Are You 28 Yet? No? Then You Have Never Seen a Cooler-Than-Average Month

NOAA/Public Domain

Blogging about climate change, or anything, can get repetitive fast. The reports come out and the news is tweaked, maybe, but familiar—the Arctic is still melting, average global temperatures are still rising, the oceans are still acidifying. This was the warmest month record ever recorded. No, this one was. No this. This.

So it's a pleasant surprise when someone comes out the gate with a new framing mechanism for the typically grim global warming news; Bill McKibben has a knack for this, which probably explains why he's at the forefront of the green movement. But today belongs to Philip Bump, with this nugget of a headline:

If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month. He explains why, considering the latest NOAA climate data:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarizes October 2012:

"The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature."

Emphasis added. If you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average. That’s beyond astonishing.

It is. It means I'm too young to remember a single month where global temperatures were colder than average. Chew on that for a while, all ye young blog-readers out there. And well-played, Mr. Bump, well-played. Read the rest of his analysis at Grist.

Editor's note: The title of this post originally said 'Warmer-Than-Average,' which would mean very different things for the climate, and isn't true, so we fixed it. We regret the error.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects