NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far, while Arctic sea ice extent hits a stunning December low

Head of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center: Climate change to intensify winter weather
Following fast on the heels of NASA reporting the hottest January to November on record — despite the deepest solar minimum in a century — NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has released its State of the Climate: Global Analysis for November.  It finds this was the second warmest November on record (after 2004) and

  • For the 2010 year-to-date (January-November), the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average””the warmest such period since records began in 1880.
  • The November 2010 Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest November on record….
  • The November 2010 global land surface temperature was the warmest on record, at 1.52°C (2.74°F) above the 20th century average…

It may have been cold in Great Britain, but NOAA’s November chart shows that over most of the NH land it was hot, hot, hot:

Heck it’s still raining in Greenland!

And so Arctic sea ice extent has drifted off to a record low for late December as the stunning charts from JAXA (above) and NSIDC (below) reveal:


Relatedly, The Hill has a story, “Scientist: Climate change to intensify winter weather,” but it isn’t just any scientist:

This weekend’s massive blizzard in the Northeast has fueled the fire of climate skepticism that’s pervasive in many parts of the United States. If we’re still getting major winter storms, skeptics say, how can the planet be warming?

E2 Wire put that question to Tom Peterson, chief scientist at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.

Peterson said the latest climate change data indicate increases in global temperature result in more intense weather events, including winter storms.As the planet warms, “frequency of storms will stay the same, but the intensity will increase,” he said.

“Multiple peer-review papers indicate that strong storms are likely to increase. So the climate change is changing the probability of a strong storm occurring,” he said.

Peterson warned that you cannot determine whether climate change is occurring based on an individual weather event. Instead, scientists study climate trends over the course of thousands of years.

“Weather events are pixels in the climate picture. Some are indicative of changes we are experiencing; some simply reflect the variability of weather and climate. As the world continues to warm, heat waves are an example of the former,” he said, while adding that extreme winter weather events are “examples of the latter.”

But don’t read The Hill‘s comments’ section without a head vise!

22 Responses to NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far, while Arctic sea ice extent hits a stunning December low

  1. Wit's End says:

    Is anybody doing a hockey-stick type graph for nose-bleeds?

    We’re breathing the filth that is emitted from burning fuel.

    Have we got a graph for cancer, emphysema, and asthma?

    Does it corollate at all with climate change from increasing greenhouse gasses?

  2. George Ennis says:

    Who knows perhaps James Bay may freeze over by early January, just a few months later than normal.

    It would be interesting to hear from people in Australia their thoughts about extreme weather events. The good news from Australia is that the drought seems to have ended, the bad news is the record flooding in some areas in December. Not sure how one farms in those conditions but I am sure some of the incoming GOP congressman and senators will explain how.

  3. matthew says:

    A few questions
    1# How much has Portland, Oregon warmed from 2000-2009?
    2# How is december so far? Is it hot or has the temperature declined?

    Thank you

  4. ED says:


    I’m currently living in Sydney Australia, the extrema weather here is beyond a joke. We have heat a wave in Western Australia, snow in Tasmania and flood’s in South Central Queensland, Northern New South and Victoria. The floods cover thousands of square kilometers, which is good to restore the moister back in the ground after more then a decade of drought, but for the farmers it’s suicidal. And as much of our grain crop feeds the third and developing world’s, there will be catastrophic price increase in the months ahead. Regards ED

  5. Michael T. says:


    The Met Office posted a map of temperature anomalies for December 1-20:

    The cold weather anomaly over Europe in that map is similar to last December shown in this NASA map:

    We want know where December ranks until NASA releases their analysis on about January 10th.

  6. john says:

    Hi George, Oz has been hit by floods for half the year now,with Victoria and New South Wales coping a thrashing and now Qld equaling or busting many records, meanwhile in W.A. the perth area has been in long drought, large bushfires there today, Adelaide heading for 44C for new years eve,
    Of course for the sceptics its all happened before, just not in the same year. I really fail to see what the sceptics are looking for, climate change can only manifest itself by floods,droughts,heatwaves,ie weather ,
    they of course point to tasmania which just had snowfall around xmas ,
    global freakiness here at the moment, rgds from The great sandy, Fraser island , largest sand mass on earth

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You really are a party pooper, advising us not to read the comments on The Hill. Gawd, I haven’t laughed that much since I saw Maggie Thatcher swaying outside No.10 a few months ago. Only the good die young. The comments were a put-on, surely, designed by clever deviants who should be tattooed and dumped inside Iran (along with a container of contraband, scientifically researched, whale meat)to discredit the intellectual level of denialists..oops, I mean ‘sceptics’. Messrs Dunning and Kruger have a goldmine of material here to sift through, peruse and attempt to translate from the gibberish. I’m afraid that I’ve discovered a new stage in the process of mourning (for our lost planet). I’m deep into the befuddled stage, where the outbreak of mass imbecility has left me dazed and confused. Once upon a time, morons and ignoramuses kept their afflictions private, not wishing to embarrass themselves or their parents. These days, and I blame that fiendish invention, the Internet, they are everywhere, strutting and fretting and braying their inanities sans embarrassment, sans shame, sans reflection, sans insight. A confederacy of dunces, each with a pointier hat then the next and every one a self-confessed genius. Heaven help us all.

  8. Asterisk says:

    The warming in the Arctic is just stunning and I can’t help but wonder if it is being fueled in part by methane from the permamelt (as Romm calls it, lol).

    It’s been 10 months since Shakhova and Semilitov (I believe I have that correct) published their earth shattering report on the venting methane, and since then…silence.

    Talk about a cliffhanger…

  9. WVhybrid says:

    Putting ones head in a vise is insufficient preparation for reading “The Hill” comments. Something much larger and stronger is needed. Say one of those big Cat 797 trucks used to haul away the WV mountaintop running over my toes could distract from the pain of the comments.

    Oh, one question, is there really a Russian weather researcher named H. Adbulsamatov?

  10. labman57 says:

    Fundamentally, climate change deniers refuse to accept the conclusions of the vast amounts of data gathered over many years by thousands of climatologists representing dozens of academic institutions, government agencies, and private sector interests from many nations — data suggesting a causal relationship between global warming and manmade activities. Their reasons for denial are purely of a political nature, but since they don’t accept the conclusions, they must also deny the veracity of the data for no other reason than it conflicts with their denials.

    In other words, climate change denial is a conclusion in search of a rationalization.

  11. Paul K2 says:

    matthew: I don’t know where you are going with your questions, but this site tracks the recent climate (and some weather events) of Oregon. The last monthly newsletter covered November of 2010; and in all respects, November was normal. The most interesting and unusual month in 2010 was last January (which is discussed in the newsletter in the link).

    January 2010 was a record hot year in the Pacific Northwest, with Portland seeing the 3rd hottest January in the records, and Seattle (my home) experiencing the hottest January in the record book (covering a period back into the 1800s). This year is a La Nina, and temperatures are more normal than last winter.

  12. Richard Brenne says:

    Matthew (#3) – I’m in Portland also, but there’s a reason we call it global warming rather than Portland (or anyplace else) warming.

    Also we look at yearly trends over many years, not one month.

    Looking at one place and especially one month means you’re unlikely to see trends and separate the noise of natural variability from those trends.

    If one reads this post or all the dozens of accumulated posts like this here at CP and follow the links to the most reliable institutions like NASA and NOAA anyone with an open mind would see those trends.

    Happy New Year!

  13. peter whitehead says:

    labman(#12) deniers are exactly like creationists (and they overlap, as we know).

    Scientists start with evidence, work to conclusions. Creationists work from a conclusion and try to either find evidence that can be twisted to fit, or ignore evidence, or accuse the collectors of evidence of deceit or of having evil intent.

    When you try to enlighten a denier, remember that it is unlikely many creationists ever changed their minds.

  14. Michael says:

    Michael T (#5) –

    This map from NOAA ESRL shows global temperatures for the past 30 days, which gives a good idea of how warm December will be:

    As another poster pointed out, it looks a lot like last December with a large area of cold over Eurasia (not just Europe), although North America, including the U.S., has been warmer.

    It is also worth noting that NOAA ranked last December much lower than NASA, especially the Northern Hemisphere, because they don’t include most of the Arctic; if this December is similar, they may not have 2010 as the warmest year, or just a tie (NASA looks pretty safe especially considering the Arctic anomalies, also depends on how warm December 2005 was; I recall that Europe had a cold winter then as well).

  15. Mike says:

    Headline: “Arctic sea ice extent hits a stunning December low”

    I think you meant to say, “Arctic ice extent anomaly hits a stunning December low”

    Likewise in the text between the 2nd and 3rd charts.

  16. Bob Wright says:

    George Will’s column is interesting this morning. Almost neutral on the existence and causes of GW, he points out how much the use of coal has increased since 2001, especially in China, and how willing the Americans and Australians are to export it.

  17. Scrooge says:

    Michael T just looking at the Met Office plot I may be wrong but the pattern looks somewhat like the ncar map for around 2035. Just have to move the patterns a little north.

  18. MapleLeaf says:

    Well, Tom Peterson and Jeff Master probably agree with each other, and are probably correct. Lindzen on the other hand is an outlier.

    From Lindzen’s testimony to the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, November 17, 2010. From about 01:12:15 into the proceedings:

    “One of the things that bothers me in this discussion of extremes and storms and so on; a basic feature of meteorology is the cause of storms in mid-latitudes is the temperature difference between the equator and pole, under a warmer climate that should be reduced, and that should lead to fewer storms, it is the storms which bring in record highs and lows by carrying air from distant places. Why suddenly in this complex thing, a particular observation which is actually contrary to the basic physics assumes importnace, I do not know”.

    Yet, as readers know, the eastern sea board of Canada and the USA have just experienced four back-to-back nor-easters which have produced record breaking precipitation (both rain and snow), storm surges, damaging winds and flooding. During this time the Arctic Oscillation was strongly negative which meant that areas between Greenland and Hudson Bay were experiencing temperatures of 20 C above normal at times. The unusual configuration of the jet stream on account of a blocking high over Greenland no doubt played a role in the persistent storm track. However, contrary to Dr. Lindzen’s claim above, even which a greatly reduced (or atypical) equator-pole gradient, the eastern sea board experienced some vicious storms carrying record amounts of precipitation, and destructive winds.

    I think that Lindzen and his followers really need to be taken to task by Joe Romm and RC for the above statement to the subcommittee, and now would be a perfect time to point out the folly of Lindzen’s statement. Lindzen is trying to mislead people by telling them that the reduced equator-pole gradient will reduce storms and storm intensity. Now while that might be true on climate time-scales and in a general sense, he has not taken the role of increased water vapour and the latent energy that these storms will be able to tap into, and the consequences that this may have on instability, for example.

    One could also take issue with Lindzen’s claim that temperature advection alone (and he does seem to be suggesting that advection alone is the sole mechanism) is what causes extreme temperature records to be set. That is most definitely not always true; additionally, his claim is also internally inconsistent because it flies in the face of his argument that advection will be decreasing because of the reduced equator-pole temperature gradient as the planet warms. That is, how does he explain new record highs being systematically being set when Lindzen maintains that those records, which are allegedly being set by advection, are occurring in a world where warming should be reducing the (meridional) advection on account of a weaker equator-pole temperature gradient? Lindzen’s argument is a logical fallacy.

  19. Michael T. says:

    Michael @ 14

    “I recall that Europe had a cold winter then as well.”

    That’s true. Europe was colder than average during Dec. 2005-Feb. 2006:

  20. Mimikatz says:

    Yesterday two diaries came out on Daily Kos about young (and other) people being paid to make comments and podt on internet sites to sow confusion and spread misinformation. The Hill would seem to be prime territory for such activities, since presumably some Congresspeople and staffs read it. The folks paying for the disinfo were corporations and other interest groups, some said China as well. The idea is to deceive and distract from real problems.

  21. John Davidson says:

    George@2: In Australia, we have major floods (some to record heights) on the east coast and a drought in the west. In central Australia we have had water running into the normally dry Lake Eyre two years in a row which is most unusual.
    You are right, dryland grain farmers are doing it tough in the east with large numbers losing their crops to the rain that came just before harvest time after many years of not being able to grow anything.
    Thanks for your kind offer to send some Republican pollies over to explain that it is all an illusion. However, you voted them in, you keep them.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    John #20, don’t be so hasty. Surely we could swap some of the septic’s denialists for some of ours. Like the transfer of pandas and other threatened creatures for breeding purposes, where in-breeding is otherwise a problem. Tony Abbott, with his insightful opinion that anthropogenic climate change is ‘crap’, might be a little scatological for US tastes, but he’s just one of many we could pop in a nasty, comfy, crate, and deliver to Capitol Hill. Our politicians are always well-behaved, not to say obsequious, ingratiating and groveling whenever visiting Imperial HQ, so I’m sure they will not, embarrass us, at least not until they open their mouths (in Abbott’s case, to change feet).