By Jeff Masters
November 2016 was Earth's fifth warmest November since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information on Monday.
November 2016 was 0.7 C (1.31 F) warmer than the 20th-century November average, but 0.23 C (0.41 F) cooler than the record warmth of 2015. NASA reported that November 2016 was the second warmest November in its database, behind November 2015. The difference between the two data sets is, in large part, due to how they handle the data-sparse areas in the Arctic, which was record warm in November. NOAA does not include most of the Arctic in their global analysis, while NASA does.
Figure 1NOAA / National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average by region for November 2016, the fifth warmest November for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. Record warmth was observed across parts of central and southeastern Canada, some areas across the far northern tier of the U.S. along with a portion of the southwest U.S., parts of western and southern Mexico, sections of eastern and west central Africa, a few parts of northern South America, and regions of some southeastern Asia island nations. Cooler-than-average conditions were observed across much of the central Eurasian continent, with monthly temperatures at least 5 C (9 F) below average in central Russia and parts of northeastern Asia. In South America, central Bolivia experienced record cold temperatures during November.
A weak La Niña event is now underway in the Eastern Pacific and the cool waters present there have helped cool the planet slightly below the record warm levels observed during the strong El Niño event that ended in May 2016. The fact that November 2016 was still the 2nd to 5th warmest November on record despite the presence of La Niña can mostly be attributed to the steady build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases due to human activities.
NOAA's global surface temperature for the year so far (January-November 2016) is an impressive 0.94 C (1.69 F) above the 20th-century average and 0.07 C (0.13 F) warmer than the previous January-to-November record, set in 2015. Remarkably, no continental land areas were cooler than average for the year-to-date. It is almost certain that 2016 will end up as the warmest year on record for the planet, giving Earth three consecutive warmest years on record.
Ocean-Only, Land-Only, and Lower Atmosphere Temperatures in November
Ocean-only temperatures this November were the second warmest on record, while land-only temperatures were the 12th warmest on record. (Since most of Earth's surface is covered by ocean, the land-plus-ocean reading is dominated by the ocean-only temperatures, thus keeping November 2016 so warm globally). For the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere, global satellite-measured temperatures in November 2016 and for the January-November year-to-date period were the warmest in the 38-year record, according to the University of Alabama in Huntsville. For the stratosphere, the year-to-date temperatures were the coldest on record. Stratospheric cooling is a classic symptom of an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—the upper atmosphere must cool to compensate for warming near the surface.
Figure 2NOAA / National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Departure from the 20th-century average for the global January-through-November temperature for the years 1880 - 2016. This year has seen by far the warmest temperatures on record for the year-to-date period.
Arctic Sea Ice Hits Its Lowest November Extent on Record
November 2016 Arctic sea ice extent was the lowest in the 38-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The record low was due to unusually high air temperatures, winds from the south and a warm ocean. For a brief period in the middle the month, total extent actually decreased by 50,000 square kilometers (9,300 square miles.) The only other November retreat of Arctic sea ice in the 38-year satellite record was a less pronounced and brief retreat of 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) that occurred in 2013. Seven of the eleven months of 2016 have seen record-low Arctic sea ice and the annual sea ice minimum in September was the second lowest on record.
North Pole an Insane 36 Degrees Warmer Than Normal as Region Hits Record Low Sea Ice Extent https://t.co/iERIRlNWJN @CarbonBrief— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479552609.0
Sea ice around Antarctic was also extraordinarily low in November—more than 1 million sq km below the previous monthly record, from 1986. The monthly value was 5.7 standard deviations below the long-term average, a mammoth departure and more than twice as large as the previous record. Sea-ice formation processes are largely decoupled between the Arctic and Antarctic, so there is no obvious direct link between the record-low values at the two poles in November.
Figure 3. Daily mean temperatures by Julian day through Dec. 18 over the Arctic north of 80 N, as compiled by the Danish Meteorological Institute. Temperatures for this year (red line) are compared to the long-term averages (green line.) Temperatures in October, November and the first half of December were 5 - 20 C (8 - 36 F) above average. This is by far the warmest multi-month anomaly measured since Danish Meteorological Institute began tracking Arctic temperatures in 1956. According to the 2016 Arctic Report Card, issued last week, the average surface air temperature of the Arctic for the year ending September 2016 was by far the highest since 1900, and new monthly record highs were recorded in January, February, October and November 2016.
No Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters in November 2016
According to the November 2016 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield, no billion-dollar weather-related disasters hit the planet in November. However, one event from October—Super Typhoon Chaba in South Korea and Japan—accumulated enough damage claims to be rated a billion-dollar disaster by the end of November. From January through November 2016, there were 30 billion-dollar weather disasters globally. This is the fourth greatest number of such disasters in any year since 1990. Only 2013 (41), 2010 (40) and 2011 (35) had more. For the U.S., Aon Benfield counted thirteen billion-dollar weather disasters during January - November 2016, which is the second highest number of such disasters on record since 1980 (the record: sixteen in 2011).
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- The Immune System's Fight Against the Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Moderna Announces Promising Coronavirus Vaccine Trials ... ›
- Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise in Mice - EcoWatch ›
- 29 Wildfires Blaze Across the West, Fueled by Drought and Wind ... ›
- Large Wildfires Scorch Forests in Drought-Stricken Southwest ... ›
Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images
Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.
- Trump Plans to End Federal Funding for COVID-19 Testing Sites ... ›
- 'Unfathomable Cruelty': Trump Admin Asks Supreme Court to ... ›
On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.
- Extreme Heat-Stressed Locations Could Increase by 80% - EcoWatch ›
- African Americans Are Disproportionately Exposed to Extreme Heat ... ›
- Extreme Heat Is Killing Americans While Government Neglect ... ›
Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.
- Plunging Oil Prices Trigger Economic Downturn in Fracking Boom ... ›
- Fracking Boom Bursts in Face of Low Oil Prices - EcoWatch ›
- As Fracking Companies Face Bankruptcy, U.S. Regulators Enable ... ›
A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.
- Under Trump, EPA Workers Seek Bill of Rights to Allow Them to ... ›
- Trump Adds 'Tasteless Insult to Injury' by Pushing Fossil Fuel ... ›
By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
- Trump Admin Rejects CDC Reopening Guidelines - EcoWatch ›
- How Do You Stay Safe Now That States Are Reopening? - EcoWatch ›
- Florida Breaks U.S. Daily Record With Over 15,000 New ... ›