• Scientist Predicts 2015 The Hottest Year On Record With 9 MONTHS To Go

    Former NASA climate scientist James Hansen bets 2015 will be the hottest year on record because of a developing El Niño.

    “A substantial developing El Niño will add to the global warming trend, and should make 2015 easily the warmest year in the instrumental record,” Hansen wrote in a blog post. Hansen’s prediction comes after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared (well, sort of) that 2014 was the warmest year on record, and Dec. 2014 to Feb. 2015 was declared the warmest such period on record.

    But is Hansen’s prediction premature? It’s only the beginning of April, meaning there are nearly nine months left to go in 2015.

    NOAA expects this year’s El Niño to be weak as “widespread or significant global weather pattern impacts are not anticipated.” The climate agency does say, however, there could be wetter-than-normal conditions in areas like the Gulf Coast. NOAA says there’s a “50 to 60 percent chance… that El Niño conditions will continue through the summer.”

    “Based on the persistent observations of above-average sea surface temperatures across the western and central equatorial Pacific Ocean and consistent pattern of sea level pressure, we can now say that El Niño is here,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in March. “Many climate prediction models show this weak El Niño continuing into summer.”

    El Niño events, which means the little boy in Spanish, cause sea surface temperatures to be warmer-than-normal in the Equatorial Pacific and typically last for nine to 12 months (some have lasted for years). El Niño can spike global temperature readings because of ocean warming. Indeed, 1998 had a very strong El Niño event while 2002 to 2007 and 2010 had relatively weak warming events — note that 1998, 2005 and 2006 are some of the hottest years on record.

    Hansen adds that the “chances of having a summer warmer than it was several decades ago are high. And thus so too are the extreme events embedded within a hotter than normal summer.”

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