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After the hottest decade on record, it’s the hottest year on record, hottest week of all time in satellite record* and we may be at record low Arctic sea ice volume

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"After the hottest decade on record, it’s the hottest year on record, hottest week of all time in satellite record* and we may be at record low Arctic sea ice volume"

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But how about the world’s heaviest hailstone?

FoxNews had me on twice for the big snowstorms (during the hottest winter on record), but no invitations during the record-smashing heat waves hitting the nation and world.  Go figure!

This is Roy Spencer’s much rejiggered UAH satellite data comparing 2010 lower trososphere temperatures (green) with average temps (blue) and record highs since 1979 (purple):

UAH 7-10

*It would appear we’ve set the all-time record high absolute temperature in the satellite dataset for the last week or two, but see John Christy caveat below.

NOAA’s annual State of the Climate Report for 2009 (video here) reports that “Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries“:

Each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the decade before. At the time, the 1980s was the hottest decade on record. In the 1990s, every year was warmer than the average of the previous decade. The 2000s were warmer still.”The temperature increase of one degree Fahrenheit over the past 50 years may seem small, but it has already altered our planet,” said Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report and chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. “Glaciers and sea ice are melting, heavy rainfall is intensifying and heat waves are more common. And, as the new report tells us, there is now evidence that over 90 percent of warming over the past 50 years has gone into our ocean.”

And the 2010s will be the hottest decade on record and then the 2020s will be the hottest decade on record.  The only question is whether humanity is going to continue to staying on this self-destructive emissions path so that every decade this century will be the hottest on record, with an ultimate temperature increase by 2100 of perhaps 9°F or more:

McClatchy reports something that CP readers have known for a while:

Global warming: NASA says it’s the hottest year on record

Scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported recently that the average global temperature was higher over the past 12 months than during any other 12-month period in history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released corroborating data, adding that the past four months, including June, have each individually been the hottest on record as well….

The average global temperature, computed over a 12-month period, reached a new record in May and held steady for the month of June, he said. This was despite the recent minimum in solar activity, which should have had a cooling effect on Earth.Apparently, Ruedy said, the solar cycle “has much less impact than the warming trend.”

A La Ni±a seems all but certain as central tropical Pacific ocean temperatures have been dropping steadily, which is perhaps what makes the satellite data at top so surprising, since it tends to be the most sensitive to the El Ni±o Southern oscillation.

You can do your own graphing of the UAH data (click here).  The BlackBoard reports that Roy Spencer says:

The record highs and lows are based upon the entire MSU MT record back to 1979. To do this, we intercompared our official UAH TMT product, including the average annual cycle added to the anomalies, with just the Aqua averages over the Aqua period of record since mid-2002. This provided an intercalibration between Aqua-only and UAH official. This then allowed us to go back through and use all of the UAH TMT data to find record highs and lows back through 1979.

This is something I and others have requested for a while, so I take it that the plot at the top does in fact show the lower troposphere experienced the hottest week in the satellite record — though there are presumably recalibrations before the final reporting, since, for instance, March 2010 was easily the hottest March in the satellite record (UAH and RSS), but the top plot doesn’t indicate that.

UPDATE:  John Christy emails me with the following caveat on the UAH temperatures for July from that website:

Please be aware that the values displayed have not been completely calibrated for the entire period (this has to do with some matching between the two different channel weighting functions through the annual cycle that is done in our normal processing at the end of the month but which is not done on the day-to-day chart you show.)  Improving the daily chart is work that is on-going.

And while everyone’s eyes are on the Arctic sea ice extent data, which right now appears not to be matching 2007′s record-setting pace, the Polar Science Center’s PIOMAS model puts the far more important metric of Arctic ice volume at a record-smashing low:

PIOMAS 7-10

Daily Sea Ice volume anomalies for each day are computed relative to the 1979 to 2009 average for that day. The trend for the 1979- present period is shown in blue. Shaded areas show one and two standard deviations from the trend.

Note that PSC says, “September Ice Volume was lowest in 2009 at 5,800 km^3 or 67% below its 1979 maximum.”  If I’m reading the two graphs right, then we are pretty close to the all-time volume record right now.

If you want to know why PIOMAS is a credible model , you can read the post by the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s Walt Meier on this at WattsUpWithCrap — yes, he really posted there:

PIOMAS has been specifically validated for ice thickness using submarine and satellite data (http://psc.apl.washington.edu/zhang/IDAO/retro.html). Of course, the PIOMAS model estimates are not perfect, but they appear to capture the main features of the ice cover in response to forcings over seasonal and interannual scales….

PIOMAS includes much more up-to-date model components (developed during the late 1990s early 2000s) with significant improvements in how well the model is able to simulate the growth, melt, and motion of the ice cover. In particular, the model do a much better job at realistically moving the ice around the basin and redistributing the thickness (i.e., rafting, ridging) in response to wind forcing. Thus, the thickness fields are likely to be more realistic than PIPS. The primary references for PIOMAS are: Zhang and Rothrock (2003), Zhang and Rothrock (2001), Winton (2000), Zhang and Hibler (1997), Dukowicz and Smith (1994).

… for the reasons stated above, I would trust the PIOMAS model results more for seasonal and interannual changes in the ice cover. I very much doubt that anyone familiar with the model details would unequivocally trust PIPS over PIOMAS.

But what about the PIOMAS volume anomaly estimates? How can they be showing a record low volume anomaly when there is less of the thinner first-year ice than in previous years as seen in ice age data? Doesn’t this mean that PIOMAS results are way off? Well, first, it is quite possible that the model may currently be underestimating ice thickness. No model is perfect. However, there is a possible explanation for the low volume and the PIOMAS model may largely be correct.

The areas that in recent years have been first-year ice that are now covered by 2nd and 3rd year ice will increase the volume – in those regions. However, compared to the last two years, there is even less of the oldest ice (see images below – I also included 1985 as an example of 1980s ice conditions for comparison). The loss of the oldest, thickest ice may more than offset the gain in volume from the 2nd and 3rd year ice. Also, it’s been a relatively warm winter in the Arctic, so first-year ice is likely a bit thinner than in recent years. Finally, the extent has been less than the last two years for the past couple of months. So the PIOMAS estimate that we are at record low volume anomaly is not implausible.

NSIDC thickness

Early May ice age for: 1985 (top-left), 2008 (top-right), 2009 (bottom-left), and 2010 (bottom-right). OW = open water (no ice); 1 = ice that is 0-1 year old (first-year ice), 2 = ice that is 1-2 years old (2nd year ice), etc. Images courtesy of C. Fowler and J. Maslanik, University of Colorado, Boulder. Updated from Maslanik et al., 2007.

Regardless of what happens this summer though, the most important fact is that, despite some areas of the Arctic being a bit thicker this year, the long-term thinning and declining summer ice extent trend continues.

In his subsequent post, Dr. Meier debunks more of their nonsense and concludes:

There is little doubt in the sea ice community that during summer the Arctic can become ice-free and will become ice-free as temperatures continue to rise.

Duh.  I suppose that will only come as a shock to Watts, Goddard, and their fellow Kool-Aid drinkers.

Finally, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing on this in the scientific literature — and I have great confidence that the disinformers will assert it must be evidence against the theory of human-caused global warming — but Accuweather reports:

A 1.9-pound hailstone plummeted to the ground as high winds and ample rain continued to fall last Friday afternoon. The massive hailstone is likely on its way to setting a new U.S. national record.

Discovered by ranch hand Les Scott, the hailstone measured 8 inches in diameter with an 18.5-inch circumference, and many believe the current national record hasn’t a chance.

“Officially, where records have been kept, this will be the U.S. record and world record for weight. So very impressive,” said Mike Fowle of the National Weather Service in a Keloland Television article.

Sources from the National Climatic Data Center say that the National Climate Extremes Committee will issue a statement this week stating that indeed a new national record has been set for the largest hailstone in both weight and diameter for the U.S. The previous record was held by a hailstone that fell seven years ago, in Aurora, Neb.

Hail and High Water?  Sorry, couldn’t resist!

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38 Responses to After the hottest decade on record, it’s the hottest year on record, hottest week of all time in satellite record* and we may be at record low Arctic sea ice volume

  1. Lazarous says:

    Hot temperatures are climate, cold temperatures are weather.

    [JR: Record-smashing temperatures over extended periods of time and space that had been predicted by climate scientists are worth reporting. Moderately cool temperatures that don't set all-time records and don't cover very large areas of the globe are merely fodder for the disinformers.]

  2. Esop says:

    Yep, I noticed that new all time high AMSU graph myself today. Very handy. With these record breaking UAH temperatures, I for one am worried about how hot its gonna be when global warming starts again (since the earth is now cooling, according to the “skeptics”).

  3. Esop says:

    Lazarus: That is correct. Hot local temperatures that brings the global average to an all time high is indication of a warming climate.
    If the global average temperature had now dropped to the lowest level since records started, would you then make a great fuzz about places like Death Valley still being comfortably warm in August. If not, why? Double standards?

  4. catman306 says:

    with an ultimate temperature increase by 2010 of perhaps 9°F or more:
    (shouldn’t that be ’2100′?

    Super hail! Coming to a thunderstorm near you. (Along with super bolts of lightening!) Can you imagine the energy released when a 1.5 pound hailstone hits your car or your roof at 100 mph?

    Ever wonder what other records Nature will break for us as she shows us who’s boss? Probably ALL the records in the warming or energetic direction, and new categories of records will emerge from what we thought was the noise of data as linear variables demonstrate that they are not linear over all ranges. What a scary thought: All the weather records will be broken.

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Green view: The geography of geoengineering http://www.economist.com/node/21008696

  6. villabolo says:

    Lazarous says:
    July 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Hot temperatures are climate, cold temperatures are weather.
    ****************

    Lazarus, when Nasa says a particular year is the hottest they are not talking about every REGION that has HOT weather. They are talking about the WHOLE Earth’s average INCLUDING THE COLD WINTERS!

    When some other folks I know talk about the COLD weather and how it should be receiving as much attention as the HOT, they are either being disingenuous or dense. ALL the temperatures; high, low and everything in between; have to be-aaaahhhh-GLOBALLY AVERAGED.

    That is why it’s irrelevant that Australia and the tip of South America may have set records. When hot AND cold records AVERAGED together go above previous years’ records, that is climate.

  7. Lamont says:

    Of course once the North Pole is ice-free, they’ll still argue that it’s all natural variability, and probably quote something out of Nostradamus as evidence.

  8. Leif says:

    “In oceans around the world, there has been a surprisingly large and extensive decline in phytoplankton – the tiny algae that keep marine food webs afloat.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/07/29/2967447.htm

  9. Hail yes!

    A clever scientist could calculate the updraft wind speed required to lift a 25 ounce hailstone… I expect it would be very strong. The thing to watch is how common this will be.

  10. BB says:

    Man…no love for Coffeyville anymore…

    ..Can we perhaps have a different hail category for conglomerates? Or, maybe evaluate the diameter of the widest interior ring of the hail stone?

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Storms of My Grandchildren by Dr. James Hansen

    “The role of money in our capitals is the biggest problem for democracy and for the planet.” “I have argued that it is time to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and demand no new coal plants.”
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1557

    Great article about Hansen’s book – stunning 5193 comments.

  12. Colorado Bob says:

    PARIS — Scientists hit Greenland bedrock this week after five years of drilling through 2.5 kilometres (1.6-mile) of solid ice, a 14-nation consortium announced Wednesday.

    Ice core samples from Eemian period 130,000 to 115,000 years ago — the last time Earth’s climate was a few degrees warmer than today — could help forecast the impacts of current global warming, the researchers said.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hHCf3mtufTcJWUypQMe069Hc9P6A

  13. Colorado Bob says:

    The Bloomberg story about the NOAA report today -

    The amount of humidity has risen, while glaciers, sea ice and snow cover have all shrunk, the report concluded.

    “The scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable,” according to the statement.

    Arndt said he is alarmed by the amount of heat energy being absorbed by the ocean, 93.4 percent of all warming. Water holds heat better than air, so warmth will linger longer.

    “It builds the momentum in the system,” Arndt said.

    Evidence of ocean warming has been detected as deep as 6,000 feet below the surface, according to NOAA.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-28/earth-shown-to-be-warming-by-unmistakable-scientific-evidence-noaa-says.html
    —————–

    I’ve always thought that the heat sink of the oceans was the real wild card in this puzzle. Some nasty surprises coming we haven’t modeled well.

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Looking at the lack of progress – worldwide and now with geo-pew-pew sulphur wishful illusions, the planet – fricken everything seems doomed.
    So HOW will the system – civilization – anybody – plan to survive? When the ocean literally boils over with methane bubbles? Why is nobody talking about the urgent need for carbon negative action and worldwide collaboration, i.e. UN climate treaty. Instead incompetence – human error rules. Sigh.

  15. tc says:

    As a regular reader of CP, I’m a bit perplexed as to why I’m now seeing a BP greenwashing advertisement right under the About Climate Progress box. I thought this can’t be serious, it must be a joke, another bit of appropriately biting satire. But no, it appears real: a paid link to propaganda put out by a known disinformer source.

    Joe, please explain what that is doing there?! I can’t make sense of it.

  16. Peter Mizla says:

    Colorado Bob #14

    Those ‘surprises’ you warn of are like waiting for the next shoe to drop in this growing drama. I have to admit I myself am happy to be alive at this most important turning point in human history.

    I recebtly finished Hansen’s ‘Storms of My Grandchildren’- a very politically neutral well written book. The science is plain and explained without pompousness or condescension.

  17. bill says:

    tc – I expect the ads are simply placed by the agency’s servers, with JR having no control over their content. ScienceBlogs has some really awful ads, for instance.

    Just a note Firefox + AdBlock Plus (+ NoScript) = no ads for BP – or any other party you don’t want to hear from – ever.

    (Sorry if that’s undermining the financial model for the blog!)

  18. Richard L says:

    Joe,

    I too find the BP ad to be very objectionable.

    [JR: I'll see what I can do.]

  19. Peter Mizla says:

    The American Media basically ignored the NOAA News. CBS yesterday had the NOAA report on their Headline Breaking News-nothing at CNN or ABC. USA Today had a decent story. So much for an independent media- there little remaining- they are being muzzled.

    The foreign media gave the report substantial coverage.

    The Important news on US media was a bear attack at Yellowstone & Chelsea Clinton’s’ wedding.

  20. Peter Mizla says:

    The American Media basically ignored the NOAA News. CBS yesterday had the NOAA report on their Headline Breaking News-nada at CNN or ABC. USA Today had a decent story. So much for an independent media-

    The foreign media gave the report substantial coverage.

  21. Bob Ashworth says:

    Don’t blame BP. They wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for our greedy consumption of oil.

  22. cervantes says:

    Something is wrong with the sea ice maps. I see areas in 2010 that are colored green — i.e. 3 year ice — that were colored light blue — i.e. open water — in 2009. And many more impossibilities.

    [JR: I don't see lots of those areas, but I can ask Meier.]

  23. cervantes says:

    It doesn’t matter if there are “lots” of those areas — there shouldn’t be any. And actually, I do see a lot, it’s essentially characteristic of the central region which I take it is close to the pole.

    [JR: Turns out ice moves! Meier explains, "Yes, there was a lot of ice motion south and west inti the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska. It will be interesting to see how much of that survives because in recent years most ice has been melting out there. There is a big chunk of very old ice(>5 years), just east of Point Barrow, which is just sitting there melting like crazy."]

  24. BenjaminG says:

    cervantes wrote:

    I see areas in 2010 that are colored green — i.e. 3 year ice — that were colored light blue — i.e. open water — in 2009. And many more impossibilities.

    [JR: I don't see lots of those areas, but I can ask Meier.]
    #
    cervantes says:
    July 29, 2010 at 10:31 am

    It doesn’t matter if there are “lots” of those areas — there shouldn’t be any. And actually, I do see a lot, it’s essentially characteristic of the central region which I take it is close to the pole.

    I think this a confusion between 2cnd year ice and open water, which have similar colors on the map. There is/should be essentially zero open water near the pole in May.

    [JR: Problem solved. Meier writes me, "Yes, there was a lot of ice motion south and west into the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska. It will be interesting to see how much of that survives because in recent years most ice has been melting out there. There is a big chunk of very old ice(>5 years), just east of Point Barrow, which is just sitting there melting like crazy."]

  25. alank says:

    One phenomenon of utility for clearing ice from a road surface is to break up the ice. It melts much faster when this is done. The smaller the chunks of ice in the sea the quicker they will melt, all other things being equal.

  26. alank says:

    P.S. if the temperature is dropping in the Pacific Ocean, that seems to imply that higher amount of heat energy is being released to the atmosphere.

  27. RoySV says:

    The posting:
    “…with an ultimate temperature increase by 2100 of perhaps 9°F or more…”

    Sadly, for people living at that time there will be no ultimate at 2100. There will just be continued warming and sea level rise continuing – we don’t know how much longer because we don’t know how/when GHG’s will be reduced – if EVER!

    Climate physics cares not about our ethereal decimal system conceit.

  28. Susan says:

    When the ocean literally boils over with methane bubbles? Why is nobody talking about the urgent need for carbon negative action and worldwide collaboration, i.e. UN climate treaty. Instead incompetence – human error rules. Sigh.

  29. Michael says:

    P.S. if the temperature is dropping in the Pacific Ocean, that seems to imply that higher amount of heat energy is being released to the atmosphere.

    This paper (NOAA ESRL) seems to suggest that the record land warmth in 2007 was partially due to the ocean conditions present (i.e. La Nina), but mainly due to GHG forcing.

    Also, if you look at temperatures over 2007-2008 (GISS), after the initial peak from El Nino, global land-ocean temperatures were more or less steady until near the end of 2007, despite falling ocean temperatures, which isn’t surprising because a lag of about 6 months is present between ENSO and temperatures (and if ENSO has a more immediate effect on ocean temperatures, then that must mean land temperatures rise, I’m guessing until La Nina nears its peak and heat export out of the Pacific stops; this would also explain why last year had relatively cool land temperatures while ocean temperatures warmed to record levels).

  30. catman306 says:

    Pardon my ignorance. Does anyone know whether the kinetic energy of a falling or disintegrating glacier or ice sheet is modeled for? Do the melting equations include this enormous energy, which will ultimately be heat?

  31. grzejnik says:

    >But how about the world’s heaviest hailstone?

    How about South American temperatures?

  32. Leif says:

    alank @ 27: … “seems to imply that higher amount of heat energy is being released to the atmosphere.” Not necessarily. Most of the heat is transferred into the surrounding ocean with mixing and trade wind driven subduction.

  33. Michael says:

    How about South American temperatures?

    How about taking the cold in South America into perspective?

    7 day average surface temperature anomalies (Climate Prediction Center)

    Looks like anomalies of 2-3°C below average at the most, as opposed to off the charts (>7°C) positive anomalies over Asia, and yes, even a bit in South America, where only SOME areas are currently cold. Look at Australia and South Africa as well – what happened to the cold that was hyped up in Australia, or the cold in South Africa before that? Of course, it was only a brief cold snap, as still happens. This is exactly what you’d expect with global warming.

    And if you think surface stations are biased in some way, how about the satellite temperatures (from Spencer no less)?

    Also, you can look at recent temperatures (30, 90 and 365 days) for various places around the globe via the CPC here (for example, Parana, Argentina for the past 90 days – not so cold now, is it?)

  34. villabolo says:

    cervantes says:
    July 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Something is wrong with the sea ice maps. I see areas in 2010 that are colored green — i.e. 3 year ice — that were colored light blue — i.e. open water — in 2009. And many more impossibilities.
    *************************

    I have been looking desperately for one particular type of Ice Thickness maps. I can find everything else, but a handful, and would like to know how I can access the archives for this peculiar type of ice map.

    They are tri-colored, high resolution images, that use Purple for <1yr; light Blue for 1-2yr; and Green for multi-year ice. An example:

    http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20091005_Figure5.png

  35. grzejnik says:

    #34 thats weather. You read an awful lot into my one sentence though, seems like you have a perception of what I think based on that one sentence, totally amazing! Have a great night!

  36. Michael says:

    villabolo, NSIDC posts those maps in their Arctic Sea Ice News updates, and archived updates are available via the drop-down lists on the right hand side; you’ll have to look at all of the dates, since they don’t have a centralized archive for specific images. The August 22, 2007 update includes an animation of ice age since 1982 (not the same colors as the one you posted). Also, they only have archives going back through 2006.

  37. pete best says:

    According to Real Climate (ACC) climate change is 35 years old and that means no action globally of any noticeable amount in land use changes or fossil fuel usage, in fact its all going up by 2 to 2.5 % per annum. I took a spreadsheet and did the numbers. 2% growth per annum is 35 years to double, Doubling growth means 60 billion tonnes per annum CO2 emitted and when you accumulate it all you get another 1.2 trillion tonnes added and that halved is 600 billion tonnes added in a mere 35 years time.

    If sinks weaken as in some scenarios they are projected to do then we could see 700-800 billion tonnes added to the atmosphere come the middle of the century. Have we added only 200 billion tonnes thus far?