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After 2014 was declared the warmest year on record, a Climate Central analysis showed that 13 of the 15 warmest years in the books have occurred since 2000 and that the odds of that happening randomly without the boost of global warming was 1 in 27 million.
Even during recent years when a La Niña (the cold water counterpart to El Niño) has been in place, the year turned out warmer than El Niño years of earlier decades.
Global carbon dioxide levels have risen from a preindustrial level of about 280 parts per million to nearly 400 ppm today. In recent years, CO2 levels—the primary greenhouse gas—have spent longer and longer above the 400 ppm benchmark. They stayed above this point for about six months this year, twice the three months of last year. It is expected that within a few years, they will be permanently above 400 ppm.
The continued rise of CO2 levels will raise the planet’s temperature by another 3°F to 9°F by the end of this century depending on when and if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, scientists have calculated.
The year 2015 has been among the most devastating on record for wildfires in the United States, with more than 9 million acres burned so far this year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The NIFC has been tracking wildfires since 1960. While the number of wildfires has actually gone down, the number of acres destroyed has been rising, which experts attribute to hotter, drier conditions that make the blazes harder to contain.
With the passing of Halloween, millions of pounds of pumpkins have turned from seasonal decorations to trash destined for landfills, adding to more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.
At landfills, MSW decomposes and eventually turns into methane—a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide (CO2).