Op-ed

2015: Hottest Year Ever Recorded


November 27, 2016

After the long winter last year, it is hard to believe that 2015 was recorded as the hottest year in history. Ten out of the twelve months in 2015 qualified as the warmest months ever seen. According to the National Center for Environmental Information, December 2015 was actually the hottest month ever recorded. The average temperature was deemed 1.11°C higher than any past monthly average.

         Scientists published that this heat inflation was caused by El Niño, a natural phenomenon that occurs across the Pacific Ocean every two to three years. During the El Niño season, the waters warm, causing the water to become nutrient poor. The intensity of El Niño led scientists to conclude that there must have been a connection between the rising temperatures and El Niño. Their speculations were confirmed when researchers discovered that greenhouse gases coming from human emissions helped to ferment the El Nino.

         With increasing amount of human gas emissions, more water vapor was collected by the warm atmosphere and created large rainstorms. In the United States alone, every state along the East of the Mississippi River received large amounts of rainfall along with the hot weather.

         The warm ocean water also added to the growing list of causes that led to the spike in temperatures in 2015. Both the atmosphere above and under the ocean shows a huge long term warming trend. The heat had and continues to have detrimental effects on the environment and the people. 2015 was also the year that recorded eight of the world’s highest heat waves since 1997. Temperatures reached as high as 188 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to many deaths. In India, the heat waves killed over 2500 people. Severe droughts also traveled across the globe due to the major temperature rise. In Indonesia, there were reports of intense forest fire and dry weather. In Africa, hunger strikes swept several countries. Furthermore, Coral reefs around the world are suddenly disappearing or losing colors due to the heat and El Niño.

         El Niño is not getting any better as scientists predict that once again this year (2016) might top 2015 as being the hottest year. El Niño seems to be increasing and adding more to the disastrous occurrences around the world.