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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 MozeeToby on 1/17/2013 9:03:28 AM , Rating: 0
It's not global warming, it's global climate change..
Gods how I wish they hadn't started to push this angle. It's not one or the other, it's both.

It is global warming, on a global scale temperatures are going up. The last time we had a year of below average global temperature was 27 years ago; if the odds were 50/50 the chances of that happening are 1 to 134217728 against. 9 out of 10 of the hottest years on record have occurred in the last 12 years.

Globally temperatures are increasing but locally climates are changing. Hotter and drier in a lot of places, hotter and wetter in a lot of others. A handful of places will see local cooling long term as weather and ocean currents change. But again, globally temperatures will increase.

By TheEinstein on 1/17/2013 9:42:46 AM , Rating: 2
The fact is climate change has happened for the entire time there has been life on this planet . It is unpreventable, it is slow, it is methodical, it is thorough. Man does not cause it, we never caused it. There are deserts where lush life once thrived and forests that were once savanahs. Mountains have risen to block clouds and wind alike and they have fallen to water and wind as well.

However in the here and now our change is within a natural range that life can tolerate.

I can also show legions of evidence that disputes AGW and man made Climate Change as desired. Quite easily I cam dispute any portion.

By JediJeb on 1/17/2013 5:29:59 PM , Rating: 3
The last time we had a year of below average global temperature was 27 years ago

This is one thing I have a problem with. Average over what time period? 10 years, 50 years, 100 years, none of those are even relevant geologically. There are probably 100 year stretches in history that would make current temperatures look far below average and others that make them look far above average. Time wise where are we when it comes to the current interglacial period? Are we near the beginning of the post-glacial warming period, near the middle or near the end where temperatures begin to fall?

Current human society has made the same mistake as past human societies in that we have planned our cities, economies, societies based upon a very narrow time window of climate/global conditions. The current knowledge within our society tells us that there will be times of warmer temperatures with higher sea levels and times of lower temperatures with lower sea levels coming in our future, yet we still insist on building our main cities at the very edge of the worlds oceans. We know that even without man being on the planet those shorelines will move higher yet we make our plans as if they will never move. Governments, corporations and individuals all make plans for the very near future, less than one lifetime in most cases, never planning for the long term and then wonder why we suffer the consequences of a very predictable disaster. We know where the seismic faults are yet instead of banning further development in those areas such as San Fransisco and Los Angeles we continue to build those cities ever larger, putting more and more people in harms way. We know that New Orleans is build below sea level and will always be threatened by hurricanes yet we continue to rebuild there instead of moving further inland. Seems our wisdom has not kept pace with our increasing knowledge, therefore we as a society will continue to suffer destruction that is predictable and preventable.

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