In 2010, global temperatures continued to rise. A new analysis from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows that 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record, and was part of the warmest decade on record. [The anomaly is versus the 1951 to 1980 baseline.]
UPDATE: NASA has just released its analysis of the 2010 temperature data here, which finds:
Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record….
To measure climate change, scientists look at long-term trends. The temperature trend, including data from 2010, shows the climate has warmed by approximately 0.36°F per decade since the late 1970s. “If the warming trend continues, as is expected, if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the 2010 record will not stand for long,” said James Hansen, the director of GISS.
The record temperature in 2010 is particularly noteworthy, because the last half of the year was marked by a transition to strong La Ni±a conditions, which bring cool sea surface temperatures to the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
These records are also especially impressive because 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.
Today, scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center also released their State of the Climate Global Analysis Annual 2010. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration news release is here, which reports:
According to NOAA scientists, 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record, beginning in 1880. This was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average….
According to the Global Historical Climatology Network, 2010 was the wettest year on record, in terms of global average precipitation….
NOAA has this nice list of the top 10 hottest years on record:
All 12 of the hottest years on record have occurred since 1997.
NASA recently reported the “meteorological year” “” December to November “” was also the hottest on record. NASA is all but certain to also find calendar year 2010 will be the hottest on record or tied with 2005. The myth that we haven’t warmed since 1998 was rightly the winner of The 2010 Climate B.S.* of the Year Award.
Not surprisingly, the hottest year was accompanied by record-smashing weather extremes — see The year of living dangerously. Masters: “The stunning extremes we witnessed gives me concern that our climate is showing the early signs of instability”; Munich Re: “The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change.”
- Russian Meteorological Center: “There was nothing similar to this on the territory of Russia during the last one thousand years in regard to the heat.”
- Another extreme drought hits the Amazon, raising climate change concerns
- Juan Cole: The media’s failure to cover “the great Pakistani deluge” is “itself a security threat” to America
- Coastal North Carolina’s suffered its second 500-year rainfall in 11 years
- We had Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge aka Nashville’s ‘Katrina’.
Meteorologist and former NOAA Hurricane hunter Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground reported, “The year 2010 now has the most national extreme heat records for a single year-nineteen. These nations comprise 20% of the total land area of Earth. This is the largest area of Earth’s surface to experience all-time record high temperatures in any single year in the historical record.”
Relatedly, Roy Spencer reports that according to the 43-year UAH satellite record for the lower troposphere:
As far as the race for warmest year goes, 1998 (+0.424 deg. C) barely edged out 2010 (+0.411 deg. C), but the difference (0.01 deg. C) is nowhere near statistically significant.
Finally, the linkage between hottest year and wettest is no surprise. As NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth explained last year:
“I find it systematically tends to get underplayed and it often gets underplayed by my fellow scientists. Because one of the opening statements, which I’m sure you’ve probably heard is “Well you can’t attribute a single event to climate change.” But there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.”
UPDATE: The NASA release notes:
A chilly spell also struck this winter across northern Europe. The event may have been influenced by the decline of Arctic sea ice and could be linked to warming temperatures at more northern latitudes.
Arctic sea ice acts like a blanket, insulating the atmosphere from the ocean’s heat. Take away that blanket, and the heat can escape into the atmosphere, increasing local surface temperatures. Regions in northeast Canada were more than 18 degrees warmer than normal in December.
The loss of sea ice may also be driving Arctic air into the middle latitudes. Winter weather patterns are notoriously chaotic, and the GISS analysis finds seven of the last 10 European winters warmer than the average from 1951 to 1980. The unusual cold in the past two winters has caused scientists to begin to speculate about a potential connection to sea ice changes.
“One possibility is that the heat source due to open water in Hudson Bay affected Arctic wind patterns, with a seesaw pattern that has Arctic air downstream pouring into Europe,” Hansen said.
UPDATE 2: Rather lamely, the Wall Street Journal piece on the NOAA release quotes one of the leading misleaders, John Christy, who is always handy with a misleading quote:
The latest finding was seen by some as further evidence of a link between human activities and global warming.
“In my mind, it reinforces the notion that we’re seeing a signal from increasing greenhouse-gas emissions,” said David Easterling, a researcher at NOAA. “If that weren’t a fact, we’d see temperatures tapering off and cooling, but we’re not seeing that.”
Not all scientists agreed. John Christy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said natural long-term variability in climate, rather than greenhouse-gas emissions, could play a greater role in warming the planet.
In addition, Dr. Christy said, “If greenhouse gases are causing warming, the climate system is not very sensitive to carbon dioxide because the warming is not very dramatic.”
Uhh, no. We have this big La Ni±a and are just coming off a record solar minimum.
Dr. Christy helped develop a global temperature data set based on satellite measurements going back to 1979. His approach indicates that 1998 was the warmest year. Dr. Christy noted that despite disagreement about the rate at which the earth is warming, most scientists agree that global temperatures are, indeed, rising.
Actually, Dr. Christy screwed up their satellite-based global temperature measurements for over a decade (see “Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?”).
In July, an international study by 300 scientists concluded that the Earth has been getting warmer over the past 50 years and that the past decade was the warmest on record. Those conclusions broadly matched the findings of the most recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 2007.
Well, thank you WSJ for that, but it’s not clear why you give less space to hundreds of leading scientists than you do to one long-wrong one.
- NSIDC: Lowest December Arctic sea ice extent in satellite record
- Globe’s coral reefs suffer second worst bleaching on record during 2010