NASA: The 12-month running mean global temperature has reached a new record in 2010 — despite recent minimum of solar irradiance

“We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.”

Note:  Hansen wants comments on this draft, so keep ’em coming.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has released a revised draft of “Global Surface Temperature Change,” by James Hansen et al.  It is a must read for warming junkies.  There’s also a a summary discussion of the paper (reprinted below), and two PowerPoint posters of key figures like this one:

GISS nino

Blue curve: 12-month running-mean global temperature.   Note correlation with Nino index (red = El Nino, blue = La Nina).   Large volcanoes (green) have a cooling effect for ~2 years.

NASA makes it official:  We have set the 12-month record, just as CP pointed a few weeks ago (see “NASA: Easily the hottest April “” and hottest Jan-April “” in temperature record“) — and that is all the more powerful evidence of human-caused warming “because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” as the paper notes.   This didn’t make a lot of news — see this tiny Bloomberg story — nothing compared to all the nonsensical stories about global cooling.

But will 2010 actually set the record for the hottest calendar year?  NASA explains:

It is likely that global temperature for calendar year 2010 will exceed the 2005 record, but that is not certain if a deep La Nina develops quickly.

NOAA just released their monthly El Ni±o/Southern oscillation update, which notes:

The majority of models predict ENSO-neutral conditions (between -0.5°C to +0.5°C in the Ni±o-3.4 region) through early 2011. However, over the last several months, a growing number of models, including the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS), indicate the onset of La Ni±a conditions during June-August 2010.

So this year may be a nailbiter, although only a couple of models suggest a very deep La Ni±a.  Not that anything will move the anti-scientist disinformers, but Hansen et al. do have some comments to make about the coolish weather that Americans have experienced (see below).

The longer term trend is unmistakeable

GISS 60 month

Here is the paper’s Summary Discussion:

Human-made climate change has become an issue of surpassing importance to humanity, and global warming is the first order manifestation of increasing greenhouse gases that are predicted to drive climate change. Thus it is understandable that analyses of ongoing global temperature change are now subject to increasing scrutiny and criticisms that are different than would occur for a purely scientific problem.

Our comments here about communication of this climate change science to the public are our opinion. Other people may have quite different opinions. We offer our opinion because it seems inappropriate to ignore the vast range of claims appearing in the media and in hopes that open discussion of these matters may help people distinguish the reality of global change sooner than would otherwise be the case. However these comments, even though based on experience over a few decades, are only opinion. Our primary contribution is quantitative results discussed in the numbered paragraphs below.

Communication of the status of global warming to the public has always been hampered by weather variability. Lay people’s perception tends to be strongly influenced by the latest local fluctuation. This difficulty can be alleviated by stressing the need to focus on the frequency and magnitude of warm and cold anomalies, which change noticeably on decadal time scales as global warming increases.

A greater obstacle to public communication has arisen with the politicization of reporting of global warming, a perhaps inevitable consequence of the economic and social implications of efforts required to alter the course of human-made climate change. We have the impression that the effect of politicization on communication of the science is aggravated by the fact that much of the media is owned by or strongly influenced by special economic interests.

The task of alleviating the communication obstacle posed by politicization is formidable. The difficulty is compounded by continual attacks on the credibility of scientists. Polls indicate that the attacks have been effective in causing many members of the public to doubt the reality of global warming.

Given this situation, the best hope may be repeated clear description of the science and passage of sufficient time to confirm validity of the description. A problem with that prescription is the danger that the climate system could pass tipping points that cause major climate changes to proceed largely out of humanity’s control [Hansen et al., 2008]. Yet continuation of this approach seems to be essential for the sake of minimizing the degree of inevitable climate change, even while other ways are sought to draw attention to the dangers of continued greenhouse gas increases.

One lesson we have learned is that making our global data analysis immediately available, with data use by ourselves and others helping to reveal flaws in the input data, has a practical disadvantage: it allows any data flaws to be interpreted and misrepresented as machinations. Yet the data are too useful for scientific studies to be kept under wraps, so we will continue to make the data available on a monthly basis. But we are making special efforts to make the process as transparent as possible, including availability of the computer program that does the analysis, the data that goes into the analysis (also available from original sources), and detailed definition of urban adjustment of meteorological station data.

Our principal task remains the scientific one; trying to describe with increasing clarity and insight the global temperature change that is occurring. Contributions of the present paper include:

(1) insight into why the GISS analysis yields 2005 as the warmest calendar year, while the HadCRUT analysis has 1998 as the warmest year. The main factor is our inclusion of estimated temperature change for the Arctic region. We note that SST change cannot be used as a measure of surface air temperature change in regions of sea ice, and that surface air temperature change is the quantity of interest both for its practical importance to humans and for comparison with the results that are usually reported in global climate model studies.

(2) 12-month (and n—12-month) running mean temperatures provide more information than the usual graphs with calendar-year mean temperature. The 12-month running mean fully removes the annual cycle, which exists even in temperature anomaly time series. The magnitude and duration of global temperature effects of volcanoes and the Southern Oscillation can be seen much more clearly in a 12-month running mean graph such as Figure 10.

(3) the 12-month running mean global temperature in the GISS analysis has reached a new record in 2010. The new record temperature in 2010 is particularly meaningful because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance (Frohlich, 2006; data at is having its maximum cooling effect. At the time of this writing (May 2010) the tropical Pacific Ocean has changed from El Nino conditions to ENSO-neutral and is likely headed into the cool La Nina phase of the Southern Oscillation. The 12-month running mean global temperature (Figure 9b) may continue to rise for a few more months before the ENSO change causes the next decline. It is likely that global temperature for calendar year 2010 will exceed the 2005 record, but that is not certain if a deep La Nina develops quickly.

(4) the cool weather anomalies in the United States in Jun-Jul-Aug 2009 and in both the United States and northern Eurasia in the following Dec-Jan-Feb are close to the cool extreme of the range of seasonal temperatures that are now expected (Figure 17) given the warming of the past few decades. Although comparably cool conditions could occur again sometime during the next several years, the likelihood of such event is low in any given year and it will continue to decrease as global warming continues to increase.

(5) we suggest a new procedure for use of satellite SST data that takes advantage of the high spatial resolution and broad coverage of satellite observations but avoids the bias in the temperature trend in satellite data [Reynolds et al., 2002, 2010]. We adjust the satellite data by a small constant such that the monthly temperature anomalies of satellite and in situ data are equal over their common area. This procedure is used in our current ERSST+OI analysis. We continue to also provide our HadISST1+OI analysis, without such adjustment, as our standard data product. Because of a cold bias in unadjusted OI data, global warming in ERSST+OI exceeds that in HadISST1+OI by about 0.04°C by 2010. Further study is needed to verify which of these data products is superior. It is likely that other improvements of the ocean data sets will be available in the near future. For example, none of the publicly available global data sets corrects as yet for a data discontinuity that occurs near the end of World War II [Thompson et al., 2008]. Note that none of these adjustments or uncertainties is large enough to alter any of our major conclusions in this paper.

(6) global warming on decadal time scales is continuing without letup. Figure 8, showing decadal mean temperature anomalies, effectively illustrates the monotonic and substantial warming that is occurring on decadal time scales. But because it is important to draw attention to change as soon as possible, we need ways to make the data trends clear without waiting for additional decades to pass. Figure 21 shows the 60-month (5-year) and 132-month (11-year) running means of global temperature. The 5-year mean is sufficient to minimize ENSO variability, while the 11-year mean also minimizes the effect of solar variability. Figure 21 gives the lie to the frequent assertion that “global warming stopped in 1998”. Of course it is possible to find almost any trend for a limited period via judicious choice of start and end dates of a data set that has high temporal resolution, but that is not a meaningful exercise. Even a more moderate assessment, “the trend in global surface temperature has been nearly flat since the late 1990s despite continuing increases in the forcing due to the sum of the well-mixed greenhouse gases” [Solomon et al., 2009], is not supported by our data. On the contrary, we conclude that there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.

Yes, even sophisticated scientists like Solomon make statements in the scientific literature that really aren’t supported by the best data set we have.

Kudos to NASA GISS researchers for their tirelessly efforts to provide the highest quality, peer-reviewed scientific research about the gravest preventable threat the human race faces “” in the face of the most monstrous and effective disinformation campaign in human history.  They deserve the strong support from all Americans who care about our children and grandchildren and future generations around the world.


34 Responses to NASA: The 12-month running mean global temperature has reached a new record in 2010 — despite recent minimum of solar irradiance

  1. mike roddy says:

    Great work in all respects, Dr. Hansen, as we have come to expect from you.

    Please clarify your organization’s opinion about the 1940-1980 warming pause, thought to be a result of particulate dimming. Obviously you’re familiar with Dr. Cox’s work on the subject, and I presume that you agree with him about particulates being the cause of this pause.

    Particulates from Asia, especially China, have been increasing in the last decade, while warming of course continues. Three questions I would be interested in your organization’s opinion on:

    1. Are these sunlight blocking particulates mostly offset by increased black soot deposits in the Arctic, which decreases albedo? Is quality data available here?
    2. If the net effect of increased particulates has been to substantially mask warming for the last couple of decades as well, does that mean that much better world factory particulate pollution standards will cause faster temperature increases?
    3. Has better data been developed to predict the likely increased temperature triggers of Arctic and permafrost methane releases?

    This is all a little OT from your basic data, but I don’t know a better authority on these questions.


  2. And the Arctic is noticing it: Arctic sea ice, almost normal in April, rapidly melting (red line in graph). Now lowest extent ever this time of year:

  3. toby says:

    I’ve been kinda hoping this is the year that the various indices will so decisively indicate a warming earth that most waverers at least will agree that yes, the evidence is there and action cannot be postponed.

    I do not see the most dyed-in-the-wool skectic ever changing, but Joe Public may at last be convinced, and the politicians may see the way open to some real action.

    Ronald Reagan once said to Gorbachov that it was almost a pity that aliens never attacked the human race, because it would have forced them to get together. I do not know what Gorbachov said back – maybe he said “There you go again, Ron! Still thinking of old Twilight Zone episodes!”.

    But however, global warming is close enough to what Reagan was talking about. Will the human race meet the challenge?

  4. Jim Eager says:

    With “normal” being the average of the steady decline since 1979.

    Moreover, the seasonal cycle is now evident in the Arctic sea ice extent anomaly plot:
    despite the fact that plotting the anomaly normally *removes* the seasonal cycle.

    This is not a good sign.

  5. Leif says:

    I vote for September 8, 2010, for a new low Arctic ice extent, isn’t there a lottery some place? Maybe CP?

    A fitting punishment, (can there really be one?), might be a restitution of all the advertising, lobbying money, think tank money, underhanded dealings, even shareholder profits, (above “x” per year to protect small investors), be dedicated to a sustainable, no interest, green awakening investment fund. Fossil fuel big investment folks are driving a fancier car than me. (1985 Honda Accord that uses no oil, purrs like a kitten, got 34-mpg on the last milage check and cost me a buck to purchase)

    Back to the subject. The oil industry owes society for the successful brain washing of the population as witnessed by the very existence of folks like the tea baggers. That money is up front, and then we can dicker on a carbon tax.

  6. toby says:

    I think William Connolly is running a book at Stoat..

  7. From Peru says:

    R.I.P. Global Cooling!

  8. robert says:

    Comment for Hansen: p. 17, last para.: the word “deteriorate” should be replaced with “decrease”. Deteriorate means to worsen.

  9. Wit's End says:

    still curious, has anyone factored the lessening of snow cover from warmer temps into predictions for future warming because of increased absorption vs. reflection of sunlight?

    Would that be a significant amplifying feedback?

  10. Julien says:

    Hum, as a side note, you don’t have solely American readers, ans since climate change is a global issue I suggest the last sentence is rephrased “They deserve the strong support from all HUMANS who care about our children and grandchildren and future generations around the world.” ;)
    Apart from that, the researchers at NASA have done a wonderful job. Excellent. They have succeeded in putting in a few sentences the best rebuttal of so common contrarian arguments that I will consider this release as a reference.
    Now I am waiting to see this news -maybe the most important those days despite the oil spill- on the front page of all newspapers. Besides the “record floods in Poland”, “record high temperatures in India and Pakistan”, “record low sea ice extent” etc…

  11. GFW says:

    Wit’s End, I’m sure the GCMs take snow cover into account.

  12. Leif says:

    Good questions, mike roddy, #1: Might there be a value in running “dirty” factories during the summer and shutting all down during the winter to keep the snow pristine for as long as possible. I am not sure if settling time is feasible but you see what I am getting at. Like wise if shipping is to start using the arctic route ships should be required to burn clean fuel. Perhaps even towed by Nuclear ice tugs. Ships are notorious polluters. A supper tanker will burn a gallon of bunker fuel to go 33 feet. Ships are also known for setting contrails which grow to clouds, (white-er than open water which can be a good thing) and that effect might be exploited with a special fuel blend to help cool the Arctic and re-establish ice cover.

  13. Wit's End says:

    GFW, not to be flippant, but why are you sure? I haven’t seen any studies about it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. The glacier and ice cap albedo effects are well documented. But snow extant? Just askin’!?

    I wonder because, for instance, models that predict warming assume a certain amount of CO2 absorption by trees and I happen to be fairly certain their forecasts are wildly optimistic. Trees are no longer a carbon sink, their mass is static at best or shrinking, from exposure to toxic ozone, and therefore they are net carbon emitters.

    That is filed under the “worse and faster than predicted” tab.

    I also wonder whether anyone knows how much CO2 the oceans can absorb, at what rate – and if they become saturated, what does that mean for warming?

    I think we should all hope for some massive volcano eruptions, because it’s starting to get uncomfortably hot around here.

  14. Leif says:

    Reference to my statement at #11:

    Those might be geo-engineering efforts that I could entertain.

  15. Ken Fabos says:

    Wit’s End, if we got some massive volcanic eruptions and an apparent couple of years of cooling we would be no better off and the loud deniers would be insisting that it proves the problem is all over; they are already (still) predicting the onset of global cooling. As some Heartland attendees said recently when told that 2010 looks like being the next record hot year – “So what?”. So, even without any actual cooling they think it’s cooling – so they’d be thrilled to have luck and chance deliver some real cooling. And have some arguments that, on the face of it, accord with reality.

  16. prokaryote says:

    ” – The magnitude and duration of global temperature effects …”

    Is there any research done yet, to plot increase of dangerous weather events (flash floods, storm intensity, weather pattern occurence, records , resulting cost etc) of climate change from temperature/Co-2 uptake?

  17. prokaryote says:

    ” – Are these sunlight blocking particulates mostly offset by increased black soot deposits in the Arctic, which decreases albedo? Is quality data available here?”

    Black Soot is Main Cause Of Himalayan Glacier Melt
    Aerosols and black carbon from air pollution may be responsible for as much as 90 percent of the melting taking place in Himalayan glaciers, according to a new study. The study, conducted by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said that soot and pollution not only soak up heat and warm the atmosphere, but the deposition of black carbon on snow and ice absorbs sunlight, further hastening glacial melt.

  18. Sere says:

    Interesting conversation with the guy next to me at the library just now. I asked him to look at the Global Land-Ocean Temperature graphs included above. I told him they describe the global warming anomaly in degrees Celsius over the time periods stated. He was stunned. “6 degrees is huge.”

    I chuckled. “Look closer.” He was now *truly stunned.* He said: “.6 must be an error.” I said: “It is not. What you see is the range of the anomaly over those time periods, expressed as a running mean.”

    He said: “You are wrong. The values cannot be that small. If they were, no one would be having this discussion.”

    Tenths of a degree are fatal to your hysterical arguments, Joe. Time to grasp this.–

  19. prokaryote says:

    Sere, what you see is the 12-month running-mean global temperature.
    So when we witness today a localized 8.0 degree above the average you will see at 2.0 degree (mean global) increase likewise a four fold in local anomaly.

  20. prokaryote says:

    Ok this was not very clear …

    The new projections, published this month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees. This can be compared to a median projected increase in the 2003 study of just 2.4 degrees.

    Actual local temps will have anomalys above/below the probaility “mean global” range.

  21. Jim Eager says:

    What Sere needs to grasp is that .6C is the average over the entire surface of earth, while higher latitudes of that surface have warmed by more than twice that, which is why perennial Arctic sea ice is in its death spiral and why the Greenland ice cap and much of the Antarctic ice cap are losing ice mass.

    What Sere needs to grasp is that we have yet to see the full amount of warming that the increase in CO2 to date will ultimately produce, thanks to the enormous thermal inertia of the ocean and cryosphere.

    What Sere needs to grasp is that although we are already at CO2 levels that are higher than at any time since before there was a Greenland ice cap, in just 20-25 years CO2 will reach the level it was when the Antarctic ice cap began to form.

    In short, what Sere needs to grasp is perspective.

  22. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    prokakaryote at #20

    I’d agree that it’s not written clearly enough for those who don’t study the issue to readily understand – the training of scientists to write as succinctly as possible, and thus to exclude aspects that other scientists would take as read, is a significant part of the communications problem.

    One solution is that to gain even basic scientific qualifications the candidates could be required to show proficiency in descriptive essay writing and, preferably, poetry comprehension. I suspect we’d be in a different state now if this more rounded education had been established 30 years ago.

    With regard to the global temperature projections, I find it hard to take these findings seriously as it is not made clear which of the diverse interactive feedbacks have reached what rate of CO2e output by the year 2065, whose warming impacts would then be felt by around 2100.

    Given that just the relatively minor ‘DOC’ feedback (of elevated airborne CO2 causing microbial decay of peatbogs, which raises the output of Dissolved Organic Carbon that then swiftly out-gasses) has a long-term trend which, by 2065, would deliver an annual CO2 output equal to the entire anthropogenic output of 2003. (Notably, under the present complacency, we shan’t know quite what 2003’s anthro-CO2 output added to airborne CO2 ppmv does to global temperature, and to the feedbacks’ acceleration, until around 2047).

    In sum, if the feedbacks are not controlled by means of directly moderating global net solar heat intake, it is hard to see how any credible projections of 2100 temperature could be calculated.



  23. Gravy says:

    I learned about the threat to the arctic in the early 1990s, but I have read this blog for just a couple months. So, please excuse my newbie perspective. I have to agree with Sere and the difficulty the public has understanding the threat. The majority of commentators on this board seem to have a scientific understanding, if not daily work experience, that makes these types of charts almost second nature to understand.

    When we talk of a 4-6C change in 50 years, that has little to no resonance with the U.S. public. Most people couldn’t even tell you what that is in Fahrenheit. I get it that big change comes in little steps, I have kids. But I think that for the group of us concerned about this matter these types of charts are not an effective tool when used directly. What I have found when discussing AGW with acquaintances is it is helpful to put small numbers in everyday perspective. For example, maybe 5 degrees doesn’t sound like much but how about 3 more months of summer weather per year?

    The deniers have been able to set false expectations. It seems the fact we have winter still is played in the media every year as crushing to AWG science. The public is under the impression (reinforced by the deniers) that AGW science expects big changes in weather. Something like, every summer day in Detroit will be 110F and we will never have to shovel snow from our driveways again.

    The messaging from our side has been poor in developing a coherent story of the impact of AGW. I am not talking about the temperature numbers. I am not talking about ocean pH levels. Rather, what will happen to the ecosystems surrounding everyday people. The potential collapse of agricultural regions, the destruction of fishing grounds, the spread of timber diseases, the loss of seasonal recreational opportunities are all examples of tangible ideas to start discussions with uninformed and unaware people. Say the words “methane”, “permafrost”, “positive feedback”, and “Siberia”? You lose most of the public.

  24. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    My apologies for a typo:

    In #22 the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph should read:

    “Notably, under the present complacency, we shan’t know quite what 2003’s anthro-CO2 output added to airborne CO2 ppmv does to global temperature, and to the feedbacks’ acceleration, until around 2038.”


  25. robert says:

    Sere — With all due respect to the guy sitting next to you at the library, I’m gonna go ahead and go with the National Academy on this one…

  26. Richard Brenne says:

    Dr. Hansen –

    Great work as always – your precision is always impeccable.

    I know this is being published in a scientific journal and it appears designed to “show your math” and to take the wind out of deniers’ sails.

    I especially enjoyed your unprecedentedly candid remarks about deniers and the media.

    Still, in communicating to the public (and my partner physicist Toby Dittrich and I enjoy a NASA grant to teach students from all over the world about climate change) I’m always looking for more accessible, plain and easy-to-understand language. And so I’m going to make suggestions that you might consider adding to this or future such papers, which you can of course use as you see fit:

    1) The Earth is warming, and humans are the primary cause. Also, there is gravity. If you’re afraid of jumping on a trampoline because you might not come back down, maybe a serious discussion of global warming isn’t something you care to have right now.

    2) Human-caused global warming implicates our lifestyles and our national and global economies, so denial is the starting point for each of us when confronting something so overwhelming. Only education, honesty and courage to face this overcome this natural tendency toward denial.

    3) In addition to wanting to maintain the status quo that has enriched their advertisers and thus themselves, the mainstream media also wants to create conflict and thus drama between opposing views. In relation to climate change there are countless small disagreements about myriad smaller topics between top climate scientists, but the fact that humans have become the primary cause of global warming is not one of them. Again, this is like debating whether there is gravity or not.

    4) Since 1950 human-caused pollution has blocked half the heating that would have come from human greenhouse gasses. Volcanoes blocked another 20 per cent and 20 per cent escaped into space. So only 10 per cent heated the Earth system itself, and almost all of that went into heating the ocean. (Above from Murphy, Solomon, et al September 9, 2009 Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, paraphrased with help from this stellar website.)

    5) So the heating of the atmosphere is less than one per cent of all the potential heating from greenhouse gasses. Yet even this small percentage of heating is impressive.

    6) The heating that we’re seeing is consistent with over 90 per cent of the world’s studied glaciers retreating, with fewer than 5 per cent advancing (and these typically in cold places where average temperatures climbing closer to freezing allows more snowfall accumulation higher on glaciers overcompensating for melting lower). The heating is also consistent with sea level rise. The oceans and glaciers are Earth’s largest thermometers. The global temperature data is also usually consistent with ice, sea and lakebed core data, tree ring and fossilized tree ring data, wildlife, insect and plant data, all of which agree that the Earth is warming, not cooling.

    7) As NASA scientists, we are working in good faith to discern the truth and reality of what is going on. Those who smear, threaten and attempt to intimidate us often appear to not be working in good faith. They take data from a record high like in 1998 to the next low point and call that a trend, deliberately misrepresenting the larger trend. This is called cherry-picking and it is the opposite of true science. If one is looking at the overall trend of the stock market through the 20th Century the overall trend was up, and in examining the overall trend looking at the market only from October, 1929 into the depths of the 1930s Depression would not be an accurate nor honest representation. Similarly, hiking from the sea coast to Mt. Washington, Mt. Rainier or Mt. Whitney would include downhills, though the overall trend would be up.

    8 ) Healthy, scientific skepticism is always a good thing when the motive is to advance the science. So urban heat island effect can skewer temperature data higher than the Earth has a whole has experienced, and we understand that. So we use satellite pictures of the Earth at night to find the greatest light sources which mean greatest development and energy use, with buildings, concrete, pavement and air conditioners trapping and generating more heat than a rural or natural landscape. So in our global temperature readings we throw out the most urban readings and use the most rural or natural locations for temperature readings. We’ve been doing this for a long time (how long?) and have done this in retrospect to clean up previous temperature readings as much as possible. Together with all the myriad proxy data, we feel these temperature readings are highly accurate now and 98% accurate – as accurate as we can make them – depicting our .8 degree C global average temperature rise since 1900. We do not think we’ve had a .7 or .9 C temperature rise during this time, but very close to .8 degree C. Any other conclusion is wishful thinking, which is not a part of science.

    9) NASA extrapolates temperature data from existing weather stations, including into the Arctic that scientists agree is warming more quickly and dramatically than any other part of Earth. We find that the most careful extrapolations possible are better than leaving out this most critical area, as HadCRUT does. Carefully extrapolated data is better than no data at all. That is why NASA’s global average temperature is higher than HadCRUT’s for 2005 and NASA has that as the record high global average temperature year while HadCRUT has 1998. It appears that if the cooling La Nina is delayed enough, both NASA and HadCRUT will have 2010 as the new record hot year on record (as we first predicted in January, 2009), and likely for thousands if not millions of years.

    10) Running mean is not some sort of anger management in marathons, but the average during any point in a year to the next instead of just looking at a single calendar year, which is an arbitrary human measurement. Since the running annual mean is looking at a full year it includes all the seasons as a calendar year does, but instead of a calendar year with a warming El Nino conflicting with a cooling La Nina, an annual running mean can encompass either one or the other. Just as degrees from average temperatures are more helpful than the number of days of 90 or 100 degrees (arbitrary human measurements like calendar years), annual running means are more helpful than calendar year assessments.

    I hope some of this is helpful, Jim. I just spend quite a bit of time in Boulder talking with Brian Toon and Warren Washington about your runaway greenhouse concerns – if ever there was a topic for a symposium, that’s the one! Hopefully we can arrange this soon. You can e-mail me at

    Thanks Jim,

    Richard Brenne

  27. Dan B says:

    Dr. Hansen;

    In the fourth paragraph of the excerpt of your report: “..a perhaps inevitable consequence of the economic and social implications of efforts required to alter the course of human-made climate change.” Would make more sense if it were compared to the economic and social implications of runaway global warming.

    It seems clear to the majority of people who post on this blog that we may be experiencing record, and lethal, heat waves (like India, Pakistan, and Myanmar have this week), droughts that destroy agricultural production, and forest fires of such a scale that entire regions will be rendered nearly uninhabitable. In addition entire fisheries, both fresh and saltwater, may collapse. These events may take place within a decade, especially if we transition out of the solar minimum.

    For most people to understand our level of concern the information must be applicable to their daily lives. As Gravy points out most of the public, and most of the media, have no idea how to translate temperatures into the frightening scenarios that haunt most scientists and especially climate scientists.

    It may also be to your advantage to state a simple “vision” of a country that unites to address the challenges: 1. Massive training to put the unemployed to work weatherizing homes and businesses. 2. Converting our failing factories to production of clean and sustainable energy products. 3. Leaving a clean green 21st Century energy economy to our children. 4. Investing in the future to create jobs that boost our economy today.

    Fossil fuel shills state that renewable energy and putting a price on carbon will cost Joe and Jane Public thousands. They say little about the paltry number of jobs fossil fuel creates especially compared to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

  28. mike roddy says:

    Prokaryote, #17:

    Thanks, I’d heard about the black soot study, but don’t know to what extent the reduced albedo offsets particulate dimming. Maybe that’s too big a question, which is why Dr. Hansen didn’t answer it- though more likely he’s too busy to answer bloggers, np.

    “Sere” and “Mike” are just two of the same old same old denier trolls that eventually overwhelmed and poisoned Dot Earth. I recommend that people ignore them, and as for Sere and Mike, head for Climate Depot and Wattsupwiththat. People there will read your comments without rolling their eyes.

  29. riverat says:

    He said: “You are wrong. The values cannot be that small. If they were, no one would be having this discussion.”

    If the value really was +6 C we wouldn’t be having this discussion because you’d be too busy just trying to survive.

  30. Mike says:

    Possible error/ inconsistency in the paper draft?

    In Background, near the top of page 3, talking about UHI adjustments:

    “The effect of this adjustment on global temperature change was found to be small, less than 0.1°C for the past century.”

    Which actually seem quite large, but in Urban Adjustments, page 7, paragraph 4:

    “The effect of urban adjustment on global temperature change is only of the order of 0.01°C for either nightlight or population adjustment.”

    0.01°C is consistent with figure 2, so is the first sentence in error?

  31. pete best says:

    Global Land Ocean Temperatures. I am getting some flak from a guy who is stating that its not possible to normalise the in situ (before satellite) and satellite data in a meaningful way so the graphs are meaningless. I know this is pure rubbish bu proving it is another matter. How are these data sets amalgamated.

  32. Richard Brenne says:

    Dr. Hansen:

    As an addendum to my comment at #26, there are several other basic concepts that I’ve been working to see communicated in all mediums.

    I like to point out that in Earth’s delicate and critical carbon cycle humans have taken carbon in the three fossil fuels that has been sequestered in the Earth’s crust for hundreds of millions of years and burned them in only a few hundred years, most within the last few decades.

    As a result CO2 parts per million (ppm) has risen 110 ppm in the last 150 years, when the coldest ice ages to the warmest interglacial periods in the last few million years have had ranges of only 100 ppm (from around 180 to 280 ppm), with swings of hundreds of feet of sea level in either direction during that time since CO2, global average surface temperatures and glacial mass each track the other two. (In the water cycle during warm periods more water accumulates in the oceans, raising sea levels, while during cold periods more water accumulates in glaciers, lowering sea levels.)

    CO2 ppm is now averaging a 2 ppm increase each year, and with methane, nitrous oxide and deforestation factored in we have a CO2 ppm equivalency of over 430 ppm.

    The sad, tragic and extremely dangerous fact is that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Much of this CO2 has been sequestered in the Earth’s ocean, crust, soils and vegetation, but each is showing signs of saturation and could soon be emitting carbon more than absorbing it.

    The same is true of temperature lags of two to three decades from heating the ocean to the ocean heating the atmosphere through El Ninos and other means.

    So that 110 CO2 ppm increase – really a 150 ppm increase in equivalency from all sources – will ultimately raise sea levels hundreds of feet as CO2 swings have in the past, it just takes time for the process to catch up to the forcing.

    There are around 600 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. that, on average, burn about a mile-long coal train a day, meaning we burn the equivalent of a 600 mile-long coal train every day in the U.S. That means we burn a 219,000 mile-long coal train to generate almost half our electricity each year, which would reach most of the way to the moon or around the Earth almost nine times.

    And since the U.S. consumes 14% of the world’s coal, that means the world’s coal train is over 1.5 million miles long each year, meaning that soon all the coal we burned put together could reach the 93 million miles to the sun, which would appear impractical relative to using the sun’s energy itself.

    All of this means that just the CO2 we send into the atmosphere weighs as much as the biggest, heaviest cruise ship – every six minutes. If instead of invisible CO2 we sent another of the largest cruise ships hovering into the atmosphere every six minutes maybe we’d do something about this.

    All of the CO2 and other sources of greenhouse gasses mean that since 1970 there is 4% more water vapor in the atmosphere, which was calculated here at Climate Progress as about 1.5 Lake Michigans of additional water vapor that tends to come down in more dramatic precipitation events from hurricanes to the Atlanta-area flood last year and Tennessee floods this year.

    Also Skeptical Science calculates that all the additional energy since 1970 that’s gone into just heating the oceans would require 190,000 nuclear power plants to the do the same, with 10 new power plants coming on line each day.

    I’m working with many scientists and institutions and especially those here at Climate Progress to standardize these metaphors so that we can all use them. Of course checking the math about each is always a good idea, and I’d appreciate hearing about any errors or better or additional metaphors to use.

    Thanks again Jim and everyone here at CP,

    Richard Brenne

  33. BBHY says:

    Sere, (and the guy in the library)

    If you have water a room temperature then you have to cool it a whole lot to make it freeze. If you have ice at -40 it has to be warmed a lot to make it melt.

    But, if you leave a tray of ice cubes on the counter until it is half melted, then it is at a balance point. Only a very small change of temperature will either make it all water or all ice.

    The Earth is part water and part ice. It is at a balance point. It only takes a small change of temperature to make it either all ice or all water. Right now it is changing very rapidly toward all water, with devastating consequences for human civilization. Scientific research has provided overwhelming evidence that human produced CO2 from burning fossil fuels is the cause.

  34. Deep Climate says:

    To be fair to Solomon I think you can make a case that there has been some “flattening” of the global temperature rise, but I agree that “nearly flat” is debatable at best, especially considering that decadal rate of warming (2000s relative to 1990s) is still above 0.17C even in HadCRUT.

    But what is really outrageous is the touting of Solomon et al (and Easterling and Wehner) in support of the “global warming has stopped” meme.

    Michaels and Knappenberger’s World Climate Report: “No warming whatsoever over the past decade”

    The most recent twist on the “global warming has stopped” meme is the citation of highly respected researchers in support of that incorrect, yet somehow persistent proposition. Once again, the charge is being led by leading climate contrarian Patrick Michaels, ably assisted by Paul “Chip” Knappenberger.

    Earlier this year, Michaels’ World Climate Report cited two papers (Easterling and Wehner, 2009 and Solomon et al 2010) as demonstration of mainstream acknowledgment that there has been “no warming whatsoever over the past decade”.

    But a closer examination shows that Solomon et al were actually citing the earlier Easterling and Wehner, a paper itself deeply critical of skeptic “cherrypicking” of short-term trend start points. Even worse, discussion of these two papers at World Climate Report contains some of the most egregious examples of quote mining and distortions of others’ work I have ever seen.