NASA data shows 2015 as hottest on Earth to date

The first five months of 2015 were the hottest on record, according to newly published NASA global temperature data. This shouldn’t be entirely surprising, given the previous record-holder was 2014, but a trend is emerging – and it doesn’t look good.

Overall, this year’s temperature has been 0.71 degrees centigrade hotter than the long-term average, which goes against the already shaky-looking claims of those who believe that global warming is slowing down or has paused. Despite some minor fluctuations in NASA’s charts, the trend is clear.


The Guardian goes a step further, including a measure for this year’s data, which is literally off the charts. Specifically to the top right, roughly parallel with the “x” in index.

So that’s the bad news. Well, no, there’s more.

NASA also released two data models of what the planet would look like in 75 years’ time. The first is based on current projections, and the other on an “extreme case scenario” in which emissions rise significantly.

The data suggests we’ll reach CO2 concentration of 900 parts per million in July 2099. That’s 500 parts per million more than we hit earlier this year. It leaves the planet looking like this on a daily max temperature scale.15-115

The dark-red patches signify a temperature of 45 degrees centigrade. Even southern England is pushed to an average of 25 degrees plus.

You can experiment with the dataset on the NASA site. The 11TB dataset is so detailed that it can be broken down to show daily minimum and maximum temperatures for individual cities and towns. The idea is to help nations – particularly developing countries, which are likely to be the worst hit by climate change – to prepare for the weather extremes on the way, be it floods or droughts.

“NASA is in the business of taking what we’ve learned about our planet from space and creating new products that help us all safeguard our future,” said Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist. “With this new global dataset, people around the world have a valuable new tool to use in planning how to cope with a warming planet.”

“Cope” may not be the most optimistic of words, but looking at the data you quickly realise that this isn’t a “glass half-full’ kind of situation.

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