What if there was no global warming?

Climate Central's Stripe Badge showing increasing global temperatures since 1850

I pick the brains of Climate Central a lot in this blog and want to introduce a new tool they debuted yesterday! The Climate Shift Index (CSI, but not the TV show!) is designed to illustrate the influence of human-induced global warming in today’s real-time environment....the shift we’ve seen in temperatures. How much of these sweltering temperatures we’re experiencing right now can be directly contributed to our own global warming? You can see the graphic below illustrates the idea of today’s world versus what we’d have without the increased warming:

courtesy Climate Central

Here’s how it works and I’ll use yesterday’s high temperatures (Bush/IAH topped out at 98°--normal is 93°):

courtesy Climate Central

You can see across our part of Texas we were running in the 90-100° range. These numbers were 5-10° above normal (the temperature anomaly):

How much above normal are our highs?

Climate Central uses their Climate Shift Index to categorize what role climate change plays in producing these above-normal temperatures and, on their CSI scale, we were a three:

You can see this is a +3 on a scale of 1-5.

Looking at the CSI chart below explains just what that three means:

A 3 is a Very Strong CSI Level

Simply put, Climate Change made yesterday’s high temperature extremes three times more likely than had we NOT had so much climate change over the years. According to Climate Central the Climate Shift Index (CSI) levels indicate how much climate change has altered the frequency of daily temperatures at a particular location.

The scale works both ways in terms of climate change inducing higher temperatures and, in some cases, lower temperatures and you can go to the CSI page to choose whatever parameters you like -- high or low temperatures and for what day. And this is in real time, so the beauty of it is that this isn’t a chart showing what changes have happened or might happen in the future, this index shows us daily what is happening to our planet.

You can choose your own parameters

You can explore this new tool right here.

The real reason behind all this heat?

My candles! Birthdays are like opinions -- everyone has one but the most important is your own! Today is mine and there are a lot of candles on that cake. I see on social media where people having birthdays ask for a donation to their favorite charity. Here’s what you can give me for my birthday today: do something GREEN for Mother Earth. Recycle that extra can, bike or walk or carpool, conserve our water a bit, ditch the plastic straw. Here are some other ideas on going green we posted on Click2Houston.

Thanks to CBRE property management for the CRAVE cupcakes!

Have a safe, cool, green cupcake of a day!


About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.