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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 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


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