Climate change is taking place as the earth continues to warm up.
In the UK, 2009 as a whole was the 14th-warmest on record (since 1914). This above-average temperature trend was reflected globally, with 2009 being the fifth-warmest year on the global record (since 1850).It [the recent cold snap] doesn’t tell us anything about climate change, which has to be looked at in a global context and over longer periods of time.
The UK’s Met Office, part of its Defence Ministry, has an excellent post, “What’s causing the cold weather?”
They explain that unlike the usual weather pattern of the last 20 years, “over the past three weeks the Atlantic air has been ‘blocked’ and cold air has been flowing down from the Arctic or the cold winter landmass of Europe.” They also note that December wasn’t record-breaking in terms of cold, but merely “the coldest for 14 years and colder than the long-term average.”
More significantly, the Met Office notes (and yes the figure above is their posting of last week’s land-surface temperature anomalies):
… it is not cold everywhere in the world. North-east America, Canada, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and south-west Asia have all seen temperatures above normal — in many places by more than 5 °C, and in parts of northern Canada, by more than 10 °C.
On Wednesday they updated their El Ni±o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) report. They note, “The tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface remains significantly warmer than the long-term average in central and eastern areas.” Since the Met Office published the land surface temperature anomalies, it seems a good match to post the sea surface temperature anomalies from last week (12/28–1/03) from the Australians:
Again, some places are coolish, some are quite warm. On the whole, the planet is not in a deep freeze. Quite the reverse, not only do we continue to warm, but the warming in the equatorial Pacific means we are in a moderate-to strong El Ni±o.
In fact, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center just released its monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussion, which concludes:
Synopsis: El Ni±o is expected to continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.
El Ni±o strengthened during December 2009, with above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) encompassing the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Weekly values of the Ni±o-3.4 index increased slightly with the most recent value reaching +1.8°C
The models disagree on both the length and strength of the El Ni±o, but a number forecast it lasting through the summer, including the Ensemble Mean forecast from the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA).
So 2010 continues to have a better than 50% chance of being the hottest year on record (see Hansen predicts better than 50% chance 2010 will set new record and UK Met Office: Global warming plus El Ni±o means it’s “more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record”).
The anti-science disinformers, snow bunnies that they are, will need to enjoy the cold while they can!
- The hottest decade ends and since there’s no Maunder mininum “” sorry deniers! “” the hottest decade begins
- “Experts: Cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming”
- Was the “Blizzard of 2009”³ a “global warming type” of record snowfall “” or an opportunity for the media to blow the extreme weather story (again)?
- Looks like I’m going on FoxNews today because it’s cold outside