Second warmest August on record and warmest June-July-August for the oceans — despite deepest solar minimum in nearly a century

NOAA reported the blockbuster news today:

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880.

NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was second warmest on record, behind 1998.

This is almost certainly the new El Ni±o on top of the long-term warming trend (see NOAA says “El Ni±o arrives; Expected to Persist through Winter 2009-10″³ “” and that means record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record).

Pretty impressive given that we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,” according to NASA.  Go figure (see “Another long-debunked denier talking point is debunked again: Changes in the Sun are not causing global warming“).

As the AP noted about the July, which also had record ocean temps:

Breaking heat records in water is more ominous as a sign of global warming than breaking temperature marks on land, because water takes longer to heat up and does not cool off as easily as land.

“This warm water we’re seeing doesn’t just disappear next year; it’ll be around for a long time,” said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia. It takes five times more energy to warm water than land.

The warmer water “affects weather on the land,” Prof. Weaver said. “This is another yet really important indicator of the change that’s occurring.”

As revealed by the NOAA video above (via Andy Revkin),  it is getting hot pretty much everywhere, except of course over the continental United States, a small fraction of the world’s overall landmass inhabited by a large fraction of the world’s deniers, delayers, and disinformers who continue to trumpet the supposedly “cool” weather of the United States as part of their overall planetary cooling nonsense.  And that’s too bad because we need all the unmuffled warnings we can get given that humans are not like slowly boiling frogs, we are like slowly boiling brainless frogs.

Once again, the geographical distribution of the warming continues to be bad news for those worried about the permafrost permamelt, since temps even in the summer ran upwards of 3°C (5.4°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 norm over much of Siberia, as National Climatic Data Center’s figure shows:

This is worrisome because:

Also, the warming over Greenland will no doubt further accelerate the summer melt season there.

If the El Ni±o does strengthen and last into next spring, then 2009 may well see the hottest ocean temperatures on record — and 2010 may well be the hottest year on record.

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12 Responses to Second warmest August on record and warmest June-July-August for the oceans — despite deepest solar minimum in nearly a century

  1. Andy says:

    I really think stating the beginning of the record in the title of such announcements is verying confusing. “The Warmest Since 1880” makes it sound like it was warmer prior to 1880 versus simply the beginning of record keeping. I see this sort of thing used a lot and it still initially trips my mind up. Much better to say “Warmest on Record”.

  2. Andy says:

    Or maybe that’s just the NY Times or Mr. Revkin’s subtle bias. I think he once stated that reporters have little control over article titles.

  3. David B. Benson says:

    Andy (2) — The tradition in producing newspapers is that the title is made up and inserted during layout, has to fit. So reporters have no control over the titles in printed newspapers.

  4. paulm says:

    Time lapse tour of our icy world 2005 – 2009….

    NASA | A Tour of the Cryosphere 2009

  5. Richard L says:

    Nuclear power is often touted as a low carbon emission fuel. But I imagine all the water used for cooling would to warm our dear planet straight away – and straight to the ocean/water body. Has anyone seen a report quantifying the heat emitted from nuclear vs. the power generated? I am against nuclear for several reasons, but this would add even further argument.

  6. Dano says:

    Remember: the denial industry told it’s people, who then wrote mendacious columns that 7-10% of the population needed to believe, predicted that there’d be th’ globul coolin because the sun activity was so low.

    Someone should extract some of the louder commenters from the recent past and highlight them.

    Jus’ sayin’.



  7. Mike#22 says:

    (Glenn Beck for example?)

    “Of course, if we do that, then we’re going to have to take away the Al Gore peace prize because, you know, it’s — well, unless you can convince us that global cooling is what he was talking about when he was talking about climate change.

    Did you see, by the way? Also on vacation I noticed a little story that this is the year with the least activity of sun spots. Isn’t that weird? It’s kind of like what the best astrophysicists on planet Earth have been saying for the last 10, 20 years: “Hey, by the way, this global warming thing, look at the sun. It has everything to do with the sun.”

  8. dhogaza says:

    “Or maybe that’s just the NY Times or Mr. Revkin’s subtle bias. I think he once stated that reporters have little control over article titles.”

    Headlines are written by copyeditors, not reporters. And the headlines may change between editions (for those newspapers still healthy enough to publish multiple editions).

  9. Mike D says:

    Strange that we are hotter now at solar minimum than we were in 2000-01 at solar maximum, eh Mr. Beck?

  10. From Peru says:

    This August was globally very warm, specially in the oceans, and the warming pattern is very unusual:

    El Niño is partly to blame, but it is still a weak Niño. The greatest SST anomalies are not in the East Pacific, instead, they are:

    Artic Ocean: in some open-water areas, the anomalies are between 3ºC and 5ºCº(the greatest is over Kara Sea), this are the greatest anomalies in the map.

    Atlantic Ocean: the area beween Iceland and Baltic Sea (notably, weak warm anomalies in tropical pacific, then a weak hurricane season, note that Bill sucked a lot of heat , leaving a trail of cool water behind). There is also a cool zone in Central Noth Atlantic (one of the few in the world), any idea what is doing a cool zone so near a warm one?

    Pacific Ocean: Of couse, the ENSO area, but also the North East Pacific.

    Indian Ocean: near neutral

    Sothern Ocean: here are cool waters.

    In land, Australia (usually cool in El Niño years) is the warmest area , over 6ºC anomausly warm!

    There is something else other than El Niño causing widespread warm anomalies. It seems more that the dissapareance of La Niña unmasked these warming rather than that El Niño caused the warmth.

    What do you think?

    [JR: Global warming!]

  11. tallbloke says:

    “Artic Ocean: in some open-water areas, the anomalies are between 3ºC and 5ºCº(the greatest is over Kara Sea), this are the greatest anomalies in the map.”

    Derived from the smallest number of observations too.

    Ice extent seems not too bad though, so I wonder how accurate the extrapolations of Arctic sea temps really are…

    No sign of the “imminent death spiral of Arctic ice” here Mr Serreze.

    [JR: Huh? “Not too bad”? — the rate of ice loss is faster than every climate model had predicted — and again you seem to be stuck in two-dimensional thinking. We have lost a staggering amount of volume in the past few years.

    And you would seem to have made up a false quote and attributed it to Serreze. He said last year “No matter where we stand at the end of the melt season it’s just reinforcing this notion that Arctic ice is in its death spiral.” He further elaborated on that in an interview with me and predicted the Arctic would be essentially ice free by 2030.]

  12. From Peru says:

    JR: It is the obvious answer.

    But I was asking what factors contributed to the pattern of warming (hot Australia, North Atlantic and North Pacific) observed. In North Pacific, I guess is a switch to positive PDO conditions, but elsewhere?


    First: I prefer area sea ice area data than extent data . Extent is equal to ice area + ocean area in a region over a certain concentration (15% for NSIDC), so it overestimates the area covered by ice. This (true)data can be seen in the graphs of Cryosphere Today website.

    In early 1980s the area was around 5,5 million km2 , now it is around 3-4 million km2 (3 million in 2008 and 2007 ; 3,5 million km2 in 2009): 36% to 46 % loss.

    Now the 3rd dimension. September sea ice thickness in the 1980s was around 2.2 m., now is under 1m: 55% loss.

    Considering both, total loss of September sea ice VOLUME: 70% – 75 % loss.

    The numbers are really breathtaking , or not?