Temperature Trends

2015 Only Third Warmest Year: Preliminary Results from Satellite Data

World Meteorological Organization says it's going to be the hottest year


Dreamstime: Meryll

Just in time for the opening of the Paris climate change conference, the World Meteorological Organization issued a statement in November saying that 2015 would likely be the warmest year in the instrumental record that begins in the mid-19th century. University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologist Roy Spencer who is one of the principle investigators that compiles global temperature data based on satellite measurements has preliminarily concluded that, based on current trends, that 2015 will be the third warmest year since 1979. Both the WMO and Spencer attribute a good deal of the current spike in warming to the El Nino phenomenon that was greatly boosted tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures this year.

Spencer notes:

With the November 2015 data now in, it's pretty clear that in our UAH analysis 2015 will only be the 3rd warmest year since the satellite record began in 1979. Based upon my calculations, this will be true no matter what happens in December (barring Armageddon).

Third Warmest

The years are displayed with the warmest on the left, and the coldest on the right. The color coding and arrows have to do with El Nino years.

Spencer goes on to speculate what might happen to temperatures in 2016 if the current El Nino strengthens or fizzles.