Another reason is the fact that as the average annual temperatures have risen over an extended period, we have gradually become accustomed to the new normal.
While most of this year in the U.S. has been cooler than recent years, NASA found it necessary to add a new color to its global map, taking into account the anomalous temperatures in the western Antarctic which were between 4 and 8 degrees centigrade above the old normal.
The year so far is the fourth warmest on record, although it would have been much warmer had the expected El Nino developed. Years with an El Nino see faster increases in temperatures and August would have been even hotter had there been one.
El Nino is not imminent, but there are indications that one may form soon. The phenomenon begins with rising temperatures in the equatorial regions of the Pacific, and temperatures there have risen while the wind patterns in the region are becoming favorable for the conditions necessary. If it does form, we can expect even higher temperatures.
Dr. John Abraham, Professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas explained the El Nino, El Nina cycles:
“El Nino and La Nina cycles are driven by winds above the ocean waters in the Pacific. When winds are strong and blow from East to West, a La Nina is likely to occur. When these winds weaken in strength and change direction, an El Nino can form. Daily wind patterns are freely available from the TAO/TRITON system. They show that these winds may be beginning to favor an El Nino again — just like earlier this year. We will have to wait to see how things progress over the next few weeks but if I were a betting man, I would put my money on an El Nino formation soon.”
h/t: Think Progress