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Bombshell: After Fixing Errors, UK Met Office Says 2010, 2005 Hottest Years on Record, World Warming Faster Than Thought

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Reuters: Setback for the ‘stalled’ global warming view advanced by ‘skeptics’

Global temperaturesThe UK Met Office said two years ago it had underestimated recent warming. The key reason is their Hadley/CRU (Climatic Research Unit) Temperature dataset (HadCRUT) undersampled the Arctic — the place on earth warming up the fastest.

Now the Met[eorological] Office (part of the Defence Ministry) has corrected their errors and update their temperature record (release here, video below). No longer is 1998 the hottest year on record. It has been (slightly) edged out by 2010 and 2005. As the UK Telegraph reports:

Between 1998 and 2010, temperatures rose by 0.11C, 0.04C more than previously estimated.

The new data set also shifts around the hottest years on record, so that the new temperature series, known as HadCRUT4, is more in line with other global records held by NASA and NOAA in the US. The American series had already added Arctic temperatures from extrapolated information.

Before it was thought the hottest years were 1998 followed by 2010, 2005, 2003 and 2002. The updated series puts 2010 as the hottest year on record followed by 2005, 1998, 2003 and 2006.

The main conclusions of the new temperature series remains the same – that overall warming since 1850 has been around 0.75C and the 10 warmest years on record all occurred in the last 14 years.

data analysis graphThe deniers haven’t gone so ballistic over a new study since we saw the Koch-Funded Berkeley temperature study “confirm the reality of global warming” last year and conclude recent warming was “on the high end” and speeding up. Indeed, that study made clear that the HadCRUT dataset was the outlier, as the figure on the right shows.

That’s why the deniers always had a love-hate relationship with the HadCRUT data. They kept accusing the CRU scientists at the University of East Anglia, whose emails were stolen, of fudging the data. But at the same time, they kept citing the HadCRU data since it showed less warming in recent years.

Everyone but the anti-science disinformers have known for a long time that the Met Office dataset UNDERestimates — not OVERestimates — the recent global temperature rise.  Their data excludes “the place on Earth that has been warming fastest” (see “What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?“ and here).   NASA’s James Hansen has made this point for years. The Met Office itself concluded a December 2009 analysis that “The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.”

Now, as CRU Director Phil Jones explains, “For the latest version we have included observations from more than 400 stations across the Arctic, Russia and Canada. This has led to better representation of what’s going on in the large geographical region.”

The Met Office has corrected a second mistake, an error the global sea-surface temperature dataset.  Here is Peter Stott, the Met Office’s head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution, in a video explaining all the corrections:

If we look at the changes in the middle part of the century where you can see that HadCRUT4 in red is generally a bit warmer then HadCRUT3. This is because of our new analysis of the different ways in which our sea surface temperatures have been measured in time. The most important issue here is related to the particular drop off in temperatures seen at the end of the second world war in the HadCRUT3 temperatures. This was associated with the fact that following the war there were many more British ships measuring using the method of hauling in buckets over the sides of ships and this leads to cooler temperatures because of evaporative cooling of the temperatures in the bucket. These are cooler temperatures then would be measured by drifting buoys or by the engine room intakes in ships.So in this new analysis we have taken account of that and that means that the temperatures globally are slightly warmer in the middle part of the twentieth century.

Stott told the Telegraph, ““The scientific evidence is really strong that we are warming.”

Reuters put it well that this conclusion is “further undermining a sceptic view of stalled global warming.”

Finally, it always bears repeating that, as we learned in two key 2009 papers, the planet is warming from GHGs just where climate science said it would — the oceans, which is where more than 90% of the warming was projected to end up (see “Skeptical Science explains how we know global warming is happening.“)

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23 Responses to Bombshell: After Fixing Errors, UK Met Office Says 2010, 2005 Hottest Years on Record, World Warming Faster Than Thought

  1. M Tucker says:

    “further undermining a sceptic view of stalled global warming.”

    Undermine all you want. Science deniers and disinformers do not care if their arguments have a solid foundation. That is not something that concerns them. The same lies will persist and the same liars will continue to make the rounds of college campuses and the hearing rooms of state and federal legislatures. They do not care about science! All they care about is confusion and delay.

    • Sasparilla says:

      Very true, you can see how they will handle what should be deal breakers for them. I noticed some of them are starting to concede that the arctic will melt out – but that it was just natural as it had happened before…..

      • Rakesh Malik says:

        “Very true, you can see how they will handle what should be deal breakers for them. I noticed some of them are starting to concede that the arctic will melt out – but that it was just natural as it had happened before…..”

        Because it’s profitable. That’s the only motivation that drives them. The Arctic ice is the only thing preventing them from drilling in the Arctic Ocean. All they have to do is wait for the ice to melt out, buy some politicians, and then start drilling in the Arctic.

        Never mind that drilling in the Arctic is the absolute height of stupidity, topped only by the idea of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and never mind the fact that the world won’t be livable if they keep drilling and burning fossils, they just care about the money. They’ll say and do anything they can to keep bringing in all that money, even if it means the end of human civilization.

    • Rakesh Malik says:

      “All they care about is confusion and delay.”

      That’s not actually their focus. Their focus is on short-term profit. They will do anything they can to guarantee their short-term profit, no matter the long-term cost.

      Energy scarcity serves their interest because as long as the world relies on burning fossils for energy, the world needs oil barons, who in turn can charge what they want for oil.

      Today’s oil barons inherited their wealth and power, rather than earning it. They can’t imagine a world where they aren’t dominant, because they can’t conceive of any way to generate profit other than what they’re doing now, which requires domination… which is why the hydrocarbon industry prefers to buy politicians rather than to fund research and development of renewable energy technologies.

  2. George D says:

    “Setback for the ‘stalled’ global warming view advanced by ‘skeptics’”

    What a ridiculous headline. Nothing is ever a setback for the ‘skeptics’. Like creationists, ‘birthers’ and ‘truthers’ they’ll keep going until they die, forever alleging conspiracies to manipulate facts and deny evidence.

    • prokaryotes says:

      Because these hired “ethugs” are in it for the money. They simply do not care what comes after them. They might even like the idea of human extinction. They are a threat to our national security. They are in fact worse then general terrorism.

      • kermit says:

        Largely true. Most of the lower tier are not in it for the money – the ones who post on the many unrelated newsgroups and news websites around the internet. For every blogger financially compensated by the fossil fuels industries, there are a hundred True Americans or similar groups who have embraced this as a tribal marker. The hated Other (liberals, hippies, scientists, etc) ‘believe in’ global warming, so obviously the right kind of people do not.

        Since they are fed their sound bites by sources like Rush Limbaugh and Watt’s Up with That, they can be hard to distinguish from bots.

        And when civilization collapses, they will be the ones who are armed and running around hysterically, blaming …us.

      • MorinMoss says:

        And yet they are the ones ( the rank-and-file, that is) who are firmly sold on the idea that it’s all a leftist plot for World Domination and mind control.

        And they, the True Warriors of Freedom are the only ones who’ll save us from Al Gore and his Gruesome Greenies.

  3. Reuters: Setback for the ‘stalled’ global warming view advanced by ‘skeptics’

    As if the prospect of global disaster is merely another chess piece in this ongoing ‘culture war’… :-/

    The next news article shouls discuss how the HadCRUT correction might affect Obama’s poll ratings. Once that happens, the circle of stupid will be complete.

    – frank

  4. David F. says:

    @George D

    Unfortunately, I’m sure you’ll be correct. The new “skeptic” meme will probably be that the UK Met Office is altering the data to show more warming. Watts and his minions have repeatedly launched unfounded accusations of fraud at Dr. Hansen and NASA.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Polar amplification

    The proper term here, which alters earlier estimates, is this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_amplification

  6. John Tucker says:

    How embarrassing for the denial “community,” First the surface station thing now this.
    (of course there was also the sun, volcanoes clouds, tree rings, past periods etc.. debacles but who pays attention to those)

    Be not too harsh on them, alas, besides a subtle difference in sign (+,-) they were generally 100 percent right. Oh the humanity.

  7. Lou Grinzo says:

    Once again, we have a discovery or piece of evidence that things are (everyone say it with me) “worse than we thought”.

    I also feel compelled to point out that there are two information gaps we have to worry about. The obvious one, and the one we obsess over, is between what scientists know and what the general public knows. But the one that’s just as bad is between what the universe knows and what scientists have figured out. (That’s in no way a criticism of climate scientists; I think they do a phenomenal job in answer incredibly tough questions, often while hindered by budgetary and political limitations on what they can study or say.)

    As we continue to pump tens of billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, change will accelerate, and there’s a good chance that the second gap, the one between reality and our best understanding of it, will grow larger, despite our best efforts to close it. Of course, the deniers will resort to their usual bag of lies and misrepresentations, as others have said above, to try to keep the new discoveries from becoming widely known….

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    Yes, from the proxy measurement of the impact of extreme weather, 2010 was definately the hottest year. It’s amazing how little increase in global temp can drive such distruction. And we have more than a degree more int the pipeline. Bleak future around the corner.

  9. Raul M. says:

    The depiction of the ice mass of the Arctic, the edges of the Arctic furthest away from the ice seems to be the areas of the outgassing methane. If the methane outgassing continues this year at an earlier date at start of outgassing it would give a estimate at the extent of the potential supply of methane to the atmosphere from the known source of last year. As some leaders have acknowledged, the amount of outgassing is important to an understanding of the situation. As shipping in the Arctic and sightseeing has increased, it is a good thing to know of potential danger zones in the Arctic.
    As the time span of sessional methane supply may increase this year, the complete mixing of the methane process to the atmosphere may continue for a longer
    time span this year, such would seem to indicate higher concentrations closer to the possible plumes and weather changes in localities.
    Sure hope that there are knowledgable people getting ready to study the real world view of the Arctic this year.

  10. cervantes says:

    Technical problem: the graph does not embiggen.

  11. Hi Joe,

    I don’t think too much should be made of the apparent re-ordering of the “hottest years” ranking. 2010 and 1998 are every close, and the difference is well within the uncertainty range – see our Met Office news release

    What if, say, HadCRUT5 includes further revisions which put the central estimate of the 1998 anomaly warmer than that of 2010 again? Giving these minor revisions more attention than they deserve is, in my opinion, a hostage to fortune.

    There’s a nice discussion of this at <a href="http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/03/updating-the-cru-and-hadcrut-temperature-data/&quot; Real Climate.

    Cheers

    Richard Betts
    (Met Office Hadley Centre)

  12. Jake says:

    Watts is now showing comparisons of this revised data to model predictions. It looks to fit pretty well, then Watts breaks it down using cherry-picked points to draw angled lines up and down and declare the models worthless.

  13. EDpeak says:

    Fellow commenters speaking about various Deniers: we should be careful not to let an important group off the hook..

    I see lots of comments hinting or directly stating it’s the oil profits that are the motive..

    But a second factor, arguably much larger, is Ideology, which tens of millions of right-wing Americans have come to believe..yes, it’s the profits of non-oil companies for many decades that have been behind that Ideology..but the original causes notwithstanding, profits is not what most deniers are thinking

    More of them think: “government bad! regulation bad! companies good! Leave poor copmanies alone! Don’t want Big Bad Government on my back!(TM)” and so on. If we let that off the hook we will leave ourselves ignorant about what specific steps fo activism and just old fashioned “talking to one’s neighbors and co-workers” are so very badly needed..

    We should use the term Oversight and the term Protection rather than this vague (but negative sounding) term “regulation” Do you believe in responsibility, conservative friend? Then corporations need to be responsible, right? And they can’t be held to be sure they are responsible if there is no *oversight* laws and also laws that specifically *proftect* our families and our communities in terms of our health, the air and water our children breathe and drink, etc.

    Until Free Market Fundamentalism/Korporate Kapitalism ideologies are put to the dustbin of history, you will have 90 more deniers for ideolgoical reasons for every 10 that worry about profits for them (or who hope for profits for The Man hoping Jobs will ‘trickle down’ to them)

    We need to combat this right-wing ideology with as much energy as one would battle fascism..it is a more likely threat to the world right now than any other ideology, since our world is ruled increasingly not by governments but by TNCs (Transnational Corporations) who wield power over governments.

  14. EDpeak says:

    *** To echo Cervantes’ comment above, the “[click to enlarge].” is not working ***

  15. MorinMoss says:

    I had a feeling that the cooligans saw this coming. For quite a while, the WattsTusians have mostly been commenting on snowfall and completely ignoring the heat.

    And, of late, the arguments have been shifting more towards claiming that climatology flunks the scientific method, fails to disprove the null hypothesis, etc.