July 3 News: 2001-2010 Hottest Decade On Record, With ‘Unprecedented High-Impact Climate Extremes’, WMO Reports

Decadal global combined surface-air temperature over land and sea-surface temperature (°C) obtained from the average over the three independent datasets maintained by the HadCRU, NOAA-NCDCand NASA-GISS.The Horizontal grey line indicates the long term average value ( 14°C).

GENEVA 3 July 2013 – The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the 2001-2010 decade, which was the warmest since the start of modern measurements in 1850 and continued an extended period of pronounced global warming. More national temperature records were reported broken than in any previous decade, according to a new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO News Release).

The report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, analysed global and regional temperatures and precipitation, as well as extreme events such as the heat waves in Europe and Russia, Hurricane Katrina in the United States of America, Tropical Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, droughts in the Amazon Basin, Australia and East Africa and floods in Pakistan.

The decade was the warmest for both hemispheres and for both land and ocean surface temperatures. The record warmth was accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, and accelerating loss of net mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and from the world’s glaciers. As a result of this widespread melting and the thermal expansion of sea water, global mean sea levels rose about 3 millimetres (mm) per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6 mm per year. Global sea level averaged over the decade was about 20 cm higher than that of 1880, according to the report.

The WMO report charted rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Global-average concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to 389 parts per million in 2010 (an increase of 39% since the start of the industrial era in 1750), methane to 1808.0parts per billion (158%) and nitrous oxide to 323.2 parts per billion (20%).

“A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “WMO’s report shows that global warming was significant from 1971 to 2010 and that the decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented. Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat.”

“Natural climate variability, caused in part by interactions between our atmosphere and oceans – as evidenced by El Niño and La Niña events – means that some years are cooler than others. On an annual basis, the global temperature curve is not a smooth one. On a long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction, more so in recent times” said Mr Jarraud.

Does the President’s climate speech last week signal a new role in international climate talks? [New York Times]

Local landowners along the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline are asking local governments to pass zoning regulations hindering pipeline development and resolutions formally opposing the project. [AP]

Arkansas residents sickened by March’s Exxon Pipeline spill have faced confusion from doctors who can’t identify the cause of their symptoms — and some are still sick today. [InsideClimate News]

A federal judge ruled that and SEC rule written for the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial disclosure law does not require oil and gas companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. [Wall Street Journal]

Tom Friedman ticks through the natural gas boom, methane leakage risks, and the plausible Republican idea of a national Clean Energy Standard in today’s op-ed. [New York Times]

Honda and General Motors are teaming up to develop a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell. [New York Times]

The Department of Energy will soon take applications for $8 billion in loan guarantees for projects and new technologies that make extracting and burning fossil fuels a less carbon-intensive process. [The Hill]

The United Church of Christ voted to divest from fossil fuel companies to address climate change. [Huffington Post]

Republicans have seized the opportunity to slam President Obama for declaring a “War on Coal” — but that strategy might not hurt Democrats as much as the GOP hopes. [National Journal]

A carbon tax would affect different generations differently, with unborn Americans paying nothing, and 18 and under Americans paying just $10 a year, according to a new report. [E&E Publishing]

In London, 25 percent of vehicles on the road during rush hour are bikes. [Clean Technica]

Solar groups are turning to the Tea Party and other conservative activists to garner support. [Wall Street Journal]

Note: There will be no news roundups on July 4th or 5th.

22 Responses to July 3 News: 2001-2010 Hottest Decade On Record, With ‘Unprecedented High-Impact Climate Extremes’, WMO Reports

  1. prokaryotes says:

    “In London, 25 percent of vehicles on the road during rush hour are bikes”

    What a tyranny! :)

  2. prokaryotes says:

    U.S. is not waging ‘war on coal’: Energy Secretary Moniz

    Obama “expects fossil fuels, and coal specifically, to remain a significant contributor for some time,” Moniz told Reuters in Vienna, where he was to attend a nuclear security conference.

    The way the U.S. administration is “looking at it is: what does it take for us to do to make coal part of a low carbon future,” he said, adding this would include higher efficiency plants and new ways of utilizing coal.

    It is “all about having, in fact, coal as part of that future,” Moniz said. “I don’t believe it is a ‘war on coal’.”

    Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, the No. 2 U.S. coal mining state after Wyoming, said last week that Obama had “declared a war on coal,” and the industry said the rules threatened its viability.

    Moniz acknowledged there could be winners and losers but that economic models belie “the statement that there are huge economic impacts” from controlling greenhouse gases.

    “Quite the contrary. We expect that this is going to be positive for the economy,” he said.

    Obama said he had directed the Environmental Protection Agency to craft new emissions rules for thousands of power plants, the bulk of which burn coal and which account for roughly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

    With Congress unlikely to pass climate legislation, Obama said his administration would set rules using executive powers.

    Moniz said he was optimistic that the United States would meet its goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. “We’re pretty close to the track right now. We’re halfway there,” he said.

    CCS is a relatively new, expensive and unproven technology that captures carbon dioxide and buries it.

  3. Rudy Haugeneder says:

    Ordinary people are semi-literate and don’t read things important to them. Others, like readers of the Wall Street Journal an other worldwide financial magazines, being mostly aggressive profit at any cost individuals — male and female — really don’t give a damn. Life is short and if you have a good stock (pun intended) of cash, a good life will always be affordable and available.
    For those who care, the somewhat satisfying understanding that nobody escapes, no matter how rich, and knowing that rapid climate change is now part of the New Normal — a constantly shifting baselines that makes it psychologically possible to ignore and live with whatever danger lurks.

  4. BobbyL says:

    Since a big increase in warming of the lower atmosphere took place in the 1990s and has been less dramatic since this assessment will probably not create as much urgency to act as it would have if the dramatic warming trend had continued from 2001 to 2010. This is unfortunate because all of the scientific information gathered so far indicates that we are headed for an unprecedented catastrophe.

  5. Superman1 says:

    There are three main thermal impacts from greenhouse gases: heating of the atmosphere; heating of the oceans; contributing to endothermic processes like melting of ice. Any analysis that does not address all three is incomplete.

  6. BobbyL says:

    I agree but the debate for years has focused on the average global temperature of the lower atmosphere. That really has been synonymous with global warming. The international target has been to stay below 2C, not some specific ocean temperature or degree of ice melting. When comes to motivation for action I think the temperature of the lower atmosphere is the main factor.

  7. kermit says:

    So… saving the world is OK, as long as it doesn’t reduce coal industry profits?

    “make coal part of a low carbon future”
    “donuts – part of this nutritious breakfast”
    “cigarettes in moderation for a healthy lifestyle”

    Feh. Coal plants don’t need new emissions rules; they need to be phased out and replaced ASAP.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    Meehl (2013) is an update to their previous work, and the authors show that accelerated warming decades are associated with the positive phase of the IPO. This is a result of a weaker wind-driven ocean circulation, when a large decrease in heat transported to the deep ocean allows the surface ocean to warm quickly, and this in turn raises global surface temperatures.

    This modelling work, combined with current understanding of the wind-driven ocean circulation, implies that global surface temperaures will rise quickly when the IPO switches from the current negative phase to a positive phase.

    So to answer the question posed in the title – will ocean heat come back to come to haunt us? Yes, but perhaps not in the way some might think. Heat buried in the deep layers of the ocean will not re-surface any time soon. Instead, when the subtropical ocean gyres spin down, they will no longer be efficiently removing heat from the tropical surface ocean. The transport of ocean heat to depths, and to the poles, will drastically slow down, and this will allow the surface of the tropical oceans to warm rapidly. That heat is very likely to haunt us.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    So that’s Moniz revealing his true features. Ho, Hum!

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Much as I despise and fear the rich, I cannot find any recompense is knowing that they will go extinct too, if they continue to win. I’d rather see them disempowered and survive, along with as many of us others as possible.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Well, pro, it had to have gone somewhere. To argue that a slightly less rapid increase in atmospheric temperatures means that the other trapped heat is somehow irrelevant, is Dunning-Kruger level cretinism. Perhaps we need to start distributing iodine tablets. It is remarkable to watch a species with the hubris to call itself ‘sapiens sapiens’, engaged in willful, and suicidal, stupidity.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    “To argue that a slightly less rapid increase in atmospheric temperatures means that the other trapped heat is somehow irrelevant..”

    But nobody is suggesting this. In fact what this study hints at, is developments of increased warmth. The next positive OPI might very well reveal this.

    These upcoming years of extreme warmth will further accelerate thawing – accelerate all the processes we can observe already.

  13. Jan Moore says:

    Scientists have carefully looked at why the planet could be warming today. The primary reason is carbon pollution from dirty fossil fuels ⎯ and 97% of the top climate scientists agree.

  14. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Naughty planet! Fancy doing something that doesn’t suit a few politicians. What do you think we should do to her? ME

  15. Jack Burton says:

    Does anyone care to express an opinion on how extreme the climate shift will have to be before denial no longer works. What I mean is, when are the weather extremes or the big effects like the melting arctic seas going to be big enough that no rational person would be in denial.
    The paid fossil fuel Public Relations Force is never going to admit that they are wrong, we known that. But there are many deniers for various reasons who still remain unpaid and fairly rational.
    If say the arctic seas go ice free in 5 years, we awake one Sept. morning to an ocean with no ice but scattered floating bergs. Would that force the hands of all rational people? Or would jet stream effects that burn up the entire South West USA or push 100 degree temps into Alaska and Siberia for a few weeks on end. Would that force the hands of all rational people?
    I wonder. “Where is the tipping point for humanity is general”? “How far must the effects go before denial is absurd?”
    Like I said, the Fossil Fuel Industry and religious Right Wing Extremists are never going to stop denial, because they are incapable of rational thought. They are either paid money to lie, or do not accept rational thought as possible outside of the biblical framework.
    For myself, I think if this summer out west and this melt season in the Arctic continue, if the far northern land masses see more 80-90F days, like recently, then we may be close to an intellectual tipping point. Denial will be absurd to the rational mind.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Why, the same thing we did to Cheryl Nixon, Carmen Lawrence, Joan Kirner and Julia Gillard, of course.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I’ve long asserted that I believe that for the hardcore denialists ie the rich who have trillions invested in fossil fuel assets, their paid mouthpieces in the Rightwing MSM, the hate-tanks and politics, and the Dunning-Krugerite rabble, driven on by manic hatred of environmentalists, there is probably no point where they will acknowledge error. They can claim ‘natural variability’, or acknowledge climate change but deny human responsibility, well past the point of calamity. Many will see it as ‘God’s Will’ in judgment on the ‘unGodly’ and that is it. Absurdity doesn’t come into it. Any Rightwing ideologue worthy of that name believes in scores of absurdities because they are the bedrock of his self-belief and perception of existence. They are living embodiments of existential absurdity.

  18. prokaryotes says:

    Maybe an equivalent to the European heat wave from 2003 or Katrina 2.0?

    But there is always denial – it’s in human nature, that’s why you need leadership.

  19. James says:

    Ask any climate scientist: Man-made carbon pollution is the cause of the global warming we’re seeing now.

  20. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yep, thats the good old Aussie way of dealing with uppity sheilas but can we scale it up? I mean even more than now, ME

  21. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Pro, there have always been deniers of various colours as Jack says but they have always been a very small minority and tolerated because they posed no danger to the majority, except witches of course. But we live in strange times when so many people are living physically and psychologically lives dangerous to themselves and others. So many are seriously divorced from reality now that only a direct hit will wake them up. They are in fact victims of ‘leadership’ which has deprived them of any decision making about their lives and their futures to which they respond in the only way they have left – to retreat, ME