John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
In the 136 years scientists have been tracking global temperatures, there has never been a warmer month than this July, according a new NASA report.
It was the 10th consecutive month of record warmth, making it likely that 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded — breaking records set the two previous years.
Climate specialists said the striking pattern is an unmistakable sign of manmade global warming and called for action to reduce greenhouse gases.
“Statistics, like all these breaking records, tell us that real change is already happening, and ultimately, it poses serious risks to us and our descendants,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT. “I wonder how many more records we have to break before we all realize how important it is to act.”
Two years ago, a report by the federal government called the National Climate Assessment found that the Northeast was already seeing the impact of climate change, from prolonged heat waves to torrential rains and increased flooding. The report attributed the impact to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity.
It found that over the past century, average temperatures in the Northeast have risen by 2 degrees, while the region’s precipitation has climbed by more than 10 percent. The worst storms now bring far more precipitation than before.
Reto A. Ruedy, a project manager at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies who oversaw the analysis of the recent findings, said warming is primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels and the rising amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“If we want to have a planet that looks similar to what we have now, one as habitable for humankind and animals as it has been for the past thousands of years, we better change our ways and stop building up CO2 concentration in the atmosphere,” he said.
This year has a 99 percent chance of being the warmest on record, said Gavin Schmidt, another climate scientist at the Goddard Institute.
Efforts to curb rising temperatures, including the historic agreement last year in Paris that requires carbon emission reductions, may help the planet avert worst-case scenarios.
But many effects of warming temperatures, such as rising sea levels, more powerful storms, and more species dying off, are already happening and will continue as the existing concentrations of carbon remain in the atmosphere, scientists say.
NASA’s report found that July was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the global average from 1950 to 1980, and about .18 degrees warmer than the previous records, set in July 2011 and July 2015.
July’s record temperatures were also the result of a lingering El Niño, a natural warming of portions of the Pacific Ocean that can change weather patterns elsewhere on the planet.
Scientists say the record temperatures should serve as a clarion call for the public to recognize climate change and elect leaders to address it.
“If you don’t accept the science, you can’t come up with a plan about how to address the problem,” said Raymond S. Bradley, head of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts.
In Boston, the consequences of climate change could be calamitous. A report released by the city this year found that sea levels could rise more than 10 feet by the end of the century, plunging about 30 percent of Boston under water. If high levels of greenhouse gases continue to be released into the atmosphere, the seas could rise as much as 37 feet by 2200.
Richard Primack, a biology professor at Boston University, said climate change has altered everything from where and when flowers and plants grow to how birds migrate and when insects are born.
“There are huge consequences for us as the climate changes,” he said. “Even if it gets just a little warmer and dryer in some places, agricultural systems around the world could collapse.”
The Patriots owner is accused of soliciting prostitution as part of an investigation of human trafficking at multiple day spas in Florida. A spokesperson for Kraft said: “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.”Continue reading »
Robert Kraft is just one of potentially hundreds of people connected to what authorities say was an international operation.Continue reading »
Lately the Maine senator is inspiring the kind of liberal animus typically directed at people named Trump.Continue reading »
All her life, she’d wanted nothing more than to be a professional pianist. Then the massive concrete facade of a building in Allston fell on her.Continue reading »
A number of Democratic strategists say that the president’s racist taunts could have the ironic outcome of helping defuse any doubts the lingering controversy has sowed.Continue reading »
As a Brandeis professor, Bernadette Brooten has studied the long, intertwined history of sex and slavery. One of the names on her endowed chair? Kraft.Continue reading »
The officers were dismissed from the department and later reinstated, to six-figure settlements that included back pay, according to data released Friday.Continue reading »
Keith Ablow is facing lawsuits from three female patients who say he lured them into degrading sexual relationships.Continue reading »
The man killed early Friday by a Boston officer shot at police first before driving a quarter-mile away and crashing his vehicle, officials said. A wounded officer suffered what appear to be non-life-threatening injuries.Continue reading »