2016 Just Saw The Hottest January Ever


Another month, another record: January 2016 was officially the hottest start to any year since 1880, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s records begin.

According to the American agency, the first month of 2016 also posted the second hottest globally averaged temperature of any month, ever. The top gong remains with December 2015, which rounded off the hottest year since records began 137 years ago.

It’s hardly surprising that 2016 has got off to a scorching start: Of the 16 warmest years since 1880, 15 have occurred since the turn of the millennium.

Why 16? Because there’s been a few ties in the top 15, and one of them happens to be 1998. Here’s a graph, to put things in perspective:


If you’re part of the the 46.5 per cent of Australians who believe climate change is not happening, or that humans aren’t the cause, it’s worth looking at this other graph, from NASA.

It shows the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at various time throughout the last 650,000 years:


You’ll notice that it’s only in the last 65-or-so years that carbon dioxide levels have reached above 300 parts per million, and that they’re now up around 400 parts per million.

In other words, human activity has pushed carbon dioxide levels to a point 25 per cent higher than they’ve been in the last 650,000 years, in 0.0001 per cent of that time.

Lucky we don’t need those 110 CSIRO climate researchers anymore, hey?


Thom Mitchell is New Matilda's Environment Reporter.