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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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Common Sense says we do affect the climate
By foxalopex on 1/17/2013 5:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
Even without looking at any evidence it's pretty clear we are affecting the climate. Why? We've all heard that a butterfly can change the course of a Hurricane because Weather is a chaotic system. So if a butterfly can alter the weather, millions of cars, coal plants, thousands of tonnes of chemicals we dump in the environment have no effect at all is denial on a level that is unbelievable.

I mean look at the weather reports during the 911 incident. They reported a 1 degree drop in average temperature due to fewer planes and cars being active for one day. Look at the smog in some of our large cities. Are you telling me that has no affect at all?

That said, I'm sure we all agree if it can be done, we'd like fewer chemicals in our environment and more "clean" options. The sad truth is knowing how human nature works we'll likely wait till something really goes wrong. I doubt we'll die out as there are so many of us but life as we know it could get worse. It's like our debt. I studied economics back in high school and they warned back then that this could happen. Sure enough it did happen and all I can say is I am not the least bit surprised. Climate is like that too.

We might not be able to avoid a disaster but trying to believe doing absolutely nothing will fix the issue is a joke. At the very least we should be trying to find solutions that might be viable economically or at the very least if it costs us gives us a "cleaner" world.

By TheEinstein on 1/17/2013 9:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
Under your thesis the construction worker who just installed a solar panel just killed humanity, we shall not survive the week!

Under a more sane, rational, and intelligent, form of thought we can realize that while 'noise' (or static if you will), occurs the noise is far less than the greater sum and cannot alter beyond the micro (or femto if you will) of the environment. Thus your butteryfly does not alter a hurricane but it might change the course of enough pollen to prevent you from sneezing.

A cooling trend due to low pressure will not get adjusted by your herd of animals either. The amount of molecules inside the low pressure front is to large by far for the minor dust patternthe animals kicking up to alter. A low pressure or high pressure 'bubble' can cover as small an area as Oregon or as a large an area as the entire West Coast. The amount of air involved is truly staggering.

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