow in view of the camera has melted into a lake-sized slush.

Check out this time lapse video of the lake forming. Much more photos and videos from this year and previous years at NOAA's website.

Beating the heat with a refrigerated space helmet

John Young (who made this head-mounted water cannon I posted about in 2005) says:

Like most of the country, West Chester, PA is INSANELY hot and muggy right now.

In desperation, I connected a homemade swamp cooler (plastic bucket, bag of ice, electric fan) with a 3M positive-pressure welding helmet to make a: REFRIGERATED SPACE HELMET.

I think the next step is to switch to a battery-operated fan, put the cooler on a wagon, and then I can walk all around in delicious, frosty coolness.

Narrative long reads that make climate change make sense

Anecdotes aren't data, but they do make data memorable. Alice Bell has a list of books that use storytelling and narrative to explain the often complicated science of climate change. One of the books on the list — Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming — is an oft-recommended favorite of mine. If for no other reason than the fact that I like to see how people react when I explain that we have known about the science behind climate change since the 19th century. And if it didn't work the way we think it does, then Earth would be a cold wasteland, like Mars. (Bonus, Weart and the Institute of Physics have a fantastic website that delves deeper into Weart's sources and can help you do your own research and answer follow-up questions.)

Why do some people say the Earth isn't getting hotter?

If you haven't seen the Skeptical Science website yet, you're missing out.

Via Tom Standage

Outstanding accounts

Phil Plait — who writes the Bad Astronomy blog — still has not been paid for his contributions to the Great Global Warming Conspiracy. For such an organized cabal, you think they would have a better accounting department.

Epic American drought gets worse in key farm states, after hottest month on record

This does not bode well for food prices: the Plains states where corn and soybeans are produced in greatest quantities are receiving the worst of excessive drought conditions, in the wake of the hottest month ever recorded in the US. Welcome to the new Dust Bowl?

TOM THE DANCING BUG: What Will Be the Biggest Political Story of 2032?

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on Twitter.

Further: JOIN Tom the Dancing Bug’s proud and mighty INNER HIVE to support the comic and receive untold BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES!

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Words matter

In an answer to a reader question, NPR explains why it uses both "climate change" and "global warming" to refer to the concept of rising anthropogenic greenhouse gasses forcing a corresponding rise in global average temperature. Personally, I try to use "climate change" in all cases, for the same reason NPR likes that name—it doesn't confuse people who might otherwise not realize that a rising global average temperature can cause diverse local effects that aren't limited to higher temperatures.

TOM THE DANCING BUG: "Governor Rick, Science Hick," starring Rick Perry!!!

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