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James Hansen puts an interesting spin on reports of the ninth warmest year on record

2012 was a kind of glass-half full, glass half-empty year in terms of global temperature.  

I. Climate Chief: Don't Worry, We're Still Doomed

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) in-depth analysis of satellite and other forms of climate data ruled the year was the ninth warmest on record.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) independent analysis of ground and sea-based climate stations reported that the year was the tenth warmest on record.

The NASA report states that the average global temperature was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 Celsius), which is 1.0 F (0.6 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline, or 1.4 F (0.6 C) warmer than the earliest comprehensive observations from the 1880s.

Still, the year marks the fifth year of a relative flatline in global temperatures after a decade in which the record was regularly broken.

Global warming proponents like James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, blame this deviation from their "doomsday" calculations on a specialized cooling phenomenon called "La Nina", which lowers temperatures in the Eastern Pacific.

Surface temperatures
Despite flat-lining surface temperatures over the last five years, some climate researchers insist we're headed to doomsday warming and should keep our fingers on the panic button.
[Image Source: GISS]

The climate official claims that aerosols, which reflect solar radiation, also had a cooling affect on temperatures.

Mr. Hansen argues that the public shouldn't just look at the numbers, but look at more nebulous and abstract observations, which he sees as supporting his beliefs of runaway warming.  He writes, "The observant person who is willing to look at the past over several seasons and several years, should notice that the frequency of unusual warm anomalies has increased and the extreme anomalies."

He and other global warming advocates have pointed to the summer's drought in central North America and high temperatures in the Rocky Mountains as such "extreme anomalies".  

II. A Hot Year for the U.S., Arctic, but a Cool One Elsewhere

2012, according to a separate NOAA report, was the hottest year on record for the U.S. The year did mark a new low for summer Arctic sea ice, according to NASA.  However, that could bring some benefits for mankind, such as opening up oil resources.

NOAA map
Parts of the globe cooled, others warmed in 2012. [Image Source: NOAA]

And temperatures for the year were actually cooler than average in several regions -- Alaska, far western Canada, central Asia, parts of the eastern and equatorial Pacific and parts of the Southern Ocean.

California meteorologist Anthony Watts, a known critic of doomsday predictions from folks like James Hansen, casts the U.S.'s record year in a different light, commenting, "If anything, U.S. temperatures are warming at a slower rate in recent decades compared to the early warming period, even with all of that lovely warm weather last year."

He points out that the recent increase (1980-2012) in U.S. surface temperatures was dwarfed by a sharp rise between 1919-1934, which was followed by a period of cooling.

In a follow-up piece, he argues the overall flatline may indicate that natural forces (including in a cooling direction) have a greater impact on global temperatures than human ones, based on his independent analysis over the last half decade.

Sources: NASA, NOAA, Jame Hansen [note]

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Scare Tactics
By Uncle on 1/16/2013 5:51:05 PM , Rating: 3
Read somewhere about the northern Hemisphere being really hot during the 16 or 17 century long before the Industrial revolution and the temperatures were just as hot or hotter then now.As far as I'm concerned were just going through a warming cycle that the world has gone through many times before. When I was in school the threat at that time was we were going into another ice age because we had winters that were colder then normal. It seems one decade were going into an ice age then into a Global warming the next decade. Has anybody noticed the term used more now is Climate change vs Global warming. Nobody wants to be caught with their pants down if their wrong. What a joke. Where I live, we have 4 climate changes a year, spring , summer, fall and winter. Personally I think were being led by our noses. The focus should be on the pollution of the environment, land and sea. But heck Industry knows whats best right. Industry likes to keep us focused on the things that don't matter instead of what does.

RE: Scare Tactics
By Captain Orgazmo on 1/16/2013 6:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
You're basically right. There was a medieval warm period, during which crops flourished in Europe, wine was produced in Britain, and the Vikings colonized Greenland (which had forest along the southern coast at the time, hence the name) and what they called Vinland (modern Newfoundland and Labrador, which was warm enough for wine at the time, again hence the name).

But if you belong to the Church of Al Gore, warming is evil! Death to the Denialists!

RE: Scare Tactics
By MrMaringer on 1/16/2013 7:03:43 PM , Rating: 1
Wine produced in Britain? Just like today then. Some nice, crisp whites and very good sparkling wine is produced here though I'd give the red a miss as it tends to be pretty thin and rubbish. Did you also know that the technique used to create champagne was actually first recorded in England, and not in France by Dom Perignon as some would have you believe?

Currently, the most northerly vineyard in the UK is close to York (around 54 degrees north) though in medieval times, wine was also produced around 70 miles further north in Durham. The only reason wine isn't produced that far north these days is because nobody bothers to do so!

In other words, don't believe all the memes you hear about the medieval warm period. They tend to be a load of nonsense.

The vast majority of evidence would seem to indicate that AGW exists and is here to stay. As for the alternative 'denialist' theory which seems to be that AGW is a vast conspiracy amongst thousands of corrupt poorly-paid academics looking to make a buck? Well, I know which I believe.

It will be interesting to see what happens when we get to the next solar maximum which I understand is expected in a few years. In theory, things ought to get even hotter once again. Time will tell.

RE: Scare Tactics
By dgingerich on 1/16/2013 6:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it was warmer in the 500-200BC range and the 900-1300AD range, which then cooled into the "little ice age" from about 1300AD to the mid 1800s, which is why the global climate 'scientists' keep comparing their temps to the 1880s, is was the coldest period in recorded human history, how better to show an example of warming?

It's also important to note that at the beginning of the little ice age, the Pueblo people of what is now the SW US migrated away from their homes because of increasing drought conditions. It was a fairly fertile and usable area during the warm periods in Europe, and fell into severe desert conditions during the cold periods.

The fact remains that we are not as warm as we have been in the past (as demonstrated by vineyards in Scotland in the 1100-1300 range and the ancient port cities along the Mediterranean coast in the 500-200BC range) and we have nothing to fear from the warming we see today. Sure, people will need to adapt and move to survive, but we'll all be fine. We'll probably prosper and grow in the warmer conditions like our ancestors did during the past warm periods.

(Seriously, how was it a good idea to build cities in the flood plain/ swamp area at the southern tip of the Mississippi or in and area that is so far under sea level it needs to have the water pumped away constantly? Sea level has changed constantly in human history. They should have had more sense. Now they'll have to abandon New Orleans and many other cities because the founders chose such stupid places to build. Even much of New York was built in areas where flooding is normal. People just need to stop breeding with the stupid, for the good of humanity.)

RE: Scare Tactics
By nocturne on 1/17/2013 1:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
There's a certain randomness to any system, including climates. But ignorance is no substitution to fact (regarding the 70s ice age).. if you want to figure it out for yourself, google 'particulate pollution 1970s' and see why those predictions were drawn, and the drastic corrections that occurred only to do increased regulation on emissions. Particulate pollution = cooler weather. Carbon emissions = hotter weather. Particulate pollution is immediately damaging to our environment, though, as to why it was considered a greater concern.

But yes, I think the primary concern should be pollution as a whole.. concentrate on a healthy environment, and I'm sure all the other 'concerns' will magically work themselves out.

But to think we don't affect our environment by our actions.. that's just ridiculously sophomoric.

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