Written by NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
December-February also breaks existing temperature records
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for February 2016 was the highest for February in the 137-year period of record, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.9°F). This not only was the highest for February in the 1880–2016 record—surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.33°C / 0.59°F—but it surpassed the all-time monthly record set just two months ago in December 2015 by 0.09°C (0.16°F). Overall, the six highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred in the past six months. February 2016 also marks the 10th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken. The average global temperature across land surfaces was 2.31°C (4.16°F) above the 20th century average of 3.2°C (37.8°F), the highest February temperature on record, surpassing the previous records set in 1998 and 2015 by 0.63°C (1.13°F) and surpassing the all-time single-month record set in March 2008 by 0.43°C (0.77°F).
The State of the Climate November 2015 report noted that in order for 2015 to not become the warmest year in the 136-year period of record, the December global temperature would have to be at least 0.81°C (1.46°F) below the 20th century average—or 0.24°C (0.43°F) colder than the current record low December temperature of 1916. In fact, December 2015 was the warmest month of any month in the period of record, at 1.11°C (2.00°F) higher than the monthly average, breaking the previous all-time record set just two months ago in October 2015 by 0.12°C (0.21°F). This is the first time in the NOAA record that a monthly temperature departure from average exceeded 1°C or reached 2°F and the second widest margin by which an all-time monthly global temperature record has been broken. (February 1998 broke the previous record of March 1990 by 0.13°C / 0.23°F.) With the contribution of such record warmth at year's end and with 10 months of the year record warm for their respective months, including the last 8 (January was second warmest for January and April was third warmest), the average global temperature across land and ocean surface areas for 2015 was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), beating the previous record warmth of 2014 by 0.16°C (0.29°F). This is not only the highest calendar year temperature, but also the highest temperature for any 12-month period on record. The global temperatures in 2015 were strongly influenced by strong El Niño conditions that developed during the year. The 2015 temperature also marks the largest margin by which an annual temperature record has been broken. Prior to this year, the largest margin occurred in 1998, when the annual temperature surpassed the record set in 1997 by 0.12°C (0.22°F). Incidentally, 1997 and 1998 were the last years in which a similarly strong El Niño was occurring. The annual temperature anomalies for 1997 and 1998 were 0.51°C (0.92°F) and 0.63°C (1.13°F), respectively, above the 20th century average, both well below the 2015 temperature departure.
This marks the fourth time in the 21st century a new record high annual temperature has been set (along with 2005, 2010, and 2014) and also marks the 39th consecutive year (since 1977) that the annual temperature has been above the 20th century average. To date, including 2015, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred during the 21st century. 1998 is currently tied with 2009 as the sixth warmest year on record. Overall, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1970.
27 AUG 2015 - NASA's interdisciplinary Sea Level Change Team
Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches (25 centimeters) due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.
The question scientists are grappling with is how quickly will seas rise? "Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it's pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet [0.9 meter] of sea level rise, and probably more," said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team. "But we don't know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer."
Team scientists will discuss a new visualization based on 23 years of sea level data -- the entire record of available satellite data -- which reveals changes are anything but uniform around the globe. The record is based on data from three consecutive satellite missions; the first a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), launched in 1992. The fourth in the series will be Jason-3, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with participation by NASA, CNES and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). In 2013, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an assessment based on a consensus of international researchers that stated global sea levels would likely rise from 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 0.9 meter) by the end of the century. According to Nerem, new research available since this report suggests the higher end of that range is more likely, and the question remains how that range might shift upward. The data reveal the height of the sea surface is not rising uniformly everywhere. Regional differences in sea level rise are dominated by the effects of ocean currents and natural cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. But, as these natural cycles wax and wane, they can have major impacts on local coastlines. "Sea level along the west coast of the United States has actually fallen over the past 20 years because long-term natural cycles there are hiding the impact of global warming," said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "However, there are signs this pattern is changing. We can expect accelerated rates of sea level rise along this coast over the next decade as the region recovers from its temporary sea level 'deficit.'" Scientists estimate that about one-third of sea level rise is caused by expansion of warmer ocean water, one-third is due to ice loss from the massive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the remaining third results from melting mountain glaciers. But the fate of the polar ice sheets could change that ratio and produce more rapid increases in the coming decades. The Greenland ice sheet, covering 660,000 square miles (1.7 million square kilometers) -- nearly the area of Alaska -- shed an average of 303 gigatons of ice a year over the past decade, according to satellite measurements. The Antarctic ice sheet, covering 5.4 million square miles (14 million square kilometers) -- larger than the United States and India combined -- has lost an average of 118 gigatons a year. "We've seen from the paleoclimate record that sea level rise of as much as 10 feet [3 meters] in a century or two is possible, if the ice sheets fall apart rapidly," said Tom Wagner, the cryosphere program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We're seeing evidence that the ice sheets are waking up, but we need to understand them better before we can say we're in a new era of rapid ice loss." Although Antarctica's contribution to sea level rise currently is much smaller than that of Greenland, recent research indicates this could change in the upcoming century. In 2014, two West Antarctica studies focused on the acceleration of the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector showed its collapse is underway. East Antarctica's massive ice sheet remains the primary unknown in sea level rise projections. Though it appears to be stable, a recent study found under a major glacier two deep troughs that could draw warm ocean water to the base of the glacier, causing it to melt. "The prevailing view among specialists has been that East Antarctica is stable, but we don't really know," said glaciologist Eric Rignot of the University of California Irvine and JPL. "Some of the signs we see in the satellite data right now are red flags that these glaciers might not be as stable as we once thought. There's always a lot of attention on the changes we see now, but as scientists our priority needs to be on what the changes could be tomorrow." One of the keys to understanding future rates of ice loss is determining the role ocean currents and ocean temperatures play in melting the ice sheets from below their edges. A new, six-year NASA field campaign took to the waters around Greenland this summer to probe how warming ocean waters are triggering Greenland glacier degradation. The Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project is taking coastal ocean temperature measurements, observing glacial thinning at the ice's edge, and producing the first high-resolution maps of the seafloor, fjords and canyons in the continental shelf surrounding Greenland. NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.
FSM Information Services October 5, 2015 New York, October 1, 2015 President Peter Christian addressed the 70th United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly emphasizing the impacts of climate change and the need for cohesive action to save the low lying Pacific Islands, including the Federated States of Micronesia. "We must become more cohesive in our actions to bring a useful conclusion to help mitigate the threat of sinking islands and prevent the potential genocide of Oceanic peoples and cultures," he declared. He noted FSM's dedicated contribution to international efforts in saving the world through the Micronesia Challenge initiative and continued commitment to phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. Mr. Christian voiced hope that the upcoming international climate change conference in Paris in December, would resolve the disagreements over allowable emissions of greenhouse gasses by industrial nations. On the issue of peace and security, President Christian demanded the United Nations and the International Community to undertake all efforts to make this world a peaceful place for all. He noted that in the 20th century, FSM experienced decades of armed conflicts; conflicts in which FSM had no interest to take part in, but was brought to the Micronesian Islands by powerful countries seeking political expansion and influence. President Christian urged nations who once stood against each other in conflicts to stand together with FSM today, and to forgive, for a peaceful tomorrow. "Together let us promote friendship, partnership, and cooperation as our collective strength for the future." The President diverted the attention of the United Nations to common enemies facing the international community today. "We have enough common enemies today, enemies that have no respect for culture, boundaries, religion, or social status, climate change, sea level rise, poverty, hunger and famine, illiteracy and incurable diseases, genocide and human trafficking, economic imbalance and apathy. These are our challenges of today." The President concluded his statement by calling on the international community in the United Nations to divert its energy and anger for things past and focus on the common enemies of today. He urged all Nations to unite strongly and take actions to overcome these common issues in order to create a better world for all mankind today and tomorrow. The copy of the President's entire speech can be downloaded from: http://www.fsmpio.fm/Speeches/christian/unga_2015.htm
Written by Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Communities
13 July 2015, Pohnpei A crucial workshop to prepare three North Pacific nations for their participation in negotiations at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference opens in Pohnpei today, supported by the Government of Germany. Senior officials from Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) were updated on the current status of climate change negotiations and assisted to analyze the draft Paris treaty text and to prepare proposals for the 21st UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties in Paris (COP 21) by end of this year. Climate change is a real and serious threat to the livelihoods and sustainable development of Pacific people and the Pacific Islands will continue to call for a significant reduction in the rate of global greenhouse gas emissions to prevent further long term impacts. The workshop is hosted by the Government of FSM and jointly organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community(SPC), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The UNFCCC process for developing a protocol, another legally-binding instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention is complex and challenging for many small states. European countries, among them Germany, are standing side by side with Pacific Island governments to achieve a positive outcome at the climate change negotiations, the Programme Director and Senior Adviser for GIZ, Dr Wulf Killmann, said. "The stakes are high for Pacific nations so there's been anticipation in this intensive training for negotiators which complements ongoing financial and technical support to strengthen their resilience against the impacts of climate change," said Dr Killmann, the workshop's moderator. "It's important that the international community comes to an ambitious, comprehensive climate change agreement at COP 21 at the end of the year," he said. The financial and technical support of industrialized nations is essential for small island nations, which are among the most vulnerable to climate change, the Director of SPC's North Pacific Regional office, Gerald Zackios, said. "Importantly, the workshop has improved the participants' understanding of climate finance, including the Green Climate Fund and the concept of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions and the related preparation process in the North Pacific," Mr Zackios said. Around 30 participants were expected at the workshop which ran until Wednesday (15 July). It was made possible with funding from Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
By: Jorg Anson Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei - 10 OCT 2015 The need to implement effective management measures for Pohnpei's inshore fisheries continue to grow as recent results of biological and socioeconomic research findings become available in Pohnpei and throughout the Micronesia region. Despite implementation of new laws, and regulations such as fish size limits for ten species of reef fish, extended seasonal bans on groupers, gear-type restrictions, and a push for a moratorium on the bump-head parrotfish (Kemeik) and the Napoleon wrasse (Merer), Pohnpei's inshore fisheries continue to decline. Primary reasons for this appear to be poor enforcement and lack of awareness within our fishing communities. The need to find sustainable alternatives for fishing and sakau farming are also continuously being raised at the community level. Recent studies show continued decrease in fish sizes in the markets and the time it takes fishermen to catch these fish is growing, both signs of declining fisheries. Marine Protected Areas in Pohnpei that do not have community support continue to be overfished due to poor support from enforcement agencies. In addition, the slow but inevitable effects of climate change, this year's El Nińo, and poor land management practices are putting increasing pressure on our fisheries.
Australia's small island neighbours in the South Pacific face an enormous bill to protect their coastal buildings and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, one they are unlikely to afford. Research out of the University of New England has for the first time sought to determine the extent of coastal buildings at risk across 12 South Pacific island nations, including Vanuatu and Samoa, putting the cost of replacing those in harm's way at almost $24 billion. The study also found that more than half (57 per cent) of the buildings assessed across the 12 countries were within 500 metres of the coast, making them susceptible to damage under current climate conditions and to the more intense extreme weather, rising sea-levels and storm surges projected with further global warming.