Climate

Following third warmest November, December not even close to contiguous U.S. record for cold

Alaska had its 17th warmest December

It was relatively cool over CONUS in December, but not closet to record-shattering, as NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported (see below).  And, as Capital Climate notes, this 14th coldest December followed the third warmest November.

Also, Alaska had its 17th warmest December.  It’d be nice if NCDC would combine the two in reporting, since Alaska is getting baked these days.

It was a relatively warm year (again), part of a long-term warming trend even over the tiny fraction of the Earth that CONUS covers, as NCDC reports:

CONUS09

So, no, we’re  not cooling, as inaccuweather meteorologist Bastardi asserts, not even in the contiguous United States.  If you’d like to see just how non-record-breaking December was for CONUS, here’s the chart:

CONUS 12-09

We should get the global data for December and the entire year next week from NOAA and NASA, and again it will be crystal clear that the climate system as a whole is warming unequivocally.

For more, see WWF’s “For First Decade of the 21st Century, U.S. Annual Temperatures Remain Above Normal.”

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12 Responses to Following third warmest November, December not even close to contiguous U.S. record for cold

  1. caerbannog says:

    It’s good to give folks a global perspective on things here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2010/images/20100106b-chart.jpg

    [JR: Yes, though I just ran the figure down the front page a bit.]

  2. Will says:

    It’s interesting the continental US has warmed only slightly, yet we’re already seeing significant effects in glaciers across the country (in my home state of Washington), and animal migrations. Makes me wonder what the projected rise will look like.

  3. Leif says:

    Perhaps the real trick about “boiling frogs” is to lower the heat from time to time but never quite all the way.

    It sure works for the Anti-Science faction. Do you “see” a pattern here A-S Folks?

  4. WAG says:

    Joe –

    This week’s Economist has a good story on predictions that 2010 will be the hottest year on record:

    “The fact that no record high happened in the 2000s does not mean that there was no warming over the decade—trends at scales coarser than the annual continued to point upwards, and other authorities suggest there have been record years during the period. Nor was the length of time without an annual record exceptional. Models simulating centuries of warming normally have the occasional decade in which no rise in surface temperatures is observed. This is because heat can be stored in other parts of the system, such as the oceans, for a time, and thus not show up on meteorologists’ thermometers.

    The fact that no record high happened in the 2000s does not mean that there was no warming over the decade—trends at scales coarser than the annual continued to point upwards, and other authorities suggest there have been record years during the period. Nor was the length of time without an annual record exceptional. Models simulating centuries of warming normally have the occasional decade in which no rise in surface temperatures is observed. This is because heat can be stored in other parts of the system, such as the oceans, for a time, and thus not show up on meteorologists’ thermometers.

    Indeed, one reason for thinking that the coming year will be hotter than all known previous ones is that the tropical Pacific is currently dumping heat. This phenomenon, by which heat that has been stored up in the sea over the previous few years is released into the atmosphere, is known as El Niño. A strong Niño contributed to the record temperatures in 1998. In 2007 and 2008 the opposite phenomenon, a cooling Niña, was happening. That goes some way to explaining why those years were chilly by the standards of the 2000s.

    Not only that, it actually explain’s Kevin Trenberth’s comment about the “lack of warming at the moment” in context:

    Dr Smith and his colleagues are trying to predict some of the natural variability to come. Kevin Trenberth of America’s National Centre for Atmospheric Research wants to understand in detail the natural variability just seen. His quest gained unexpected prominence when one of his forcefully expressed e-mails on the subject—“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t”—found its way into the public domain as one of thousands of e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the “climategate” furore of November 2009.

    Dr Trenberth was not, he has since been at pains to stress, saying that the relatively unwarmed 2000s were particularly out of the ordinary. Instead, he was saying that, given the panoply of satellites and measurement networks that are being installed to monitor the climate, it should now be possible to identify the places and processes that hide energy from the prying eyes of climatologists. That would make it possible to determine what has actually happened to the energy trapped by increasing levels of greenhouse gases.

    Of course this is nothing new for ClimateProgress readers, but it’s good to see a mainstream publication getting it right.

  5. WAG says:

    Oops, pasted the first paragraph twice in my previous comment.

  6. espiritwater says:

    Leif, thanks for the website. I keep thinking we’ll get a break but you’re right, it just keeps getting worse and faster all the time! In the meantime, they still have all these stupid parrots quacking their inane remarks all over AOL webpages anytime there’s any mention of unusual weather. The picture of the Arctic makes me so sad! Keep thinking there must be some way to stop it… only thing which comes to mind is to stop using fossil fuels… no car, lights out (except a 2 W nite lite), eat locally… There must be some way!

  7. Leif says:

    espiritwater: “The only battle that is worth fighting is the one you lose and lose and lose and finally win!” I do not know the source but it seems appropriate. When the tipping point comes, and it will, (the evidence is too complete), the speed of awareness and attack will astound us all. I am 68 and been fighting these battles since the early 60s. If in time …??? I have kids and grand kids. I have to believe so. Recall the mobilization of WWII? In a matter of months after Pearl Harbor it was “no holds barred” mobilization. Two years later, Normandy! It does appear that we will need yet another “Pearl Harbor.” Personally however, I do not see why the Arctic does not serve that function. Where the hell is the Judicial system when you need them? The Church? Here is YOUR chance to redeem yourselves for centuries of atrocities. You to will forever have to hold your peace if civilization red lines! Call it “Creation Care” if you must! Just do it! You cannot play both sides against the middle with NATURE. Nature bats last!

  8. espiritwater says:

    Leif, I tried to post the link you posted the other day for the screwballs on AOl who keep insisting global warming is not real. But it wouldn’t come out green like when you posted it (and so they couldn’t click on it). I thought it would be a great way to show them that even though it’s freezing in Florida, it’s still heating up in the Arctic. How did you get it to turn green (and clickable?)

    The news just does not get any better!
    http://www.globalwarmingisreal.com/ blog/ 2010/ 01/ 08/ feedback-accelerates-arctic-ice-melt-canada-alaska-most-pronounced

  9. Leif says:

    Another rant on the Church, if I may. I will say up front that my views tend to be defined as atheistic with spiritual overtones, what ever that means. That said: If God did in fact create the world, in whatever time frame that suits you, then it implies that God produced the physical laws that the earths systems operate under. ( One could say that “science” is nothing but that.) Science has for the most part attempted to stay out of “Church” laws and concentrate on operating systems with an impressive track record in my book. Gravity and thermodynamics are both old and well understood concepts of God’s operating systems. Science tells you that if you step off a cliff the odds are that you will be “toast.” We cannot be sure 100% but 95%, no problem. Likewise, science is telling us that our “earth experiment” of messing with the “GOD GIVEN LAWS” of thermodynamics will spell big trouble ahead, we cannot say scientifically 100% for sure, 95% NO PROBLEM.

    “Creation Care” today, anyone?

  10. Leif says:

    espiritwater: The link just “happens.” I think it is magic? You might try going to Environmental News Network, ENN and start from scratch. Down the page a bit.

  11. David Hutton-Squire says:

    Surely the data at:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    suggest that GLOBALLY November 09 was the warmest November (not the warmest month, just November) in that record.