Met Office: “It is not cold everywhere in the world.”

Large parts of the world are quite warm, especially the Pacific’s El Ni±o region, so 2010 still likely to be hottest year on record

Climate change is taking place as the earth continues to warm up.

In the UK, 2009 as a whole was the 14th-warmest on record (since 1914). This above-average temperature trend was reflected globally, with 2009 being the fifth-warmest year on the global record (since 1850).

It [the recent cold snap] doesn’t tell us anything about climate change, which has to be looked at in a global context and over longer periods of time.

LST anomalies WRT 1961-90

The UK’s Met Office, part of its Defence Ministry, has an excellent post, “What’s causing the cold weather?

They explain that unlike the usual weather pattern of the last 20 years, “over the past three weeks the Atlantic air has been ‘blocked’ and cold air has been flowing down from the Arctic or the cold winter landmass of Europe.”   They also note that December wasn’t record-breaking in terms of cold, but merely “the coldest for 14 years and colder than the long-term average.”

More significantly, the Met Office notes (and yes the figure above is their posting of last week’s land-surface temperature anomalies):

… it is not cold everywhere in the world. North-east America, Canada, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and south-west Asia have all seen temperatures above normal – in many places by more than 5 °C, and in parts of northern Canada, by more than 10 °C.

Two weeks ago I noted that the Australian weather bureau reported: “Central Pacific Ocean surface temperatures are now at their warmest level since the El Ni±o of 1997-98.”³

On Wednesday they updated their El Ni±o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) report.  They note, “The tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface remains significantly warmer than the long-term average in central and eastern areas.”  Since the Met Office published the land surface temperature anomalies, it seems a good match to post the sea surface temperature anomalies from last week (12/28 – 1/03) from the Australians:

Global SST 1-10

Again, some places are coolish, some are quite warm.  On the whole, the planet is not in a deep freeze.  Quite the reverse, not only do we continue to warm, but the warming in the equatorial Pacific means we are in a moderate-to strong El Ni±o.

In fact, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center just released its monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussion, which concludes:

Synopsis: El Ni±o is expected to continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

El Ni±o strengthened during December 2009, with above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) encompassing the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Weekly values of the Ni±o-3.4 index increased slightly with the most recent value reaching +1.8°C

The models disagree on both the length and strength of the El Ni±o, but a number forecast it lasting through the summer, including the Ensemble Mean forecast from the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA).

So 2010 continues to have a better than 50% chance of being the hottest year on record (see Hansen predicts better than 50% chance 2010 will set new record and UK Met Office: Global warming plus El Ni±o means it’s “more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record”).

The anti-science disinformers, snow bunnies that they are, will need to enjoy the cold while they can!

Related Posts:

El Ni±o-Southern Oscillation

13 Responses to Met Office: “It is not cold everywhere in the world.”

  1. Will says:

    Thank you for this Joe. Perspective is much needed during local cold snaps. It is heartening that we haven’t completely mucked things up (yet), so that these types of record colds are still possible. Hopefully it kills some bark beetle larva.

  2. MarkB says:

    I read this description of a recent study regarding the impact of the loss of Arctic sea ice on Arctic ocean mixing. Might this have any ramifications beyond regional?

  3. Dorothy says:

    We made a similar post two days ago, “Global Climatic Disruption Becoming More Evident” – But we didn’t have the graphics Joe provided in this post showing present extreme climatic conditions. The Met Office map of LST anomalies is really scary. Our planet is “twisting in the wind.”

    Thank you, Joe, for your brilliant work in keeping us all informed.

  4. Bill R says:

    As much as anything, the weather just seems more and more erratic. As far as I understand climate science, it predicts such volitility, no? As currents and weather patterns become less dependable, old patterns disappear and volitiality will reign until a new stable climate state is reached ( likely a very long time from now after CO2 and other GHGs are stabilized, and after natural feedback cycles run their course)

    Joe, is there any measurement of weather or temperature volatility that you know of…. a sort of VIX for climate. ( a ticker symbol that measures the volitility of the DOW) I would not know how to apply such statistics but I would think that with the data sets available would allow one to create one.

  5. Logic Deferred says:


    I don’t know if they provide you with a true “VIX” but the US Climate Extremes index from NCDC is a partial step in the direction you are thinking of:

  6. rick Zawlocki says:

    According to a copy of the organisation’s latest annual report and accounts, John Hirst, the organisation’s chief executive, received between £195,000 and £200,000 in pay and bonuses in 2008/9.

    The figure is a 25 per cent increase on the £155,000 to £160,000 “pay equivalent” for Mr Hirst in 2007/8. Mr Hirst had joined midway through the previous financial year in September 2007.

    And it looks like Hirst comes from a big oil company and is getting a big bonus for last year.

    Looks like The Met Office has a lot of money and is runjing a little behind Joe Bastardi on storm forecasting for Britain.

  7. Bernard Leikind says:

    Dear Joe,

    Why does the MET office use old-fashioned map projections that badly distort the relevant areas, land or ocean?

    Why would any scientist emphasizing land surface temperature anomalies use a projection that makes Greenland as big as Australia?

    There are much better projections to show relative land or ocean areas.

  8. colinc says:

    @2 MarkB

    I think the implication from “…internal waves bring deeper waters closer to the surface…” in the last paragraph of the article you cited is that warmer water from the surface will be mixed downward. In other words, thermal energy will get transported more deeply and, at least as I see it, increase the probability of a “collapse” of methane hydrates/clathrates. A substantial release of methane from these sources will undoubtedly lead to accelerating temperature increases across the entire northern hemisphere and probably worldwide.
    Furthermore, “initial” regional impacts will include increased coastal erosion, which may also contribute to the above, as well as increasing air-temps over the “tundra” regions accelerating the thawing of the permafrost, releasing yet more methane and CO2 leading to an even greater acceleration of global heating and migration of weather patterns. The latter inclusive of “extreme events.” I hope this “helps.”

  9. Lionel A says:

    Hey Rick!

    Stop building those ‘straw men’.

  10. The December U.S. data, released today, show that it was cold, but not as much as November was warm, relative to normal. December was also more wet relative to normal than it was cold, hence the heavy snow.

  11. Chris says:

    If we want to make annecdotal local weather observations to confirm or refute global warming (ridiculous I know), I can tell you that here in Vancouver, it is raining and relatively warm. We have had no snow this winter season. We usually get some snow. Why doesn’t FOX news broadcast from here?

    And if any of you come for the Winter Olympics in one month, you can expect lots of rain. There is enough snow on the mountains for the Alpine events, but don’t expect a winter wonderland at sea level in the city.

  12. Connor says:

    Bernard @ #7:

    Just a guess, but I’d imagine it has something to do with the global grid system used for climate models. Could be wrong though.

    According to the NSIDC, the Arctic oscillation causes this effect, and as we know from this site (again using NSIDC) there is a +7 temp anomaly over the Arctic at the moment. Does anyone know if the two are interrelated, that this cold snap could be an artefact of a warming earth, or it the cold-loss that causes a negative oscillation too high in the atmosphere to b rlated to GW?

  13. MarkB says:

    Thanks, colinc.