Top Climate Official: Don't be Confused by Flat-lining Temperatures, Warming is Worse
January 16, 2013 5:22 PM
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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
of satellite and other forms of climate data ruled the year was the ninth warmest on record.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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.
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
, "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.
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,
, "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.
, 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.
Jame Hansen [note]
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RE: I know the truth, don't confuse me with the facts...
1/16/2013 10:05:13 PM
Can you compare satellite data from today to satellite data from 1900? The big problem is that without using a lot of massaging of data with statistics you can't compare the total history of temperatures. Satellite data from the same area that is now asphalt paved compared to the ground data from that same location today will compare quite well if both are methods are correctly calibrated, but that still doesn't correct for the fact that temperatures at that spot will be warmer today than they were 50 years ago simply because the landscape has changed and that skews the data for determining rise of temperatures over history.
Sound science would reject the data from those sample points across the entire time because the measuring conditions are not consistent. In my work as a chemist data is not considered reliable unless the measurements are taken under the same conditions(unless you are quantifying the effect of the changing conditions). The only thing that data proves is that if you pave the area around a monitoring station the average temperature will increase.
RE: I know the truth, don't confuse me with the facts...
1/17/2013 7:40:01 AM
We're never going to be able to truly verify historical measurements. The best we can do is look at natural proxies, and so far the limited sources correlate well. Moreover, there has been plenty of changing landscape and economic growth in the last few decades, so if there was some sort of flaw in this correction methodology, it would have shown notable deviations from the 34 years of satellite data we have.
But this article is talking about "flatlining" in the last five years. The accuracy of data from 1900 isn't a factor here.
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