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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 connor4312 on 1/16/2013 9:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
Young man, regardless of illogical it is comparing reducting one's carbon output to suicide, if a scientist told you that eating healthy would, according to decades of research on the subject, improve your lifespan (but cost more), would you do it?

I believe that is a more apt comparison.

By Duwelon on 1/16/2013 9:37:37 PM , Rating: 5
To blindly accept that research, peddled by hate mongers and control freaks, and ignore the fraud and science to the contrary, makes you and every other fool who gives up liberty in the name of global warming, cannon fodder for tyrants. In the end you will be a slave, more so than you already are.

By maugrimtr on 1/17/2013 8:30:49 AM , Rating: 1
The comments above are fascinating. Who sponsors those who achieve conclusions in opposition to the other 90%+ of climatologists? Surely they also are being paid and so much be held in deep suspicion since this may encourage them to resist the global scientific communities concensus all the harder?

The money argument cuts in both directions, people... That's why it doesn't make any damn sense.

By othercents on 1/17/2013 10:43:05 AM , Rating: 4
We should just put it all in prospective...

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.

So we had an larger increase before and a cooling period and probably for some unknown reason.
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.

How can natural forces have a greater impact on lowering temperatures, but not on in raising them?

So in reality, we don't really know if the earth just usually has periods of hotter and colder temperatures and if human impact has made any significant differences. And if human impact has made a difference who has been the largest contributor to the issue.

My vote is we should sue China for causing global temperatures to rise:

By TheEinstein on 1/17/2013 9:18:29 AM , Rating: 1
No you're incorrect. See I can prove 100% of the AGW scientists incorrect. Yes 100%.I call most of them liars and cheats... the rest are duped and ignorantof the truth.

And I bring science for my proof.

By tng on 1/17/2013 10:11:33 AM , Rating: 5
climate change being a real problem greatly outweighs the small percentage of numbers that have been found to be questionable/faulty.
Questionable? The data sets were manipulated to achieve an outcome, that is far from faulty.

I think that there is a large trust issue involved here. How can you trust the guy that has manipulated the data about this very thing before and thought no one would find out? The reason behind that manipulation is also in question, why? Money, personal beliefs, larger agenda?

I also think that we would all agree that there is "Climate Change", maybe not so much "Global Warming". The real issue is if man is contributing as much as the IPCC says or is it just to push for UN control.

Lots of trust issues with people nowdays and it is understandable, why people would be skeptical.

By Dr of crap on 1/17/2013 12:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the fact that the measuring places are skewing the temps higher. Look it up. A LOT of temp readings are taken near large blacktops, near AC hot air ouputs, ...ect.

AND for all you warming belivers, are you doing ANYTHING to help stop our HUMAN part in adding to the warming we are suspose to be making?????

By marsovac on 1/18/2013 5:01:40 AM , Rating: 1
Why would that screw the <delta>?

If we measure temperature year after year close to a hot blowing air output, well that air output will blow hotter if the global temperature is raising, and will blow cooler if it is decreasing.

By theapparition on 1/21/2013 12:20:37 PM , Rating: 3
Completely correct, the delta should not be affected.

However, the sharp spike in reporting also coincided with the closing of 60% of world weather reporting stations. It is also not coincidental that when the USSR dissolved, many weather reporting sites had a sharp uptick in reported temperatures, since their funding for fuel oil was based on how cold it was.

The other problem is some scientists aren't looking at deltas, but actual temperatures. We can't use delta's when referring to Medieval Warming periods. The data from that time period is suspect to be within an error of +/-3deg C. If the data is estimated within a generous tolerance band, than how can one reasonably extrapolate temperature rises that are eclipsed by that tolerance. It is also estimated that 90% of US sensors don't meet site quality standards, hence many of the closings leaving a much smaller sample size.

Delta's work fine, but the sample size is no longer the same, yet researchers are looking at the data and trying to compare the same deltas. Also, the deltas can be easily influenced. Take a look at some of these surface stations. There's one where a window AC unit is only a few feet from the sensors. The homeowner simply switching the unit, running it more or any number of other factors can affect the reporting done at that one station. A tree cut down can now allow direct sunlight, where shade was once offered. And in the interest of being fair, a tree could have grown offering more shade than before.

Point is, the data is somewhat suspect in it's own right. Combine that with scientists who have gone on record with preconceived conclusions and have cherry picked their data to support those conclusions makes them untrustworthy and their conclusions suspect. I just think we need to have more true scientific scrutiny of the data and results.

By Paj on 1/18/2013 8:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
Guess what - they've already accounted for this! That's right, the scientists whose job it is to study the data have already anticipated this, completely independently of you!

They even wrote some actual, scientific papers about it, and you can read them for yourself!

And guess what? Yep, still getting warmer.

By Ammohunt on 1/17/2013 11:29:23 AM , Rating: 1
That's how science works. You obviously is NOT a scientist. That's why you think climate change have something to do with "liberty".

This is typical of a certain ideology they need an authority to define their reality they can't make any judgements on their own. No one needs a scientist to tell them that water is wet, fire burns and excessive inertia with a sudden stop can be deadly nor do you need an education in the subject matter outside of common sense life experience. I reject the notion that i can't make a determination based on the evidence at hand using refined critical thinking skills on the topic of global warming. With the level of information saturation we have today skilled people can become experts on any topic without a formal education. This simple fact boggles the minds of the institutional dependent classes among us. They don't think for themselves and get their thoughts and opinions from others.

By maugrimtr on 1/18/2013 6:11:54 AM , Rating: 3
You're an idiot. I say that based on the fact that any scientist working on quantum mechanics (as a simple example) would laugh in your face. The average person is not capable of making scientific observations above a certain level - the point where conclusions must be reached by analysing hordes of data using advanced mathematics (i.e. almost all science).

An ideology that requires an authority to define reality is a stupid swipe. In politics, this is obviously bad news. It goes equally for the media who have decided to suspend objectivity and reporting of facts and entered the realm of pandering to one or another type of political party. Those who claim authority to define reality exist on both sides of the political divide in droves.

It's unfortunate, but conservatism is being associated with anti-science. As a conservative, this is deeply irritating. We have idiots supplanting science in favour of their religious beliefs (which are incorrect, non-factual and can only be true if God created fossils as some sort of inside joke on our stupidity).

The climate change debate is riddled with the same problem - contrary beliefs, lies (that data manipulation guy was found to have manipulated NOTHING once all the emails were accessed - but that lie keeps a lot of people warm), slander against scientists and the political genius (by those in authority) to make this into a "Liberal" invention.

With the level of information saturation we have today skilled people can become experts on any topic without a formal education. This simple fact boggles the minds of the institutional dependent classes among us. They don't think for themselves and get their thoughts and opinions from others.

Skilled people can become armchair experts. Being a scientist requires a lot of experience, education, real world research and...basically it's like most jobs. I wouldn't trust an unqualified accountant to do my books. Why should I trust an armchair "scientist"?

Science is also the opposite of what you claim. It requires, as a given, independent of thought and opinion. If scientists were sheep, we would still believe the Earth was flat, 4,000 years old, and was orbited by a ball of fire. Science is adversarial - the Scientific Method challenges everything. That's why almost everything is a Theory and not a Fact. Gravity, Evolution, Relativity - all Theories. So much for liberal scientists being unthinking drones dependent on institutional classes... I assume you were also referring to the Republican Party Institution and the Christian Institution - or do they get exceptions because they are on the right?

They don't think for themselves and get their thoughts and opinions from others.

Oh, the irony...

By rsmech on 1/21/2013 11:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
You are right. As soon as 1 man out of all scientists said the world wasn't flat he was praised. Wrong. Think of every example you gave and how long and hard it was to be accepted. Global warming is nowhere near a theory. I can't prove or disprove it and right now neither can any scientist. Neither side has solid ground to stand on. But don't tell me I need to do this or need to do that or take my money when you have no scientific leg (theory) to stand on. I am no scientist but I know the difference between theory and hypothosis and don't treat one like the other.

By Ammohunt on 1/23/2013 4:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
Deference to authority is exactly what is taught in universities. Its not a exclusive club; in your post you have obviously succumbed to exactly that. What was lost on you as part of my post was the philosophical aspect of what I am saying; not religion but the human condition and our nature. Human nature dictates the path of least resistance as you demonstrated my point exactly you defer to scientist as your authority to define your opinion on topics that concern you not unlike religious people defer to God and church as their authority. No one can prove the other wrong so at the same time it validates both beliefs i.e. no one opinion is more correct. I believe it all derives from a deep seated need in the human psyche for superstition beliefs e.g. 911 truthers, Obamas birth certificate.
You may feel Conservatism is anti-science an opinion you are entitled to. Any conservative with any sense knows that the religious right is only one tiny part of the conservative movement and not the main platform thrust. I to lament things such as abortion and gay marriage being attached to any serious political discussion it distracts from the real issues.
In my opinion the Climate change debate is being driven by base Marxists spun out form the counter culture movement of the 60ies those that despise capitalism as an economic system and the consumerism that it breeds. Long ago they realized that a direct approach against capitalism was not workable they did however shrewdly figure out that you can attack and potentially destroy it by creating a mythos that portrays it as destroying something everyone has a stake in the “Environment”. Since this movement originated in universities and colleges worldwide they had direct access to the human capital needed such as research Scientists at major universities along with students to create and maintain whatever lie they wanted. All they had to do it stick with a narrative disseminate it as fact to impressionable students along with indoctrinating them with base deference to authority and we have what we have now generations of anti-capitalist environmentalists automatons. They believe in Climate Change because the authorities they trust believe in climate change.
So to recap applying the aforementioned critical thinking skills based we come up with a simple question “How can we be certain that we are warming the earth when the earth is 4 billion years old and we posses only the last 50-60 years of that 4 billion years climate data?”
Answer: Superstition and deference to authority.

By itzmec on 1/23/2013 9:38:08 PM , Rating: 2

By Paj on 1/18/2013 8:22:39 AM , Rating: 2
I reject the notion that i can't make a determination based on the evidence at hand using refined critical thinking skills on the topic of global warming. With the level of information saturation we have today skilled people can become experts on any topic without a formal education.

Er... you actually think that?

So you can determine if something is true or not by using your 'critical thinking skills'... and nothing else?

The irony... it burns.

By DougF on 1/17/2013 5:37:25 AM , Rating: 2
Young man, regardless of how illogical it is to compare apple to oranges, if a scientist who was funded by certain parties with a specific agenda, created models of eating and consumption such that eating certain foods would improve your lifespan at the cost of supporting certain food growers through your taxes and requiring you to live a lifestyle defined by others, who will benefit from this lifestyle, while stating contrary opinions as "deniers", would you do it?

I know this is a more apt comparison of the issues involved.

By Paj on 1/18/2013 8:28:58 AM , Rating: 1
Depends. As soon as other scientists reviewed her work, they could determine the efficacy of her research methods, and verify the data for themselves. See how it works?

Oh wait, but ALL scientists are in on it. Every one of them. In the entire world. To make money. Becuase, y'know, there's this secret cabal of trillionaires who are making the scientists say its warmer than it really is, so politicians can funnel billions in grant money to the scientists and get the public to spend all their cash on renewable energy, which makes them even more money! I guess that explains why renewable energy companies are so well represented in the Fortune 500, on account of how effective this plan is.

By NellyFromMA on 1/17/2013 4:49:04 PM , Rating: 3
Climate change is real. There's evidence of harsh climate change periods throughout Earth's existence as well as more modest ones.

Man made climate change on the other hand... idk, there's really no substantial conclusive evidence that any climate change at all is a result of MAN MADE activity in this generation or in any passed era.

You may arguably never be able to prove it. That shouldn't mean you impose the view upon society just 'cause it must be mans fault by default.

Just my two.

By TSS on 1/17/2013 11:26:15 PM , Rating: 1
Isn't it pathetic the skeptics first have to say "climate change is real" before their arguement will even be heard.

Ofcourse climate change is real. Climate. Change. The climate changes. It's so fricking stupidly obvious we SHOULDN'T have to acknowledge it.

The question has always been where is it changing to (warmer or colder), and how big an effect are we having on it? Of which there is *no* consensus. None what so ever.

All we have is the global institute that's supposed to track these things proven to fudge the data to whatever direction is benificial to their sponsors. Oh an national weather centers that half of the time get the termperature the next day wrong (biggest miss i've seen was about 4-5 years ago when i saw the website updated at 1 AM where temperature predictions for that morning/afternoon dropped 10 degrees celsius, lol). As these people can tell me it'll be 1 degree warmer on average in 100 years?

Oh, and we've classified airborne plantfood as a poison. Nobody even looks at watervapor/clouds, which is a much larger greenhouse "gas", and everytime i look at the sky when a plane passes by there's these giant trails of condensation, and air travel has absolutely exploded since, gasp, when termperatures started to rise on average.

Most likely not a direct cause, but another piece of the puzzle i'll bet very few have even bothered to look at. As long as you don't have all the pieces yet, you don't know jack, and it's best to assume what you've been assuming so far: we don't affect the climate of an entire planet.

We can poison a river, we can clog the air in a 50 mile radius, and that's about all we can do to the enviroment. Only now that there are so many humans we've started to become able to make species go exinct directly (tigers, dodo, etc) instead of introducing a non-native species of animal who'd do the work for us.

IMO a far bigger issue will be how we're going to explain this madness to the next generation, most likely while they're freezing their ass off. The economy's down and the winters are starting to get colder again here so that's what i predict.

By NellyFromMA on 1/18/2013 12:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think its a question of trending warmer or colder really...

I'm not gonna claim to be an expert in the field or anything but I do follow up on these thigns as a hobby...

IMO it seems to be more about the instablity of the common defined 'season' and the drastic ups and downs as a whole.

Averages are obviously important as well as the trend up or down or a given period of time, but the real question is how will this affect our lives on a day to day basis.

Personally, I'm not sure we'll see a global cool down so much as we may be seeing a shift in climate zones.

Inevitably, its all guess work. How educated that guess is, however, can only be trusted if there are no external biases being imposed on the data

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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