NASA Video Illustrates 130 Years of Global Warming, Hansen Expects New Global Temperature Record Within 3 Years

In 1880, when modern global temperature records began, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were at 285 parts per million. In 2011, they are were over 390 parts per million. That has trapped a lot of extra energy on earth — see “The Radiative Forcing of the CO2 Humans Have Put in the Air Equals 1 Million Hiroshima Bombs a Day.”

As we’ve spewed greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere at at a faster pace, global temperatures have accelerated upward, particularly since the 1970’s. To illustrate this rise, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies released this fascinating video of 131 years of temperature records edited into a 30-second video.

“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS Director James E. Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”

Hansen said he expects record-breaking global average temperature in the next two to three years….  “It’s always dangerous to make predictions about El Niño, but it’s safe to say we’ll see one in the next three years,” Hansen said. “It won’t take a very strong El Niño to push temperatures above 2010.”



20 Responses to NASA Video Illustrates 130 Years of Global Warming, Hansen Expects New Global Temperature Record Within 3 Years

  1. prokaryotes says:

    A thought…

    Maybe one of the negative feedbacks of the earth climate system is a persistent La Nina. Until the forcngs overwhelm and tend to persistent El Nino….

    To bad i have no data to back up my theory. Hansen is probably right, the next El Nino will be smashing in any regard.

  2. Michael Stefan says:

    I recall reading that a La Nina actually causes a net gain in heat due to cooler surface temperatures, whereas El Nino causes some heat loss by pushing temperatures above radiative equilibrium; this is best observed when looking at basinwide tropical Pacific heat content (not just eastern Pacific), which is usually a maximum before an El Nino and a minimum before a La Nina.

  3. Joan Savage says:

    Take a look at Ricky Rood’s graph of temperature anomalies for La Niña and all Other years that he published on Jan 4. It doesn’t show an increase in frequency of La Niñas.

    Big “however” is that the present La Niña is hotter than any El Niño before 1995.

    As the world warms, there has been a reduction in the difference between ‘typical’ temperatures for a La Niña and a non La Niña year.

  4. Leif says:


  5. Jeff H says:

    Presidential Responsibility

    Recently, I’ve given more thought to a view that a few others have mentioned before, at least briefly, but that I hadn’t thought about much—until now.

    Consider these two claims:

    1. The President should do something substantial to address climate change because he promised us he would, and because he should in any case.

    2. The President, as President, has an Obligation to make sure that the American people know about the climate change problem, understand that it’s real, and understand the likely implications.

    I agree with both claims. That said, given the present situation and the “first thing” that is missing from the President’s apparent philosophy and approach, the second claim (2) is the most immediately relevant one, and also the strongest. It’s the one that the President, the Dems, the environmental groups, CAP, CP, and so forth should understand, take to heart, and speak loudly, not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

    I think we haven’t focused on that claim enough, or made it loudly, and I don’t think it’s a claim that can be disagreed with, reasonably.

    One of the chief responsibilities of any President — perhaps THE chief responsibility of the Office of President — is to protect the American public from harm, to protect and serve their “best interests” in the genuine sense of that phrase. Part of that — a first and necessary step — must necessarily be to inform the public of substantial threats and problems, and to make sure that the public understands them sufficiently to choose, on an informed basis, what to do.

    The President’s responsibility is not to DO whatever he wants to do in order to actually address a problem his way. Alas, actually, the answer to the question, “What to do about the problem?” must arise via the democratic process (although goodness knows that there is a very great deal to be done to make sure that the process works and is informed and responsible). But the President DOES have an OBLIGATION — a moral obligation and a political one — to inform the public about major problems (in this case, climate change) and to make sure that the public understands them sufficiently. That much can only be seen as nothing less than an Obligation that comes with the Office. It’s the very least that the President is obligated to do. If he doesn’t do that, regarding an issue as huge and consequential and time-sensitive as climate change, he violates his Oath of Office, the intent of the Office of President, and indeed the entire point of government.

    This obligation, because of its nature and foundational importance, cannot be placed anywhere in the hierarchy of priorities that the President and his political advisers might prefer. It is an obligation OF the Office, and the President is presently IN Office. The question of whether or not it is politically expedient for the President (in order to get reelected) to convey the problem of climate change to the public adequately is not a relevant question when it comes to this sort of obligation. Presidents don’t have basic obligations so that they can decide how to play with them, manipulate them, tease with them, and live up to them (or not) IN ORDER TO GET REELECTED. The point of an obligation is that it’s not discretionary.

    Also, it is not “for” the President to decide that He is the only or necessary one that must be elected for a future term. In other words, the following reasoning is faulty: “For the good of the people, it is I who must be elected for another term, and the ‘I’ part of that is so necessary that it justifies me in not living up to the basic obligations of the Office in my present term.” That logic is deeply faulty, and I hope I don’t have to explain why. (If it would be helpful, let me know.)

    Also — and hopefully this is also clear — it is NOT part of a healthy democracy if our leaders, especially our President, treat us like we’re children and think that (for our own good) we must not be told the truth. That stance defeats the whole point of democracy. It turns democracy into nothing more than a manipulative personality contest, and a dangerous one.

    So I think this: Whatever the President has or hasn’t done in the way of policies that actually begin to address climate change; and whatever he thinks we should DO to address climate change, and whether that’s the best approach or not; and whatever views he has about what “messaging” and tactics might be more conducive to reelection; either way, he has an Obligation to make sure that the American people are responsibly informed about climate change, now, and that is an Obligation associated with his present term, today. It’s not discretionary. It’s not a political toy, or a means to be manipulated in order to facilitate reelection.

    This is, by the way, especially true because we are already more than three years into his first term, and he was elected on the basis that he was (and would be) clear about climate change. It’s also especially true because he claims to understand climate change and its importance, and indeed he has S. Chu at his side. With understanding comes responsibility. And with the Office of President, come basic obligations to the American people.

    In short, it’s not up to the President to decide whether or not to communicate climate change clearly, or to be satisfied at the current level of public (mis)-understanding and the current confusions in the media, confusions that are so persistent and (to many members of the public) plausible because they occupy a void that exists because of his own lack of communication. It’s not up to a professional accountant to decide to fudge the books, or to decide to not do the due diligence that he’s supposed to do when reviewing a company’s financial statements. It’s not up to a lifeguard on a beach to leave his post while on duty, leaving people to drown or to swim with the sharks.

    Perhaps someone — someone who is an ethicist, ideally, and who also has some understanding of the original justifications of government, and the Oath of Office of a President — should analyze and weigh-in on this matter. In my view, a President has a concrete Obligation to inform the public of substantial dangers and threats to their well-being, and to do his utmost to make sure that as many members of the public as possible gain a sufficient understanding to understand, to realize, that there is a real problem. That much is not discretionary. It’s up to the public, then, to do what they think is warranted, including whether or not to reelect someone who tells them the truth, or someone who doesn’t. But THAT is the public’s choice, and it is not (and should not be) up to the President to decide that he will not live up to his Obligations in the present term because he anticipates or assumes that the public will vote for a fabricator, rather than a truth-teller, the next time around.

    Indeed, the irony of a President who avoids speaking the truth soundly and loudly in his first term, all because he worries that if he does, the public will vote for someone who doesn’t speak the truth (instead of him) for a coming term—yet who claims that he values truth—should strike us all as rather amazing.

    In any case, there is a vital Obligation here, and it’s not being fulfilled. We should demand that the President fulfills it, and not vote for him if he doesn’t.

    Be Well,


  6. prokaryotes says:

    “The President’s responsibility is not to DO whatever he wants to do in order to actually address a problem his way.”

    Does that make a lot of sense? Every president is an individual and does things his very own way. What counts is the outcome of an endavour. And rightnow the last days Obama is busy advertising the clean energy transition and to start executive actions to address these. (Actions which are totally absent in your equaiton).

    And the political landscape – reality, is also not part of this.

    “Indeed, the irony of a President who avoids speaking the truth soundly and loudly in his first term”

    The speaking must first come from the public side. And pressure must be put there where barriers are.

    I suggest you start blogging ( maybe?) and maybe this way you get more feedback. Also i suggest you start and write down the exact message you like to have your president to announce.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    Unprecedented, Human-Made Trends in Ocean’s Acidity

    Combining computer modeling with observations, an international team of scientists concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last 100 to 200 years have already raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations. The study is published in the January 22 online issue of Nature Climate Change.

  8. Steve says:


    In some ways I agree with you and others at CP who have lamented the President’s record on this issue, but I think you are now getting a bit obsessed with attacking him. Take a hard look at the three most likely individuals to be the GOP candidate to run in 2012, and just hope Obama is back in the White House. (Your analysis of Constitutional Law is suspect, at best, by the way… the Executive Branch is Commander-in-Chief but not Commander-in-Public- Awareness.)

    Surveys show a lot of Americans “get it” about climate change. What are they doing, and what can they do? There is a lot of inertia involved in overcoming our addiction to ease of transportation and high energy consumption. So, how much will change if the President piles onto that messaging?

    Talking, and blogging, and complaining go just so far. Have you and everyone you know taken full advantage of the solar energy tax credit? I’d focus my efforts there, with something tangible. Spend $30,000 to install PV panels — get $9,000 back from Uncle Sam — give work to deserving individuals and companies, make a physical difference in CO2 emissions, and set an example for others. If you have solar, loan money to someone who doesn’t and structure it to get paid back in eight years on their energy bill savings.

    Things, frankly, are not yet dire enough for a President to dictate all sorts of personal choices and changes on a massive scale. I know Progressives believe that a strong central government committed to making everyone’s life better is the way to go, but it doesn’t always work out that way, and absent emergency circumstances, many Americans both resent and scoff at the idea of being told what they MUST do, even to save themselves, let alone save a planet.

    If you want polical office messaging, listen to Governor Brown’s State of the State address in California. It’s a much more receptive audience than the whole USA, so it is politically effective, though he does not dictate anyone do this or do that… people have to come around to make those changes.


  9. Colorado Bob says:

    From the link –
    “In some regions, the man-made rate of change in ocean acidity since the Industrial Revolution is hundred times greater than the natural rate of change between the Last Glacial Maximum and pre-industrial times,” emphasizes Friedrich. “When Earth started to warm 17,000 years ago, terminating the last glacial period, atmospheric CO2 levels rose from 190 parts per million (ppm) to 280 ppm over 6,000 years. Marine ecosystems had ample time to adjust. Now, for a similar rise in CO2 concentration to the present level of 392 ppm, the adjustment time is reduced to only 100 — 200 years.”

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Colorado Bob please start a stream.. and if you like join me at (as everybody else). I invite you to present your project there to an growing audience. Spread out :)

  11. jyyh says:

    To put the Hiroshima-calculation in a another perspective, I did it a bit differently:
    As it’s know, or at least estimated pretty confidently, that ~90% of the additional heating goes in the oceans, taking the uneven distribution of the additional heat in consideration, one gets that on an area of land of 1489,4 km2, there’s one bomb per day, that is, a circle with a diameter of ~43,5km, so I’d say one should see global warming happening.

  12. Wes Rolley says:

    The USDA has just released an update to it’s plant hardiness zone map. Shows that the place is warming a bit, and then says that it should not be taken as a sign of global warming. New map is here:

  13. NCDC Global Climate Report for December 2011 shows that last month was the 10th warmest December since records began:

    Looking more locally, Alaska had its third warmest December on record:

    Also 15 states in the eastern half of the country had December average temperatures ranking among their ten warmest (much above normal). Only New Mexico was much below normal which was the states 4th coldest December on record. The December rankings are still preliminary, so the final data may change the rankings only slightly.

  14. The third link in my previous post was apparently wrong. Here is the link for the December preliminary map of statewide average temperature rankings:

  15. I just found out that James Hansen has released a new discussion on climate change entitled “Cowards in Our Democracies: Part 1”

    It is really interesting to read what Hansen has to say on this subject especially with the media coverage and so on. Here is the link to his website:

  16. perceptiventity says:

    KMO welcomes Mark Robinowitz of Oil Empire back to the C-Realm to discuss economics, protest, and the management of mainstream worlviews by the corporate media. Mark explains why he regards the presidential election as a form a theater and why he holds no enthusiasm for the candidacy of Ron Paul.

  17. Peter SM says:

    That the Media is dependent on advertising from fossil fuel companies- so says Hansen, prevents them from displaying any ethical/moral behavior on AGW- stunning admission from the nations Chief Climate Scientist. But a reality we all have known here at CP for a long time. Hansen’s courage transcends any known politician over the last 3 years.

    The Media today has evolved into the lowest form of human life. But over time they will be exposed for their subterfuge. Like all private companies over the last 32 years the amount of profits has only been exceeded by their greed. The medias role of informing the public of News and Truth ended long ago.

    In a decade will the Media still be giving balance to the story of AGW. Will climate events become so out of control- will they be forced to lose their lucrative income from Exxon-Mobile and others? I hope I live to see that day.

  18. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Any one else notice the GPS playing up over the last few days. The sun is wakening, La Nina is weakening, we may not have to wait three years for a record.

  19. Leif says:

    I do not understand how you can dismiss the 90% of the excess heat that is absorbed by the oceans. That heat is still there, warmer water, and heat energy, (think of the effects of the slight warming of El Nino on a global weather), is the driver of weather which then becomes the concentration of that energy potential. Which is then transformed into intensified events. Floods in the Mid West, Australia, Pakistan… Stronger Tornadoes and cyclones, 4% added water vapor and all the rest. I like to think of the oceans as a huge battery that is being charged up. Re-do your calculation with all the energy absorbed and what do you get? I come up with one “Hiro” every ~16 mile diameter circle per day, (would love a check) and IMO we see the effects every day if we look.