Annals of global warming: NASA data show warming continues through 2012

January 16, 2013

This is a press release from NASA, presented here for the record, text unedited except for formatting where necessary, and the deletion of the press office phone numbers (I hope that’s not necessary, but earnest information seekers have links to get the information they seek).  Images are inserted from other, related NASA sites.

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

Leslie McCarthy
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York
leslie.m.mccarthy@nasa.gov

Jan. 15, 2013

RELEASE : 13-021

NASA Finds 2012 Sustained Long-Term Climate Warming Trend

WASHINGTON — NASA scientists say 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the hottest years on record.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis Tuesday that compares temperatures around the globe in 2012 to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago.

[Caption to video] NASA’s analysis of Earth’s surface temperature found that 2012 ranked as the ninth-warmest year since 1880. NASA scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) compare the average global temperature each year to the average from 1951 to 1980. This 30-year period provides a baseline from which to measure the warming Earth has experienced due to increasing atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. While 2012 was the ninth-warmest year on record, all 10 of the warmest years in the GISS analysis have occurred since 1998, continuing a trend of temperatures well above the mid-20th century average. The record dates back to 1880 because that is when there were enough meteorological stations around the world to provide global temperature data.
Data source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Visualization credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

› Download this video and related materials in HD formats

The average temperature in 2012 was about 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 Celsius), which is 1.0 F (0.6 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline. The average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees F (0.8 C) since 1880, according to the new analysis.

Scientists emphasize that weather patterns always will cause fluctuations in average temperature from year to year, but the continued increase in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere assures a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each successive year will not necessarily be warmer than the year before, but on the current course of greenhouse gas increases, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous decade.

“One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat and largely controls Earth’s climate. It occurs naturally and also is emitted by the burning of fossil fuels for energy. Driven by increasing man-made emissions, the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has been rising consistently for decades.

The carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was about 285 parts per million in 1880, the first year in the GISS temperature record. By 1960, the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, was about 315 parts per million. Today, that measurement exceeds 390 parts per million.

NASA map, global temperature anomalies averaged from 2008 to 2012 - Goddard Institute for Space Studies

This map represents global temperature anomalies averaged from 2008 through 2012. Data source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Visualization credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

› Larger image
› Larger image (tif)
› Color bar scale (png)

While the globe experienced relatively warm temperatures in 2012, the continental U.S. endured its warmest year on record by far, according to NOAA, the official keeper of U.S. weather records.

“The U.S. temperatures in the summer of 2012 are an example of a new trend of outlying seasonal extremes that are warmer than the hottest seasonal temperatures of the mid-20th century,” GISS director James E. Hansen said. “The climate dice are now loaded. Some seasons still will be cooler than the long-term average, but the perceptive person should notice that the frequency of unusually warm extremes is increasing. It is the extremes that have the most impact on people and other life on the planet.”

The temperature analysis produced at GISS is compiled from weather data from more than 1,000 meteorological stations around the world, satellite observations of sea-surface temperature, and Antarctic research station measurements. A publicly available computer program is used to calculate the difference between surface temperature in a given month and the average temperature for the same place during 1951 to 1980. This three-decade period functions as a baseline for the analysis. The last year that experienced cooler temperatures than the 1951 to 1980 average was 1976.

The GISS temperature record is one of several global temperature analyses, along with those produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. These three primary records use slightly different methods, but overall, their trends show close agreement.

For images related to the data, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/10wqITW

– end –

Related Links [from NASA]

› Goddard Institute for Space Studies GISTEMP Analysis
› Science Summary of NASA’s 2012 Temperature Analysis (pdf)
› NOAA State of the Climate Global Analysis: 2012
› Slides for Jan. 15 media teleconference (pdf)
› Download related multimedia in broadcast-suitable HD formats

More, and resources:

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Annals of global warming: “Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review”

January 12, 2013

It’s taken too long, but the reports on climate change, required by a 1990 law, flow down the government report-to-the-public pipeline once again.  Mother Jones reports six chief points in the draft document, for which comments are invited before a final document will be issued:

  1. Climate change is definitely caused by human activities. Always nice to hear government officials acknowledge this essential fact. And the report concedes that our only hope of curbing warming is to kick our addiction to greenhouse-gas spewing fossil fuels.

  2. Extreme weather is increasing, and that’s our fault, too.  In particular, searing temperatures, heavy rain, and prolonged drought.

  3. Weather isn’t the only threat we have to worry about. The list sounds like the side-effect warnings at the end of a prescription drug commercial: decreased air quality, insect-borne diseases, and “threats to mental health” are all on the docket for the coming decades.

  4. Our infrastructure is getting hammered, and we’re not spending enough to save it. Floods are destroying farmland; extreme heat is damaging roads, rail lines, and airports; and military installations are at risk.

  5. Food and water security will be up in the air. Especially in water-scarce regions like the Southwest, decreasing snowpack and shrinking groundwater supplies will spark competition for water between “agricultural, municipal, and environmental” uses. At the same time, heavy floods could put water quality at risk with sediment and chemical contaminates. And by mid-century, efforts to artificially protect agriculture (like expanded irrigation) could be over-ridden by temperature and precipitation extremes.

  6. Climate change is hitting plants and animals just as hard as us. Beaches, forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems could shrink or disappear, especially a problem when they play a role in mitigating the impact from extreme weather. And warming, acidifying seas could slam sea life.

The document is available to read online; public comments are invited, but must come in a specific form to be analyzed (the authors expect a lot of comments, and a lot of detailed comments).  Here’s the transmission document from the agency (a few links added here):

Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review

A 60-person Federal Advisory Committee (The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” or NCADAC) has overseen the development of this draft climate report.

The NCADAC, whose members are available here (and in the report), was established under the Department of Commerce in December 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is a federal advisory committee established as per the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The Committee serves to oversee the activities of the National Climate Assessment. Its members are diverse in background, expertise, geography and sector of employment. A formal record of the committee can be found at the NOAA NCADAC website.

The NCADAC has engaged more than 240 authors in the creation of the report. The authors are acknowledged at the beginning of the chapters they co-authored.

Following extensive review by the National Academies of Sciences and by the public, this report will be revised by the NCADAC and, after additional review, will then be submitted to the Federal Government for consideration in the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) Report.  For more information on the NCA process and background, previous assessments and other NCA information, please explore the NCA web-pages. The NCA is being conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 and is being organized and administered by the Global Change Research Program.

To simply access and read the draft report, please download the chapters below. However, if you would like to submit comments on the report as part of the public process, you will need to enter the “review and comment system” and register with your name and e-mail address and agree to the terms.  All comments must be submitted through the review and comment system.

Contents of the report, chapter by chapter, for your download:

Download Chapters of the NCADAC Draft Climate Assessment Report! 
Download the Full Report (warning, 147Mb. Very large file)Between chapters, there are some page numbers that are not used. This is intentional and does not reflect missing pages.or download each chapter separately:

Cover page

Introduction: Letter to the American People

1. Executive Summary

2. Our Changing Climate

Introduction to Sectors

3. Water Resources

4. Energy Supply and Use

5. Transportation

6. Agriculture

7. Forestry

8. Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services

9. Human Health

10. Water, Energy, and Land Use

11. Urban Systems, Infrastructure, and Vulnerability

12. Impacts of Climate Change on Tribal, Indigenous, and Native Lands and Resources

13. Land Use and Land Cover Change

14. Rural Communities

15. Interactions of Climate Change and Biogeochemical Cycles

Introduction to Regions

16. Northeast

17. Southeast and Caribbean

18. Midwest

19. Great Plains

20. Southwest

21. Northwest

22. Alaska and the Arctic

23. Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands

24. Oceans and Marine Resources

25. Coastal Zone Development and Ecosystems

Introduction to Response Strategies

26. Decision Support: Supporting Policy, Planning, and Resource Management Decisions in a Climate Change Context

27. Mitigation

28. Adaptation

29. Research Agenda for Climate Change Science

30. The NCA Long-Term Process: Vision and Future Development

Appendix I: NCA Climate Science – Addressing Commonly Asked Questions from A to Z

Appendix II: The Science of Climate Change

To provide comments:

Between January 14th and April 12th only: Please go to the Review and Comment System to provide comments on the draft.

You must register and accept the terms in the Review and Comment System in order to review this document. Comments will only be accepted through this system.

NOTE: You will not be allowed to create an account in the system prior to 9am ET January 14th, 2013, and the comment period ends at 5pm ET on April 12th, 2013

If 2012 was, indeed, the year excrement got real in climate change, perhaps 2013 can be the year we start to do something about it.

More:


Annals of global warming: 333rd consecutive month above 20th century average temperature

December 17, 2012

Exit polling called this trend 20 years ago; is everybody else ready yet?

333 months of worldwide temperature averages above the 20th century average — a kid younger than 27.5 years has never lived through a single month cooler than the 20th century average for that month.  We’re well into the second generation of people who know nothing but global warming.

A reasonable and smart person might note that one does not need to be a student of advanced statistics to spot a trend here.

Read the NOAA report (you may have to select “November 2012”):

Global temperature highlights: November

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November was the fifth highest on record for November, at 56.41°F (13.67°C) or 1.21°F (0.67°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.13°F (0.07°C).
  • November marked the 36th consecutive November and 333rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average temperature November was November 1976 and the last below-average temperature month was February 1985.
  • The global land temperature was the sixth warmest November on record, at 2.03°F (1.13°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error is ±0.20°F (0.11°C).

Just a look at the extremes in November should be alarming, especially if you live in the USA.

NOAA chart of climate anomalies and events, November 2012

Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events, November 2012; click for larger, more-easily-viewed image

More evidence that Michael Mann‘s “hockey stick” graph is vindicated; more evidence that we should not regard James Hansen as we did Cassandra, but should instead heed his warnings.

More:


Why we need fewer GOP Members of Congress, climate change category

December 7, 2012

Pie chart, research on climate change vs. denials

Via UpWorthy: ORIGINAL: By Dr. James Lawrence Powell, author of The Inquisition of Climate Science.

I can’t make that URL in the chart work — the original article at DeSmogBlog is here.

Climate change denial or global warming denial is much like creationism — it lacks a scientific basis.  Dr. Powell wrote:

Global warming deniers often claim that bias prevents them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals. But 24 articles in 18 different journals, collectively making several different arguments against global warming, expose that claim as false. Articles rejecting global warming can be published, but those that have been have earned little support or notice, even from other deniers.

A few deniers have become well known from newspaper interviews, Congressional hearings, conferences of climate change critics, books, lectures, websites and the like. Their names are conspicuously rare among the authors of the rejecting articles. Like those authors, the prominent deniers must have no evidence that falsifies global warming.

Anyone can repeat this search and post their findings. Another reviewer would likely have slightly different standards than mine and get a different number of rejecting articles. But no one will be able to reach a different conclusion, for only one conclusion is possible: Within science, global warming denial has virtually no influence. Its influence is instead on a misguided media, politicians all-too-willing to deny science for their own gain, and a gullible public.

Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree.

Desmogblog (http://s.tt/1tBXZ)


Climate insanity

November 28, 2012

Watching New Yorkers get caught not-yet-prepared to stop the shutdown of the subways and electrical grid due to the Sandy storm surge at high tide, and noting that the ridicule heaped by denialists on those who tried to warn us about such storms, I asked at Climate Sanity about updates on their rosy “What? Us worry?” view of climate change.

Photo of water in 86th Street Station in Brooklyn, NY, after Sandy

Photo of water in 86th Street Station in Brooklyn, NY, after Sandy – photo found at Naked Capitalism. Denialists could note that subway crime was significantly reduced at the time of this photo.

Surprisingly, we got an answer.  ‘What?  Worry?  Us?  What surge?  You shoulda seen the Hurricane of 1938!  Why, back in the Jurassic there were even BIGGER surges . . .’

It’s a classic example of how rabid advocacy for a disproven position can predict that the rabid advocate will not change her/his mind, at least publicly.

More:

Cartoon by Joel Pett, USAToday, what if climate change is a big hoax

Cartoon by Joel Pett, USA Today


New Symphony of Science: “This Earth is the one we have to care about”

November 15, 2012

Symphony of Science:  Highest and best use of Autotune — does putting stuff to music make for better editing?  (Great question in the 100th anniversary year of Woody Guthrie‘s birth, yes?)

Al Gore as the climate change denialists fear him most, approachable, concise, powerful images, and in tune:

Interesting coincidence that this was released the same day California inaugurated its auction of carbon credits in its own cap-and-trade attempt to control carbon dioxide releases.

(Woody Guthrie’s reputation has nothing to fear from Al Gore; which is okay, considering they’re probably on the same side of most issues.)

More:

World Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2005, by usage or industry - World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute chart showing origins of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, in 2005. Click image for a legible version.


Too late to save the planet?

November 6, 2012

Denialists scoff that 2º Celsius could cause disaster, say wait to see.  But is it too late already?

It’s a link to an article in the business section of The Guardian (links added here):

The report concludes that “governments and businesses can no longer assume that a two-degree warming world is the default scenario”, and urges greater planning to cope with the disruptive effects that more unpredictable and extreme weather will have on supply chains, long-term assets, and infrastructure, particularly in coastal or low-lying regions.

Meanwhile, businesses in carbon-intensive sectors must also anticipate “invasive regulation” and the possibility of stranded assets, said Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC.

“Resilience will become a watchword in the boardroom – to policy responses as well as to the climate,” he said. “More radical and disruptive policy reactions in the medium term could lead to high-carbon assets being stranded.

“The new reality is a much more challenging future in terms of planning, financing and predictability,” Grant added. “The challenge now is to implement gigatonne-scale reductions across the economy, in power generation, energy-efficiency, transport and industry, as well as REDD+ in forested nations.”

More:

CO2 emissions, by continent - Visual-ly

CO2 emissions, by continent – Visual-ly; click image for a larger version.


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