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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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By Labotomizer on 1/16/2013 7:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, you need to stop that whole "thinking" thing. It could get you in trouble one of these days.

But in all seriousness, this is exactly how we need to look at it. Can we really say that anything before even the 1950s, on a global scale, can be truly accurate? And even if we say we have extremely accurate data over the last 100 years, is that enough? The earth works on a scale in the millions of years. We don't really know how much of this is caused by humans or how much is natural cyclic changes. We had ice ages before humans and we've had much, much hotter temps before humans. Life went on. Humans are the most adaptable species the planet has ever seen and people act like we won't be able to adapt to climate changes and variations.

Of course, in order to advance the human race as a whole we should be looking into more efficient uses of energy. I'm all for nuclear, solar, wind and hydrogen as energy sources. What I don't think we should do is threaten economies or break the bank in order to combat an issue we don't even slightly understand. Given the current US economic situation is it really wise to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into other programs? With the rate of population grown is it wise to use a source of food as fuel for our transportation? If that transportation is our feet, perhaps. But not cars. The smart thing to do would be to invest in a natural gas infrastructure to get us through the next 40-50 years and let science continue to develop more advanced sources of energy to sustain society. In the grand scheme of things we're barely cavemen when it comes to harnessing energy.

By boeush on 1/16/2013 7:57:27 PM , Rating: 1
Can we really say that anything before even the 1950s, on a global scale, can be truly accurate? [We... We... We... etc.]
Speak for yourself there, ignoramus.

The thousands upon thousands of scientists who have been studying these issues for multiple generations now, do know quite a bit more about all those things you mentioned, than you ever will and certainly than you appear to know currently. Yes, there are still residual uncertainties on the margin, but the major questions are long since worked out. That you don't know about that, is your own fault; don't blame the scientists or the science.
people act like we won't be able to adapt to climate changes and variations
The victims of Katrina and Sandy sure did a fine job adapting. There are hundreds of millions of people right now throughout the world who are one drought or deluge away from death. There will only be more of them as time goes on, at least for the next several decades. Let's see how well they "adapt", and whether there might be hell for the rest of us to pay (the Pentagon and the CIA surely seem to think so in their projections...) And what about the rest of the Earth's ecosystems, which are already under tremendous strain and stress from human over-exploitation? Let's pile global warming on top of all the rest, and see how high we can spike those extinction rates and how much we could magnify any and all ecological disasters? Let's save a penny today (by continuing business as usual) and let our offspring pay a pound tomorrow (in terms of "adaptation" costs) -- seems like perfectly self-absorbed egotism to me. Carry on...

By dgingerich on 1/16/2013 8:20:40 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you're totally brainwashed.

1. generations?? seriously?? It hasn't even been 100 years since we've had a fully standardized temperature scale, let alone consistent measurement all around the globe. That didn't really get started until the 60s, and even then it wasn't fully scientifically accurate until the 80s.

2. Katrina and Sandy are provably neither developed nor made stronger by any sort of climate change. Hurricanes have happened, both stronger and later in the year, since before humanity came to be, however you believe that happened.

The flooding during Katrina was a result of poor engineering, a budget for improvements in the levy system being used for other things, and the fact that some idiot decided to build a freaking city in the middle of sinking swampland.

Sandy is a regular occurrence of a north Atlantic storm colliding with a hurricane that happens every 50 to 100 years. Combine that with more idiots living on the coast where such storms happen, and you get more damage. the damage, overall, wasn't that severe. it just happened to affect a lot of people and cost a lot because the population density is so huge in that cursed part of the world.

How about you get your head out of your behind and actually use your brain to think instead of lapping up whatever the media says you should know.

(Before you go accusing me of being some brainwashed Foxnews follower, you need to know that I don't even HAVE cable or satellite TV, and don't even use a tuner on my TV anymore. I gave up on TV and the big networks a long, long time ago. I get my news from various, reputable, internet sources these days, and I take a good look at it, disregard the journalist's opinions that he or she is trying to force on me, and come to my own conclusion.)

By Labotomizer on 1/16/2013 9:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why is an articulated thought met with such a foul reaction? Do you really need to insult me to prove a point? Or perhaps you think I care, in the slightest, what your opinion of me amounts to. Because I really, really don't. As the other response to your hate-filled thread so eloquently pointed out, there hasn't been consistent temperature standards for 100 years. We didn't have solid communications on a global scale, let alone the resources to measure oceanic temperatures properly, 100 years go. There have been worse droughts than we face today, there have been worse hurricanes in the last 100 years than Katrina or Sandy. In fact, NEITHER of those storms were all that powerful on our scale for judging a Hurricane's strength. Oh, and I'm on an Emergency Response Team to restore Telecommunications to government and public safety offices in the event of a hurricane. I rode through Ike on Galveston Island. I understand what a hurricane is capable of, first hand.

If we're talking about science, the major questions are NEVER worked out. Any scientist that believes that something is 100% proven should be called a scientist. Period. There are always unaccounted for variables, always new possibilities and the "facts" change on a near daily basis. To argue that anything has been proven, up to and including such basic concepts as existence and time, is an absolute absurdity.

As for Katrina, again. Poor engineering, a city built below sea level and people ignoring mandatory evacuation orders isn't exactly something I feel all that terrible about. In fact, the only tragedy that happened with Katrina is that FEMA garnered more power and now people seem to think the government should owe them something for their own stupidity in choice of where to live. There's this thing, it's called insurance, that is supposed to cover storm damages, property loss and all that good stuff in the event of a natural disaster. Instead people now think the government, and other tax payers, should flip the bill because they had to have a beach house on the east coast. Or because they decided to live 12' below sea level on the coast of the Gulf.

But I digress. The real problem is a lack of data. If you think you can draw 100% accurate conclusions based on 100 years of climate data, which is being generous, then I don't think I should even bother with insults. It's unlikely you could appreciate them anyway.

By JediJeb on 1/16/2013 10:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
There are hundreds of millions of people right now throughout the world who are one drought or deluge away from death.

Considering that 100% of the people alive today will be dead sometime in the future I would say that droughts and deluges are only two things out of a very large list they have to worry about.

There will only be more of them as time goes on, at least for the next several decades.

There were more in the past also. There is even archeological evidence that there have been hurricanes in the distant past in the Gulf of Mexico that were many times stronger than even Katrina was. What caused those? Maybe it was the methane given off by all that decaying plant material that formed coal causing ancient global warming or maybe it was from chipmunk farts in a more recent era, who knows for sure. As for being dead certain that the amount of extreme weather will increase so much in the next several decades not even the best models have been able to predict future climate/weather with so much accuracy over the past few decades that they have been trying to do so. If most of those models had been accurate we would already be having 130F summers across all of North America as many were predicting for now back in the 80s.

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