NASA: Hottest November on record, 2010 likely hottest year on record globally — despite deepest solar minimum in a century

In U.S., heat records far exceed cold for 9th consecutive month

NASA released its monthly global temperature data, revealing November was easily the hottest in the temperature record.  The “meteorological year” — December to November — was also the hottest on record.  Calendar year 2010 appears poised to be the hottest on record.

These records are especially impressive because we’re in the middle of a strong La Ni±a, which would normally cool off temperatures for a few months (relatively speaking), and we’ve been in “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”  It’s just hard to stop the march of manmade global warming, other than by sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions, that is.

As for the U.S., Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate analyzed the data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) for his post, “November Temperature Extremes: Heat Records Far Exceed Cold For 9th Consecutive Month,” which notes:

As they have for every month in 2010 except January and February, U.S. daily maximum temperature records far exceeded minimum records in November. Thanks to a cold surge in the last week of the month, the ratio of heat records to cold records declined to 1.8:1, but the ratio of 2.7:1 for the year to date is still well above that of the most recent decade.

Heat records dominated cold records by a wide margin for most of the month, reaching a peak of 126 on the 23rd. Daily cold records, on the other hand, peaked at 90 on the 25th.

Readers know I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming.

If you want to know how to judge whether the 2.7:1 ratio for the year to data is a big deal, here’s what a 2009 National Center for Atmospheric Research study found for 1,800 weather stations in continental US over the past six decades:


NCAR explained their findings this way:

Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.

Climate change is making itself felt in terms of day-to-day weather in the United States,” says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “The ways these records are being broken show how our climate is already shifting.”

So this year is on the hot side.

It seems pretty likely that the UK’s Met[eorological], part of its Defence Ministry, will also record 2010 as the hottest year on record — once they correct their flawed data in a few months — see The deniers were half right: The Met Office Hadley Centre had flawed data “” but it led them to UNDERestimate the rate of recent global warming.

As an aside, I asked NASA’s James Hansen whether they would have to make a similar correction as the Met Office in the ocean data, and he wrote:

This correction of ocean data will have a small (warming) effect on our analysis.  I don’t think that it will have a noticeable effect on a graph.  But it does reinforce our conclusion that warming has been continuous over the past few decades — the contention that warming “stopped” in 1998 is wrong….

The effect on our ocean data, I suspect, will be smaller than the recent 0.03C/decade that Kennedy et al. state as upper limit for the effect.

It remains the case that both NASA and the Met Office do not fully account for all of the warming in the Arctic, the place on the earth where it has warmed the most, but NASA does a better job (since the Met Office just excludes the area entirely) and so its numbers are almost certainly more accurate (see “Why are Hadley and CRU withholding vital climate data from the public?” and “What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?“).

So even if NASA declares 2010 a statistical tie with 2005, in reality it likely will be the hottest year.

As for the much-rejiggered UAH satellite data, it appears that even in the lower troposphere, 2010 temperatures will statistically tie the record for the hottest year, as Spencer reports on his blog.  Although he has been been making increasingly unscientific and conspiratorial claims (see here), he does put out a nice figure every month:


NASA hasn’t yet posted its nice comparison chart of year-to-date temperatures updated for November yet (found here), but when they do, I’ll repost it.  But in its place, here is there November 2010 anomaly figure:

Fig 1: Global map

Note: Gray areas signify missing data.

Here’s the caption for the top two figures:

– Total number of daily high temperature, low temperature, and high minimum temperature records set in the U.S. for spring 2010 (March-April-May) and monthly from June through November 2010, data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center, background image © Kevin Ambrose ( Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC’s Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations. All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.
– Daily numbers of high and low temperature records set in the U.S. for November 2010, data source as above

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45 Responses to NASA: Hottest November on record, 2010 likely hottest year on record globally — despite deepest solar minimum in a century

  1. From Peru says:

    It really amazing that in the middle of a moderate-to-strong La Niña global temperatures are INCREASING from four straight months!

    (That is, increasing after bottoming in July)

    With respect to ENSO evolution, you can follow the NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies here:

    Montly NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies are near the limit between moderate and strong,-1.5ºC, and it appear that a month ago they bottomed at -1.6ºC in October, and now the Central Pacific has warmed 0.13ºC in November.

    If you want more time resolution, weekly NINO 3.4 have warmed 0.5 ºC since the minimum of -1.8 ºC a month ago.

    Subsurface temperatures in the Tropical Pacific had warmed also:

    All indicate that La Niña has now bottomed and SST in the Tropical Pacific will now warm slowly in the coming months, so the 20010-2011 event will not be as strong as the 2007-2008 La Niña. In fact, I doubt it will be considered “strong” but just moderate.

  2. Esop says:

    #1 (Michael): That polar view of the NH is just plain frightening.
    It puts the current cold weather in Europe in a new perspective, so I’m sure the newspapers will print that map real soon.

  3. GasMan says:

    What I do not understand is, why is this not covered in the mainstream news? The general American public is oblivious. Was there a news story about 2009 being tied for second warmest year on record? I did not see anything about it. And now this year having how many, 5 individual months(or more) that were the warmest ever? 2010 now poised to be the warmest, or at least in the top 3. And hardly anything about the extreme weather events around the globe this summer. Coral bleaching. Ocean acidification. Drop in ocean phytoplankton. We need someone to connect the dots in front of the general public…
    We need a press conference! A prime time TV show! Where is Steven Chu? Or James Hansen? Where is our president? This needs to be brought to the attention of the general public. If we hope to develop some momentum for clean energy legislation, the public needs to be awakened to what is Climate Change is doing today. If we can’t get the public to demand clean energy, the politicians will never listen.

  4. Chad says:

    Don’t you idiots get it? We’ve had MASSIVE GLOBAL COOLING since March!

    At this rate, we will hit absolute zero in a mere 1600 years!

  5. dbmetzger says:

    and one of the first signs of melting are the glaciers.
    Argentina Glacier Under Threat
    As world leaders wrap up a climate change summit in Cancun, countries around the world are witnessing worrying effects of global warming. Scientists say time is running out to save melting glaciers such as Upsala Glacier, a receding glacier in Argentina.

  6. Climate Hawk says:

    Check it out, even Exxon believes in global warming now. They’re helping the Navy plan for an ice free arctic!

  7. Michael says:

    I find it amazing that November actually broke the record set just last year – despite ENSO being in the opposite state, and that isn’t even the first month to do so, as September broke the record also (in the satellite record). Especially since the ENSO-temperature lag of 3-6 months should be in effect by now. Not only that, GISS has been rising since July – as La Nina started developing – and the last month as warm as November was April.

  8. Solar Jim says:

    We are fiddling on financial instruments while the planet burns and floods, and the ecosphere continues a death spiral. Global warming is becoming history as we approach grain killing summers, like that projected for 2012. Welcome the first two horsemen, pestilence and famine.

    Nice going to World Bank for their recent multi-billion dollar investment for coal burning in South Africa. Should speed things up a bit.

    By the way, if oil/coal companies and their investment banksters are rich (from government credit and cash) then can they eat money? After an industrial era of fossil materials burning, emitting one trillion tons of carbonic acid gas so far, better start practicing.

  9. paulm says:

    I just cant understand why scientist who can see the whole picture relay this story like this. I can see how the public gets confused…

    Greenland Ice Sheet Melt Caused By Short-Term Extreme Weather Not Gradual Temperature Rise

    [JR: Bad framing. I’ll do a piece next week.]

  10. Michael T. says:

    For a comparison, here is how much cooler the planet was in Nov. 1975 when we had a similar La Nina event. The anomaly for Nov. 1975 was -0.17

    Nov. ’75 global temperature map:

  11. Michael T. says:

    NASA: 2010 Meteorological Year Warmest Ever

    “According to NASA climatologist and Goddard director James Hansen, the main driver for the increased warmth was the Arctic, where temperatures in Hudson Bay were “10˚C above normal” for November. That month, Hansen says, “sea ice was absent while normally that [body of water] is covered by sea ice.” Water devoid of ice absorbs much more solar radiation than water covered with ice, which reflects much of the radiation back toward space.”

  12. Mike says:

    #10: Better headline would be: Extreme rains caused by climate change aggravate warming and are behind current rapid melting.

  13. Mike says:

    #10: On WUWT Watts wrote this headline: “Upcoming paper in Nature – Greenland ice sheet melt: “it’s weather, not climate””

    I pointed out that the quote is fake and distorts the meaning of the paper (really just the press release). I said he likely knew this and knew many of his readers would not read carefully enough to pick this up.

    My post did not make it past moderation.

  14. From Peru says:

    GISSTEMP has finally updated the timeseries:

    A late 2010 spike really astounding, given that La Niña is in the moderate-to-strong (no strong, however) territory!

  15. Michael says:

    One thing to note about the current La Nina is that sea surface temperatures have been by far the weakest variable in the MEI dataset, at around 1 standard deviation below average, compared to 2 or more for all of the other variables (the latest update still has it at 3rd strongest despite weakening; at its peak, some variables were over 3 STD while SSTs were only around 1 STD). This is also despite very strong cold subsurface anomalies, which peaked at nearly 5 STD below average, so something seems to be preventing the SSTs from falling much, perhaps the high global temperature.

    (see the most recent anomalies section)

    East Pacific subsurface anomalies (warm water volume):

    Also, the question is, which ENSO variable is the best to use to predict global temperature trends? Some say the SOI, while others say the MEI (I myself think that the MEI would be best since it considers many factors). Sea surface temperatures on the other hand directly affect surface temperatures, thus have an immediate effect.

  16. BillD says:

    Slightly OT. Joe should do a posting on John Cooks new guide, published over at Skeptical Science on Wednesday. It’s a very impressive summary of evidence for the general audience. Really nice graphics and color and simple arguments. Something that an average Congressman might even understand. It’s available for free distribution as a PDF.

  17. John McCormick says:

    RE # 4 GasMan

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    “We need a press conference! A prime time TV show! Where is Steven Chu? Or James Hansen? Where is our president?”

    If that NASA GISS Surface Temperature Analysis for the Arctic in Nov. 2010 is as I see it, that is the most frightening image of global warming that I have ever witnessed. And, I’ve been following this since 1981.

    In a few years our global population will be living with consequences of a summer months total Arctic sea Ice melt back and all its ramifications. We are less than a decade away from “game over” and this was supposed to be happening in 2030 and beyond.

    Its not a press conference we need. We have to go to the air raid sirens and blast them until people realize the global warming comet is less than a decade from destroying the Arctic permafrost cover when hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 and CH4 escape into the atmosphere.

    Is anyone else getting the sick feeling we have eclipsed the mitigation marathon and entered the adaptation arena where we don’t know the rules nor what is the timetable…only that there will be mostly losers in a game we have never played.

    John McCormick

  18. Michael T. says:

    National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Report:

    State of the Climate National Overview – November 2010

    Temperature & Precipitation Time Series graphs:

  19. MarkB says:

    Mike writes (#13):

    “I pointed out that the quote is fake and distorts the meaning of the paper (really just the press release). I said he likely knew this and knew many of his readers would not read carefully enough to pick this up.”

    Watts might have been offended that you assumed he was smart enough to know better. It’s actually not so easy to determine that one way or the other. Some are so blinded by ideology they miss the obvious, whether deliberately or not.

  20. Mike says:

    MarkB #20,

    That’s certainly possible. But note that the headline has not changed and now he cannot claim it is a honest misreading on his part. It is a lie.

  21. paulm says:

    And its looking like were going to have 2011 and possible/probably 12 all at this high level. Interesting to see if the GOP will notice the effects…

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    SEE ALSO:Ancient Black Sea Flood: Nuisance or Calamity?

    The flooding of the Gulf Oasis occurred at roughly the same time, fits the description of the Garden of Eden better, and was closer to the homeland of Abraham, whose descendants would go on to tell the story of the flood and the people and livestock who escaped it.

    Take cover, Incoming Deluge 2.0

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    According to Genesis Shimkus, the word of god he interprets so easy …

    Pushing Pseudo-Science Irresponsible
    Shimkus stated before the committee that global warming isn’t something to worry about because God said in Genesis that he wouldn’t destroy the earth after Noah’s flood.

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    “Epigraphic evidence [inscriptions] suggests this was indeed the case, with the oldest flood accounts impressed on Ur III clay tablets from Lower Mesopotamia, followed by a virtually unbroken chain of transmission through Akkadian, Babylonian, Hebrew, and Qur’anic iterations,” said Rose in the discussion section of his article in Current Anthropology.

    Precipitation and Storm Changes
    * Precipitation has generally increased over land north of 30°N from 1900-2005, but has mostly declined over the tropics since the 1970s. Globally there has been no statistically significant overall trend in precipitation over the past century, although trends have varied widely by region and over time.
    * It has become significantly wetter in eastern parts of North and South America, northern Europe, and northern and central Asia, but drier in the Sahel, the Mediterranean, southern Africa and parts of southern Asia.

    Increasing temperatures tend to increase evaporation which leads to more precipitation (IPCC, 2007). As average global temperatures have risen, average global precipitation has also increased. According to the IPCC, the following precipitation trends have been observed:
    * Changes in precipitation and evaporation over the oceans are suggested by freshening of mid- and high-latitude waters (implying more precipitation), along with increased salinity in low-latitude waters (implying less precipitation and/or more evaporation).
    * There has been an increase in the number of heavy precipitation events over many areas during the past century, as well as an increase since the 1970s in the prevalence of droughts—especially in the tropics and subtropics.

  25. RobM says:

    I’m a well read observer but not a climate scientist. I find it astonishing how little public awareness there is of this crisis. I also find it astonishing how little awareness there is in the climate science community of what it would really take to stabilize CO2 below 350 ppm. There really are only 2 choices. Build out non-carbon energy sources at about 300 GW per year. Or hope for a rapid collapse of civilization. Nothing else will work. If we go with former you can forget about renewables due to their low energy density. Nuclear is the only feasible solution but it’s questionable if we can afford the required 1-2 nuclear plants per day that need to be built. Perhaps a little more clarity on both the urgency of the problem and the magnitude of the solution would help. When I read what is being discussed at Cancun it’s all BS and I am disgusted with the ignorance of the scientists.

  26. Regarding: “…why is this not covered in the mainstream news?”

    Make that mainstream news in the US… because some BBC is pretty good, and some British papers.

    But the US media is totally owned and controlled by parent companies… see

    Keep in mind that ownership is one aspect, but the revenue flow comes from advertising dollars… and most advertising is from carbon fuel businesses. (i.e. carbon energy and automotive)

    Journalist Ross Gelbspan reports a conversation with a CNN producer who – after reporting that a weather event was an indication of global warming – was explicitly warned never to associate a weather event with global warming – or risk losing all advertising. See

    Mass media in the US is possibly the biggest failure of any institution. Our entire civilization crashed by their deliberate stupidity and cupidity.

  27. K. Nockels says:

    If the general public was willing, like all of us here to read and learn they would know what we know. You would have to be living in a closet not to know the information for an informed opinion on this subject is everywhere on the net, in books, in science mags. What the general public does not want to know is that in order to save ourselves from a hot hell earth they will have to change their lifesyle and we know by now how many are willing to do that, NOT MANY I think it is really up to each person to get informed. You only believe the denier lie if you want to

  28. John B. Hodges says:

    Note to #23 RobM: Energy density is irrelevant. The crucial variable to measure is cost-effectiveness. There is more than enough energy in either the wind or the sunlight to power our civilization. Cost of gathering and storing it, and delivering it to end-users, is more to the point. Cheapest is conservation (improvements in energy efficiency), followed by assorted renewables depending on location, technology used, and so forth. Windpower with utility-scale sodium-sulfur storage batteries is cheaper than nuclear.

  29. John B. Hodges says:

    That is #22 RobM, not #23.

  30. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Joe – How about another table like your first one in the post comparing record low day maximums to record high night lows? The polar projection in comment #1 is an extremely powerful graphic. The polar projection should be used far more often.

  31. RobM says:

    #25 John:
    You do not appear to understand the numbers. Don’t feel bad. Most people don’t. Suggest you start with David J.C. MacKay’s Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air. Then study the work of Saul Griffith and Tim Garrett.

  32. Bob Wallace says:

    #22 Rob. We can not physically build 1-2 nuclear plants a day. We do not have the trained engineers and construction workers.

    Just look at the Finland mess. Construction screw-ups leading to vast time and budget overruns. For all practical purposes we quit building reactors decades ago and we’ve forgotten how. We’re even facing a shortage of technicians to run the existing plants as the current workforce approaches retirement.

    We could have a wind/solar/hydro/geothermal/storage system. Those building projects require the sorts of skills that tens of thousands of construction workers display every day.

  33. MARodger says:

    The November value is yet to be posted by NASA GISS. No mention of it here. So, hey, what is it?

    [JR: Try the first link!!!]

    If the actual value is embargoed, are we talking a November record or record for the entire series. I (and my graph – await this info with some trepidation.
    As my graph shows, 2010 was already hot, and will be equaling if not breaking records on all 5 temperature series.

  34. MARodger says:

    (Definitely not very good with links. #35 link not a good one So voila – see if this one works.)

  35. PSU Grad says:

    But then you got garbage like this, which I copied over from a ham radio forum (hams tend to be extremely far to the right politically as a group, though there are obvious exceptions):

    “Talk about “lack of facts” – these are facts that the media and Global Warming alarmists simply ignore since they are not easy to explain away and disprove the hypothesis concerning a correlation between human development and global temperatures,

    1) Atmospheric CO2 levels are lower than the average level
    through geologic time (fact).
    2) If atmospheric CO2 levels caused global warming we would
    be in an ice age as CO2 levels are currently lower than
    in either of the last two major ice ages
    3) Global temperatures have shown far greater swings through
    geologic history – *before* industrialization and urbanization
    – than the cumulative two or three degrees C over two to
    three decades that the “Global Warming Alarmists are obsessing
    4) The largest contribution to increases in global CO2 levels
    has been in deforestation in the “developing world” – China,
    India, Brazil and large parts of Africa.
    5) NASA space based global temperature records show less than
    1 C change in nearly 30 years of data.”

    I invalided #1 in two seconds….notice the “geological time” dodge, as though humans have existed on this planet since the very beginning. Ddin’t bother with the rest. You can’t argue with these people, their minds are made up.

  36. Gestur says:

    Re Michael T @ 1.

    Thanks, Michael for those NASA graphics. While the NH top-down map is indeed alarming, my stomach begins to roil when I contemplate the third graphic below the two hemispherfic maps, i.e. the zonal means anomaly plot by latitude. [At least on my monitor, you have to scroll down to see it and some readers may have missed it.] Seeing that graph go almost vertical around 50N is, unquestionably, the scariest thing I have seen in some time.

  37. MARodger says:

    Re Comment @ #35 – November value still not posted on page reached down first link!

  38. Anne van der Bom says:


    Be careful to interpret prof. MacKay’s book correctly. It contains a lot of useful information but tends to wildly exaggerate the amount of renewable energy (electricity) we actually need.

    In the first chapters he suggests we need around 200 kWh per person per day to have a good life (the moderately affluent Brit). Currently, electricity consumption in the UK is less than a tenth of that. The problem is he assumes thermal energy from fossil fuel burning is equivalent to electric energy. In most cases electricity can be used much more efficiently than fossil fuels. He only accounts for that in his later chapters, where he brings up the ‘plans that add up’. These are based on 50 kWh per person per day, still a lot imo, but much more reasonable.

  39. Steve UK says:

    Anne van der Bom,

    Sorry to go off-topic for this thread, but I think McKay’s aim in the first part of SEWTHA is to try and add up the total energy budget for a modern lifestyle. So the 200kWh per person includes the energy for producing animals for food, transportation, public services, housebuilding, “stuff” etc etc. It’s not the size of your personal electricity bill. All that energy would have to come from somewhere in a zero-carbon economy.

    Having said that I agree that the totals are exaggerated but only because he seems to ignore the fact that people live in families. The amounts for car use and domestic electricity and heating assume that *everyone* has a car and lives alone which is not the case.

  40. caerbannog says:

    The latest Greenland temperature reports…

    …from, sorted by temperature:

    Narsarsuaq 53 °F 18% 29.55 in Rain SE at 10 mph 6:00 PM WGT
    Qaqortoq 44 °F 67% 29.57 in Light Rain NNW at 6 mph 6:00 PM WGT
    Angisoq 41 °F 99% 29.54 in East at 33 mph 6:00 PM WGT

  41. Michael T. says:

    James Hansen posted an interesting discussion on the cold weather anomalies in Europe and the record warm November 2010 global temperature. The paper is availabe at his blog as a PDF:

  42. Michael T. says:

    2010 — Global Temperature and Europe’s Frigid Air

    “The cold anomaly in Northern Europe in November has continued and strengthened in the first half of December. Combined with the unusual cold winter of 2009-2010 in Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, this regional cold spell has caused widespread commentary that global warming has ended. That is hardly the case. On the contrary, globally November 2010 is the warmest November in the GISS record.”

  43. Colorado Bob says:

    caerbannog @ 42 –

    The most of the west coast of Greenland is completely ice free, and only the northern half of Hudson’s Bay has ice. It didn’t show ice forming until Nov. 23 – 24.