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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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Too complicated to understand..
By nocturne on 1/17/2013 1:27:19 AM , Rating: 1
While we are still barely scratching the surface on understanding how our climate works, ranging from man-made effects from emissions to the effect of the magnetic force derived from earth's spinning to the many affects of spikes of solar radiation..

One thing for sure though, the last decade has been scary.. Here in the midwest, we used to have relatively mild weather year round, ranging from a steady hot summer with a July drought to a cold, cold winter with a foot deep frost layer and snow on the ground for 4 months out of the year. This last year -- late frosts killing off the majority of fruit tree blooms, then right into a ridiculously hot (always upper 90s, but we reached a scary 107 deg, esp considering our humidity) early summer with a drought lasting from May till July, then into August in the mid 60s with plenty of rain, a lackluster fall that lasted forever, and now a winter that hasn't even seemed to arrive yet outside one single big snow (it was in the 60s here less than a week ago -- weird!!). It's not random, though.. it's an expression of a trend that's now bordering on the severe.

Sure, climates change.. but not this quick.

PS: Get pissed when I see 'global warming' instead of 'global climate change'. It's been a proven fact that we do indeed affect our environment, directly causing a drought in Ethiopia/Eritrea that killed millions -- caused by increased particulate pollution in Europe that increased the density of clouds, causing resistance to the natural cycle of changing wind currents that would normally bring cool moist air over North Africa.

It made Europe cooler, actually.. but who cares about all the starving Africans anyways, right?

By PaFromFL on 1/17/2013 8:11:40 AM , Rating: 2
The only "proven fact" about climate change is that the earth has been warming since the last ice age, and there is a lot of short-term noise in the temperature plot.

The Medieval Warm Period suggests that warming trends present more positive opportunities than negative consequences. Change is not always bad. Humans have continually adapted to global warming since the last ice age (and mostly agree that ice ages suck).

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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