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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 JediJeb on 1/17/2013 5:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
We had the resources and technology for over 100 years to rid ourselves of most problems, and we still live in a socio-economic system that is extremely outdated and forces us to 'work for a living' (a concept that became moot decades ago in the face of our technology) or compete for 'scarce resources' (even though Humanity has been producing material abundance using technology for over a century, and has the ability to produce more using less, not to mention, create superior synthetic materials that can be made in abundance).

Someone is always going to have to work, food doesn't grow itself, machines don't make themselves, ect. Even with all of our technology, someone has to make it work. If everyone on the planet decided not to work, then we would all soon die off. If we take the Star Trek approach and do away with money and simply work to better society instead of for a "living" the same things will happen, because there will be a group of people who will not want to work at all and the rest will have to support them. That would not be fair to those who do work to support the society. If everyone is forced to work to support society would that be a better alternative than providing money as an incentive to work? You would then trade forced servitude for free choice.

By deksman2 on 1/19/2013 1:32:42 PM , Rating: 2
Actually you are a bit incorrect.
For one thing, we already have machines that maintain themselves and build other machines (the only reason technology breaks down today is because it was DESIGNED with planned obsolescence in mind - we can eliminate that by merely making tools/technology from superior synthetic materials that can be made in abundance, expending minimal amount of resources and energy in the process - and all of which can be automated).
Robotic arms were invented in 1956.
By the late 1970's or early 1980's, the entire globe could have been completely connected with vacuumed mag-lev trains that would achieve speeds at 6500km/h (with regular mag-lev's used in cities and connecting cities at speeds of 500km/h).
Here's a realistic overview of what can be done:
With the technology in circulation we have NOW, we can automate 75% of the global workforce tomorrow.
We can construct fully automated vertical farms that grow organic food without human labor, without chemicals or pesticides, and food could be made to grow up to 5x faster by simply forcing the crops to fight against gravity - and the structures in question could be designed to produce both energy and water (locally no less).

Humans aren't needed to work anymore.
The only reason we still do, is because to drive the outdated monetary system which outlived its usefulness a LONG time ago (and to keep the present 'leaders' in their positions of power).
Most humans work on jobs that are completely unproductive to society and only serve to move money around for the sake of economy (which is the service industry- the only one left from the last great recession which is increasingly being challenged by automation).
The amount of Humanity driving/sustaining civilization as we know it today is at roughly 1%, if not less.
Expose the entire global population to relevant general education in all subjects relating to man, prompt them to think critically and to become problem solvers, and lo and behold, the 'need' for governments and people in positions of power disintegrates.

And we already have had TONS of other technological solutions to our problems for a century now.

Humans don't need to work for a living.
Let machines do all the dirty work and we can pursue other more relevant things in life.
Money simply serves (at this point) as means to limit the access to material goods (which is absurd in the face of abundance we are producing in practically all fields).

At this point, Capitalism is heading for another (second) crash from which there won't be any recovery because companies are focused on cost efficiency and will be integrating automation at increasing speeds.
With prices of technology coming down at accelerated pace and automation being incorporated that much faster, it will plainly be cheaper and faster for companies and businesses at large to simply automate a machine to do a job, than to wait for a Human to train for something (who will require sick days, medical care, rest, etc.).
Computers surpasses Humans in specialized tasks over a decade ago. We don't need 'general intelligence' or 'true AI' (that passes the Turing test) to automate jobs, because Humans work on SPECIALIZED jobs (and whatever we don't have automated, it CAN be automated).
Ever heard of molecular manufacturing?
I give Capitalism another decade before it spirals into the second great depression because hordes of people will suddenly loose their jobs and simply won't be able to find new ones because they will already be automated by machines by the time they manage to train for it (its already happening across the globe in ALL areas).

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