NASA says 2015 warmest year on record
2015 was not just a record year for worldwide heat, 2015 shattered the record that was set just one year prior in 2014. The past 2 years have been the hottest years this earth has seen since we started recording temperature in 1880. Additionally, 15 of the top 16 warmest years have happened since 2001. According a press release from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), on January 20th, 2016, “Last year was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average.”
Credits: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA.org
The above image depicts the results gathered from approximately 6300 weather stations scattered across the world measuring surface temperatures on land and sea. To better articulate how NASA is measuring temperatures, they have published their GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) Surface Temperature Analysis here. An even more striking visual representation regarding global warming activity can be seen in this time-lapse video of temperature and warming patterns starting in 1880 below. The most dramatic change seen in this video starts around 1978, where the cooler areas of blue start to disappear.
The same press release quotes NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stating, “Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth. Today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice - now is the time to act on climate.”
And policy makers are starting to act. In December, 2015 200 nations came together at the Paris Climate Talks with a primary goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. In the same month, US Congress renewed the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for renewable energy for 5 more years. It is fair to say that the US and the rest of the world are taking steps to address this issue.
World governments aren’t the only ones with the power to make change. By making small changes in your lifestyle, you too can combat climate change. Checking out SunShare’s “Live Green” page or participating in a SunShare Community Solar Garden are great places to start!