Climate

NASA reports hottest June to October on record*

Fast on the heels of the hottest June to September on record*, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that last month was tied for the second hottest October on record (after 2005).

Unlike NOAA, which announced its October global analysis with a major “State of the Climate” monthly update, NASA just quietly updates its data set (here).  So you have to do a little math to see that for the June through October period, 2009 now tops both 1998 (easily) and 2005 (just barely, hence the asterisk).

For NOAA, it was the sixth warmest October on record, and the fifth-warmest January-through-October period:

NCDC 10-09

Yes, the one place in the world where it warmed the least is, of course, the good old (continental) U.S. of A. — though it was the wettest October on record for the lower-48 (see WWF’s U.S. Sees Wettest October on Record; Arkansas Records are Washed Away).

That’s the continental United States, of course.  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 5°C (9°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 norm over much of Siberia and parts of Alaska and Canada.  Siberia contains probably the world’s largest amount of carbon locked away in the permafrost (see here).

As for the NASA data showing its been the hottest June to October on record, I’m not cherry-picking these last four months, but rather ENSO-picking them.  The reason 1998 was so anomalously warm even beyond the human-caused trend was the uber-El Ni±o.  Back in January, NASA had predicted:  “Given our expectation of the next El Ni±o beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.”

Then, back in early June NOAA put out “El Ni±o Watch,” which I noted meant that “record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record.”  So here we are.

What makes these record temps especially impressive is that we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,” according to NASA.  It’s just hard to stop the march of anthropogenic global warming, well, other than by reducing GHG emissions, that is.

Finally, NOAA again reports on the temperature trend from the lower troposphere (“the lowest 8 km (5 miles) of the atmosphere”) “” the satellite data that began in 1979 analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).  NOAA reports that the lower troposphere warming trend for October is

  • +0.14°C/decade (UAH)
  • +0.16°C/decade (RSS)

So yes, the satellite data also shows that the lower atmosphere is warming, contrary to what you may have heard.  As the AP reported last month:

“The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.”

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

h/t Nick Sundt

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26 Responses to NASA reports hottest June to October on record*

  1. Leif says:

    Given the GOP’s myopic vision, if it ain’t happening here, it ain’t happening anywhere.

  2. ken levenson says:

    Possible Andy Revkin/NYTimes headlines:

    Continental United States Cooling Toward New Ice Age?
    subheading: Some say yes, Some say no.

    or

    Continental U.S. Cooling Causes Public to Question Climate Crisis.
    subheading: Don’t blame us – we’re just the media!

    or

    Onion/NY Post/NY Times:

    Whew! We’re Cooling – Let The Rest Bake.

    snark! :)

  3. mike roddy says:

    I’m familiar with Katey Walter’s work and with the link you cited from the University of Alaska about permafrost melting. These papers are a couple of years old, predating the increased methane releases since then. Are you aware of current data that could better quantify arctic methane releases?

    When I tried to bring this up on a mainstream blog, the leader basically responded by saying the science isn’t settled. Sure the numbers are not going to be precise, but what have we learned in the last couple of years?

  4. Alan says:

    When Inhofe and his “Truthiness Squad” (comprised of himself and his trusty sidekick, Sancho Panza) travel to Copenhagen, he will no doubt utter one of his usual snarky comments about how chilly it’s been. I hope someone responds by displaying a large version of that Temperature Anomalies chart.

  5. WAG says:

    Meanwhile Anthony Watts is still trumpeting the “3rd coldest October on record” in the US. I guess this is proof #10,582 why TV weathermen who focus on local weather can’t be trusted on global climates.

    [JR: So NOW he believes the U.S. temperature record!]

    Of course, Nature’s cruel irony here is that the only place on the planet that is “cooling” is the country whose leadership we most need to stop it from warming.

    http://akwag.blogspot.com/2009/11/cold-october-can-you-spot-global.html

  6. Dean says:

    I wonder if there is some identified process that is moderating the heating trend in the continental US, or is it just anti-karma.

    On the other hand, I could just notice that the part of the US I live i (PNW) had one of the hottest summers on record, and that the rest of the world must be the same . . .

  7. Paolo Morelli says:

    Temperature anomaly for the last five months has been respectevely .64 .63 .53 .66 .66 (June to October).
    A mean anomaly of .61 is required for the two remaining months to make 2009 the 2° warmest year on GISS record. This is definitely possible.
    NASA prediction seems pretty accurate…

  8. Tamara says:

    Hi mike roddy,

    Yu may want to try RealClimate for technical analysis of methane release. There is a recent, lengthy post on the subject that may help you, and if not, you can post your question to the climatologists there.

    Tamara

  9. Paul Tonita says:

    Typo,
    * +0.14°C/decade (UAH)
    * +0.16°C/decade (UAH

    Is the 0.16°C a decade for RSS?

    [JR: Fixed!]

  10. MarkB says:

    I disagree with WAG (#5). Let’s not group all TV weather broadcasters with Watts. Many of them don’t have the same extreme political motivation that others have. Some of them actually have science degrees. Many are more humble (in contrast, Watts compared himself to Galileo recently) and, not being climate scientists, recognize their limitations on the subject.

  11. Greg says:

    Meanwhile the oceans are turning into the water equivalent of raccoon infested landfills:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/features/science/20091115_ap_jellyfishswarmnorthwardinwarmingworld.html

  12. mike roddy says:

    Thanks, Tamara. RC ran a post about methane very recently, but they didn’t cite Walter’s work, and were cautious about permafrost melting and methane release timescales. Gavin didn’t answer my query, but I’m new there, and he’s pretty busy.

  13. Brewster says:

    Has anyone thought to ask Watts why, if all those weather stations are sited in warm locations, the US is recording the coldest temps on the planet?

    (Sorry, I’d do it myself but the site does bad things to my blood pressure.)

  14. Lauren says:

    Kind of unfortunate that this trend wasn’t experienced in the US and most of Europe. Maybe a few more 100-degree days in Washington, DC and London this summer could have helped scare leader and motivate toward stronger action at Copenhagen. Not saying it’s rational, but I think things like that really do shape perception.

  15. raleigh Latham says:

    If you look back at 1937, during the middle of the dust bowl, the only thing that finally made Congress act to form the Civilian Conservation Corps was when soil from the plains blew straight into the Senate during a debate about Dust Bowl policy. If only a hurricane or a heat wave would hit D.C during the clean energy Senate hearings, then congress might finally get some much needed fear in their hearts.

  16. Mike D says:

    Would be odd if a hurricane hit DC in the spring…

  17. Sig says:

    Wonder what the anomoly would be with a baseline from the last 30 years.

  18. BBHY says:

    Alaska looks like it’s on fire! Still, if you’re a denier, it’s cooler in the continental US, and that’s all that counts.

  19. Cynthia says:

    To Mike Roddy: According to a recent magazine article (couple months ago),called “Climate Change Calculous– Why It’s Even Worse Than We Feared”, by Sharon Begley: “It’s about 3X as much as was thought, about 1.6 trillion metric tons. (She’s referring to the Arctic Permafrost) “That 1.6 trillion tons is about twice the amount now in the atmosphere. And Schuur’s measurements of how quickly CO2 can come out of permafrost, reported in May, were also a surprise: 1 billion to 2 billion tons per year. Cars and light trucks in the U.S. emit about 300 million tons per year”.

  20. Cynthia says:

    Mike, another thing: There’s a video you can watch on the Internet (Excellent video!) called, “A Really Inconvenient Truth”–Cybersalon– by Dan Miller. He states in his video that the Permafrost is melting now and already releasing 50 million tons/year; the entire region is on the verge of collapse, it’s a near-term tipping point, and will overwhelm human actions to reduce CO2 emissions. In the video, it showed these guys playing along snow covered Siberian lake. They lit a match to the lake and had to jump back because this fire shot up. And they said this happening all over the arctic! They stated a lot of other very interesting facts. Great speaker and very interesting!

  21. mike roddy says:

    Thanks, Cynthia! I’m going to watch the video. Check out the piece about Katey Walter in the LA Times, too- Margot Roosevelt is much more thorough and unafraid than other MSM reporters.

  22. Cynthia says:

    Dean, that’s odd! We had an extremely cool summer but this fall has been so hot! I don’t think we will even have a winter this year because it’s the middle of November and we haven’t had the heat on except for 2 days in October! We have to keep the windows open (even at night), the heat off, the fans on, and wear shorts and flip flops outside. (And we live up North, just below New England!)

  23. Cynthia says:

    “We’re in the deepest solar minimum in a century”, so says this post.

    30 years ago, we had to wear several layers of clothes when we went outside in November (North Eastern U.S.)because of the cold and ice. As a teenager, I lived down south in Virginia. I remember enormous snow storms, slay riding in November and December. Even 10 years ago, we had blizzards in December, up to the roof of our cars, almost. Now? The last few years, we often see people outside, jogging with shorts on, IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER! We can’t hang out Xmas wreaths long, because they wither. It’s spring time all year around nowdays, no more seasons!

  24. Brewster says:

    Here in Alberta, we still have green grass – I shouldn’t have to worry about mowing my lawn in November!

    Looks like it will be the third consecutive Christmas with no snow…

  25. Wonhyo says:

    The NOAA plot understates the temperature warming anomaly. The zero reference base period is 1971-2000, which already includes a significant amount of warming.

  26. Gail says:

    Greg #11, not to worry!! It merely means the Rapture is already underway! All Pastafarians Hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and welcome the touch of his noodly appendage! Ramen! http://www.venganza.org/about/