Climate Catastrophe: Graphs and Commentary

Short Version: click here for full essay

Ongoing essay: updated regularly, last updated November 17, 2021

Climate data from NOAA (version V) unless otherwise stated.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a climate scientist!

Some October 2021 Highlights

1. October 2021 was the fourth warmest October on record with an anomaly of 0.89°C warmer than the 20th Century average. October 2021 was 0.03°C behind third place 2018. 2015 and 2019 were the two warmest Octobers on record.

2. The last seven 12-month periods ending in October (2015-2021) were the seven warmest on record. Seventh place October 2018 was 0.08°C. warmer than eighth place October 2014.

3. The average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in October 2021 increased by 2.42 ppm over October 2020 as measured at the Mauna Loa site. The 12 month running average (November 2020 through October 2021) was 416.08 ppm. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to increase in the neighborhood of 0.2 ppm per month in spite of the much-touted pandemic-induced decrease in industrial activity.

4. The El Niño / La Niña (ONI) index decreased to -0.7 for the three month period, August, 2021 though October, 2021, signaling a return to La Niña conditions that existed from August 2020 through May 2021.

La Niña conditions (index of -0.5 or lower) tend to bring cooler global temperatures, while El Niño conditions (index of 0.5 or higher) tend to bring warmer temperatures.

5. Over 90% of the western United States as well as other parts of North America remain in drought.

6. According to a Washington Post exposť, many governments cheat in reporting their greenhouse emissions. 8.5 to 13.3 billion tons of emissions worldwide go unreported each year.

7. China and India both continued to experience severe flooding in October.

8. An atmospheric river dumped 7.6 trillion gallons of rain on California in late October causing mud and rock slides, particularly in areas denuded of vegetation by recent fires. Yet, 100% of California was still in drought (over 80% in extreme to exceptional drought) as of the end of October.

Some Recent Temperature Graphs and Tables

Monthly temperature anomalies: 2008-present

How to read this graph:
This graph compares each month separately to the 20th Century average (for months of that same name only) and ranks them separately. In other words: The month of March is compared only to other Marches. The month of September is compared only to other Septembers.

For example: The warmest March, June and October are all colored red. The second warmest January, April and December are all colored orange. The February colored light blue (2013) is between the 11th and 15th warmest Februaries inclusive and is 0.66° C. warmer than the average of all Februaries in the 20th Century. The December colored yellow (2018) is the third warmest December and is 0.88° C. warmer than the average of all Decembers in the 20th Century. Etc.

When there is a tie, the tying months are all given the highest rank. For example, Septembers: 2016, 2019 and 2020 are all colored orange (second warmest). No September is colored yellow (third warmest) or light green (fourth warmest).

Table of warmest 12-month periods

A 52+ year temperature graph: 12 month overlapping anomalies

52+ years of CO in atmosphere: 12 month overlapping averages

A 142+ year temperature graph: 36 month overlapping anomalies