An extremely warm December pushed 2015 into the hottest year on record for planet Earth as a whole. Scientists say that this warm December has been caused somewhat by the El Niño weather pattern, but that mostly climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions was to blame, as the New York Times reports.
Oh, and the rate of global warming is accelerating. Before 2015, 2014 was the hottest year on record. This means that the world is now heating up rapidly, rather than gradually, as it had done after the last El Niño in 1998. Political leaders have tried to portray 1998 as the year global warming stopped, but obviously these last two years tell a different story.
For the continental United States, this year was the second hottest year on record. Instead of a cold, snow-blanketed holiday season, many states east of the Mississippi River experienced a record warm December, punctuated by heavy rains.
So what does that mean for 2016? Well, El Niño is set to continue, so 2016 might beat out 2015 as the hottest year. If manmade climate change continues, then we’re sure to see continued threats to our winter sports and our beer. And if we can go sledding while drunk…what’s the point?
(Via New York Times)