Nov 20, 2018

The Earth has been warmer than average for 406 months in a row

Global average surface temperature anomalies in October 2018 compared to 1951–1980 average. Bright red colors depict 8.4°C above average, whereas purple shows 4.1°C below average. Image: NASA GISS.

Earth just had its second-warmest October on record, according to NOAA data released Tuesday. NASA reported the same finding last week.

The big picture: The finding extends the planet's hot streak to 406 straight months with temperatures above the 20th century average. Meanwhile, the last colder-than-average month occurred in February 1985. This means that no one under the age of 32 has ever experienced a cooler-than-average month on this planet.

Why it matters: While monthly rankings are often determined by a fraction of a degree, it's the long-term trends that climate scientists pay more attention to when assessing our changing climate.

By the numbers: According to NOAA, October 2018 came in just behind October 2015 in terms of the global average surface temperature anomalies. Notably, the report found:

  • The 10 warmest October global land and ocean surface temperatures have all occurred after 2003.
  • The last five years (2014–2018) have been the five warmest Octobers on record.
  • Record warm temperatures during the month were seen across parts of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, Alaska, the Bering and Barents seas, central and eastern Russia, northern Australia, and central Africa.
  • Not a single land or ocean region had a record cold October.
  • Central and eastern Russia as well as Alaska saw average monthly temperatures that exceeded 5.0°C, or 9.0°F, above average, which is an unusually high departure from the norm.
  • Cooler regions were seen across Canada, parts of the Lower 48 states and in central China.
  • Global ocean temperatures were also at the second-highest levels on record for October, which in part reflects a gathering El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The bottom line: It's likely that 2018 will be among the top-five warmest years on record, given its year-to-date ranking as the fourth warmest on record. The five warmest January–October periods on Earth have come in the past five years, NOAA reported.

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Trump's new purge

Michael Atkinson, arrives in October for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government.

What they're saying: Conservative allies of the president have told him that these IGs are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in one day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

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