NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer ” despite “recent minimum of solar irradiance”

To receive daily updates on climate science, politics, and solutions, click here.

Jan-Jun 2010

Following fast on the heels of the hottest Jan-May “” and spring — in the temperature record, it’s also the hottest Jan-June on record in the NASA dataset [click on figure to enlarge].

It’s 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 a recent must-read NASA paper notes.

Software engineer (and former machinist mate in the US Navy) Timothy Chase put together a spreadsheet using the data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (click here).  In NASA’s dataset, the 12-month running average temperature record was actually just barely set in March “” and then easily set in April and topped out in May.

It still seems likely that 2010 will be the hottest year on record, but NOAA now predicts that “La Ni±a conditions are likely to develop during July – August 2010.”  If the La Ni±a comes fast and deep (as in 1998 and 2007), that could make it a close call in the NASA dataset — and even more so in the satellite record, which is much more sensitive to ENSO ( El Ni±o Southern oscillation).

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.  Source: Global Surface Temperature Change,” by James Hansen et al., June 2010.

Interestingly, June was tied for the third hottest on record for NASA, but was essentially tied for the hottest June in the RSS satellite record (and second hottest in the constantly tweaked UAH satellite dataset).

Although I’m sure it’s just another coincidence, but Rutgers University’s Global Snow Lab again reports a record low snow cover in the entire northern hemisphere for the month of June (what appears to be a long term trend):

Rutgers snow 6-10

Other coincidences include New daily high temperature records beat new cold records by nearly 5 to 1 in June:

And of course, meteorologist Jeff Masters reported on June 26 records are being set globally:

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks….  The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C-110.8°F-set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

We’ve now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia’s hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan….  This week’s heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

And we’ve just had the 500-year deluges in Oklahoma City and China and Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge.

There still are lots of different ways to write about it, lots of different climate scientist interview to put it in context (see here) — and lots of different ways for media to dance around the subject [see “How hot is it? So hot that even the Washington Post mentions climate change (though not what causes it):  A survey of media coverage of the monster heat wave”].

To subscribe to the Climate Progress Daily Feed, click here.

Related Posts:

41 Responses to NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer ” despite “recent minimum of solar irradiance”

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    Add Clarence Page to the Op-Ed list this week :

    Climate change heats up again,0,2704150.column

  2. Peter Mizla says:

    Sunspots activity is at a record low – and has been for a time now.

    Whenever activity erupts again- we could see a very mild winter, or a summer hotter then this year.

  3. caerbannog says:

    Ever so slightly OT, but is the NY Times trying to make amends for its uneven reporting about global warming?

    Here’s a link to an editorial that just showed up at


    Perhaps now we can put the manufactured controversy known as Climategate behind us and turn to the task of actually doing something about global warming. On Wednesday, a panel in Britain concluded that scientists whose e-mail had been hacked late last year had not, as critics alleged, distorted scientific evidence to prove that global warming was occurring and that human beings were primarily responsible.


    Another (no less overblown) climate change controversy may also be receding from view. This one involves an incorrect assertion in the United Nations’ 3,000-page report on climate change in 2007 that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. The U.N. acknowledged the error and promised to tighten its review procedures. Even so, this and one or two other trivial mistakes were presented by some as further proof that scientists cannot be trusted and that warming is a hoax.


    Given the trajectory the scientists say we are on, one must hope that the academy’s report, and Wednesday’s debunking of Climategate, will receive as much circulation as the original, diversionary controversies.

  4. Peter Mizla says:

    Has the New York Times cried ‘surrender’ on climate change?
    We shall see…………

  5. Richard Brenne says:

    Here are two paragraphs from Clarence Page’ excellent op-ed piece that Colorado Bob (#1) links to:

    “But I would be scientifically wrong to make that suggestion, just as Inhofe and other deniers of climate change were wrong last winter when they suggested that any single weather event, whether it is a blizzard or a heat wave, offers evidence of climate change.

    Get the Chicago Tribune delivered to your home for only $1 a week >>

    As I wrote last winter, Inhofe and other snarky climate-change deniers were confusing the meaning of “weather” and “climate.” Weather is day to day. Climate is long-term. As climatologists say, climate change only shifts the odds in favor of certain extreme weather events like blizzards, floods, hurricanes and heat waves.”

    The subheading in the middle seemed a bit of a non-sequitur, but oh well.

    I’d like to change the mantra in the first paragraph to this:

    “The more dramatic the weather event, the more it provides evidence of climate change when it is put into its proper context and seen as part of a trend or pattern.”

    This is especially true of the most dramatic heat waves that include heat records, which in the 48 states are more than doubling cold records since 2000. With business as usual heat records are expected to outnumber cold records by 20 to 1 in 2050 and 50 to 1 in 2100.

    It is also true of the most dramatic precipitation events of all kinds, which also have increased and are expected to increase even more dramatically.

    Where it is cold enough to snow, these dramatic precipitation events can come as snow, as they did in the U.S. last winter. Snowstorms and record cold temperatures are two very different things, and should not be confused.

    Page’s last sentence should instead read something like “Climate scientists expect an increase in heat waves including record highs, fewer cold snaps including record lows, and more dramatic precipitation events of all kinds, including snowstorms where it is cold enough to snow. This and intensified hurricanes and other storms will lead to more flooding of all kinds.”

    We probably won’t see more hurricanes, but the ones we do see will often be intensified when they encounter warmer and often record-warm sea surface temperatures as the record four Category 5 hurricanes encountered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 demonstrates.

    Any particular location, individual or city might not see more blizzards (that include wind) where they are, but very cold places like at high elevations and latitudes can see more snowfall as average temperatures climb toward the freezing mark when the most snowfall can happen.

    It’s a little odd and counterintuitive that dramatic precipitation events will include record snowfalls in certain locations, while globally the average number of snow storms will drop while the average number of rain storms increases.

  6. catman306 says:

    This is no drill.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    “But I would be scientifically wrong to make that suggestion, just as Inhofe and other deniers of climate change were wrong last winter when they suggested that any single weather event, whether it is a blizzard or a heat wave, offers evidence of climate change.”

    Page’s Op-Ed


    Page misses something here, namely that it’s the kind of record, and how fast they are coming . It’s one thing to say Washington DC. set a new temperature record for the day , it’s quite another when one says they set a record for the entire month .

    One of the snow events last winter, when it came across Oklahoma City, set the all time snow record for that location. Dec. 24th- 25th. Six months later they set the all time rainfall record there.

    It’s these “all time” records that are getting broken more and more.

    I have caught 7.75 inches so far this month , the avg. for this period here is .74 inches. It would be interesting to make a list of cities that have set “all time ” record rainfall events in the last 3 years. That list will be quite long.

  8. Jim Eager says:

    The full paper Paulm’s New Scientist link refers to is available on-line here (html and pdf):
    Significantly warmer Arctic surface temperatures during the Pliocene indicated by multiple independent proxies
    A.P. Ballantyne1, D.R. Greenwood, J.S. Sinninghe Damsté, A.Z. Csank, J.J. Eberle1 and N. Rybczynski

  9. Paulm says:

    Again we find James Hansen first with the pediction and right.
    It’s time we all start to listen to what he is saying.

  10. ChinHsien says:

    The sun activity is recovering this year

  11. villabolo says:

    ChinHsien says:
    July 11, 2010 at 12:09 am

    The sun activity is recovering this year

    Could you please show a reference?

  12. toby says:


    There are good solar charts at

  13. Barry Walton says:


    Love what you do. Support you 100%. I think its helpful to see this, but would be good to be given links to where people can go to make a difference. I know you are a department responsible for reporting, but can you at least take 1% of that time and direct people on where to go to be activist in the reduction of this problem.

    I believe we can adapt, we can change, we can live within our means…either before or after tragedy.

    Friend of the planet

  14. fj2 says:

    re: Joe Romm end-of-post: ” . . . and lots of different ways for media to dance around the subject.”

    It is difficult to believe that this can go on for much longer.

  15. BBHY says:

    It is almost like the Earth just doesn’t care how much the deniers misinform, make false claims, distort facts, make stuff up, threaten, make ad hominem attacks, or obsess over Al Gore.

    The Earth just keeps getting hotter and hotter.

  16. Peter Mizla says:

    The Media is running in fear of the far right mouth pieces- they give the deniers a huge amount of press- while giving the legitimate scientific community lip service and attacks on their credibility.

    The Media is held captive by a bunch of thug like anarchists from the extreme right fringes- when the weather increasing causes enough havoc, economic damage and human dislocation perhaps all the TV outlets NBC, ABC, CBS and even MSNBC will take off their cowardly masks and begin to level with the public.

  17. Esop says:

    Sunspot activity is slightly on the rise (but still very low), after the lowest solar slump in more than a century. Due to thermal lag, the cooling effect from the minimum is at its max pretty much right now. It is just not enough to cancel the heating effect from a mediocre El Nino along with excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases emitted by human activity.

    The important thing to keep in mind is that the developing La Nina conditions will likely cool things somewhat for the remaining months of 2010 and extend into 2011. Don’t be surprised if 2011 will be cooler than 2010, but temperatures will rebound once the La Nina fades, with global and local records broken again, most likely in 2012.

    Important to educate the public on the fact that that the increase in global mean temp is not a straight line, temps sometimes drop slightly, like in 2008, but the overall trend is up.

    Just like in 2008, deniers will make a lot of noise when temps might slightly drop in 2011. The more people aware of this beforehand, the better.

  18. fj2 says:

    22. Esop, “Important to educate the public . . . increase in global temp is not a straight line . . .”

    The sooner the better when local news and weather reports include climate change reports as well.

    Some news shows might experience a jump in ratings.

    Being so complex, it may become a real art to explain daily this extremely important subject to the broadest spectrum of the population.

  19. 17. Barry Walton: No, NOAA cannot do that–govt agencies do science and stay out of policy. It’s up to us to use the many tools at our disposal on the Internet–Twitter, Facebook, blogs–for advocacy. You can see some of what I do at

  20. jyyh says:

    answer on problems of reporting about global warming might be:”since hot records outnumber the cool records 2:1, I’ll call every other hot record caused by global warming.” The same would go for exceptional rain and drought events too.

    We hit the 30 Celsius mark today here in northern Europe, and it’s predicted to continue the whole week! Something unheard of in the 1980s.

  21. Leif says:

    Good thought there jyyh, @25: In forty years when it is predicted to be 20 :: 1, nineteen out of twenty hot days will be because of man’s own hand and our inability to look at reality and make rational decisions.

  22. ChinHsien says:

    Sun Spotless Days:
    2010 total: 35 days (18%)
    2009 total: 260 days (71%)

    sorry for not posting the link in my previous reply.

    I agree to Esop at #22, at least partially.
    Nevertheless, the Earth dipole effect seems to be stronger than what I imagined. The Arctic ice extent in the past few days remains as constant.

    This may also be the reason why polar ice center stop updating the ice volume after 18 June. (only my personal guess)

    To me, I do worry that it could be another point that a climate skeptics could attack on. But I do feel a bit released from my depressed and hopeless feeling.

    Btw, for averaged individual, the most powerful change in mitigating & adapting the climate change, is to switch to plant-based diet.

  23. BBHY says:

    Peter Mizla,
    There is no such thing as an independent media. All of those media outlets are owned by big corporations, and reflect the views of those corporations.

    They are not “in fear of the far right”. In the case of Fox News, they are the far right.

  24. J Bowers says:

    David Greenwod, co-author of the Ballantyne et al paper New Scientist discusses, posted a superb comment at Climatesight which explains paleoclimate very clearly and is a highly recommended read.

    He then goes on to explain how he used to be a sceptic but the actual science has turned him around completely.

    Further down is his summary of the paper’s implications.

    The implication of our research is that we may already have passed a tipping point for major increases in Arctic temperatures due to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2. Our research is based on a fossil site on Ellesmere Island that shows Boreal forests (like those that span most of northern Canada south of the tree-line, and also Russia and Alaska and Scandanavia) were present, including larch, poplars, white cedar, and animals such as beavers, bears, deer, etc.

  25. Chris Winter says:

    Peter Mizla wrote: “Interesting book.”

    I was impressed by Dr. Ward’s last book, Under a Green Sky, and I’m looking forward to reading The Flooded Earth.

  26. ian hilliar says:

    It is midwinter down here in Australia, and we have recently recorded the coldest June day in 40 years in Melbourne and Sydney, and the coldest June day ever recorded in Alice Springs. Have a look at the snow and ice data for Antarctica,which is going through the roof. Unfortunately, not yet a lot of snow for the snowfields, but we can only hope

  27. Sheila says:

    Well what happening in northen California? Its just the opposite>

  28. Janlin says:

    And I thought I was the only one who had noticed how relentless the wave heats have been in the last 6 weeks. We are practically melting here in the south.

  29. Zach says:

    I find it amusing that the people who vehemently (and rightly) discouraged connection between last winter’s record cold temperatures the global climate, are the same exact people who are now pushing the connection between the summer heat waves and global warming.

  30. Mateo says:

    Doesn’t quite work like that Zach. On this website you would have found Joe Romm talking about how the temperature extremes and other extreme weather conditions are symptoms of climate change.

    Nice try.

  31. Dustin says:

    It’s a good thing that Climate gate happened, otherwise this kind of data might be alarming. If anyone needs me I’ll be denial…

  32. IndianaJohn says:

    Ok I believe it. Be sure to come back in January when we really need to feel it.

  33. Bonnie says:

    There are three things wrong with this claim. First, we all; saw with our own eyes a harsh winter. We are seeing with our own eyes snow in Wyoming in June, and Calgary and Alberta getting hammered with snow in July, record LOW temperatures in San Diego and Los Angeles.

    Second, the sensors used to report these record setting temperatures are sited near sources of heat, and comparison with surrounding sensors confirms the high readings are inconsistent with the surrounding temperatures.

    Third, NASA (Never A Straight Answer) is a government agency, subject to pressures that come with the funding, and has previously been caught using bogus data to support the global warming agenda

  34. Michael Tucker says:

    Ah, Los Angeles temps HAD been below normal but NO RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES. This week we have been pretty toasty. Please hunt for better data to support your conspiracy theories. If the NASA reports are wrong please supply data to support this.

  35. Urod says:

    The sea level rising for the last few decades is NOT lying ! QED , Period .

  36. Mrbang says:

    I suppose that the best way to fight climate change is to continue building power plants. Perhaps a planetary air conditioner… or perhaps no air conditioning. Folks in charge don’t seem to think about the fact that they create heat twice to cool a building.