Climate Alive!

2019: Second Warmest on Record



Hi, I'm Tom Di Liberto, a climate scientist at NOAA's Climate program office. So let's start off with a joke, knock knock! Was it too boring? Of course it's boring Tom it's a knock-knock joke, knock-knock jokes are boring by definition! Can we start over please?

Great. Hi, I'm Tom, let's talk climate because seriously 2019 has been one hot year. Ya. The second warmest on record and the 43rd consecutive year that temperatures were above last century's average. That's crazy!

The last time yearly temperatures were cooler than average a Star is Born starring Barbra Streisand and not Lady Gaga was in the theaters. The last six years were also the six warmest years since the 1880s. Yeah that long ago! This trend is completely consistent with what we would expect in a warming world. We've got some serious reports of bleaching this year and no we're not referring to your frosted tips back in 1999..."Bye bye bye…"

Coral bleaching is what happens to coral when the water temperature around the reefs stays too hot for too long and bad things happen. This trend has taken a global turn with bleaching showing up in places like Hawaii and the Caribbean over the last year, and Indonesia the South Pacific and along the Great Barrier Reef in years past. And just like the reaction from your true friends, this bleaching has raised some real concerns. But seriously as the reefs go so do the fish. So that means less food for people who rely on fish for protein and for the commercial fishers who count on the reefs abundance for their livelihood.

Coral reefs also form barriers to protect the shoreline from waves and storms. These same coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, which also suffer from major bleaching recently, provide a way of life for those involved in the tourism industry. Creating jobs and pumping millions into the local economy.

The bleaching in Australia along with the recent unprecedented fires make for several climate change-related extremes to hit the country in short succession. This is all part of a larger pattern of more frequent and longer-lasting marine heat waves and we're starting to wonder if we truly have enough box fans to cool all the fish in the sea.

Until next time stay cool and don't forget to check out the ocean today coral comeback collection to see how we are helping coral fight back against this rising tide of heat. Oh that reminds me of a joke, knock knock...