Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Very warm 2008 makes this the hottest decade in recorded history by far

Written by Dr. Joseph Romm

The climate story of the decade is that the 2000s are on track to be nearly 0.2°C warmer than the 1990s. And that temperature jump is especially worrisome since the 1990s were only 0.14°C warmer than the 1980s (see datasets here). Global warming is accelerating, as predicted.

The UK’s Guardian, on the other hand, believes the big climate story is “
2008 will be coolest year of the decade*.” The deniers have begun pushing this meme, as Greenfyre notes here. [Even that meme assumes the decade began in 2001 -- since 2000 was quite cool -- a view mostly shared be the few dozen people who didn't celebrate at a millennial New Year's party December 31, 1999.]

Climate is about long-term trends. Perhaps the most interesting fact is that 2008 is on track to be almost 0.1°C warmer than the decade of the 1990s as a whole – and warmer than any year of last century beside (the El-Niño-enhanced) 1998.

The decade of the 2000s — 2000 to 2009 — will almost certainly be the hottest decade in at least 2000 years (see
“Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years“):

[The asterisk in the headline stands in for the word "probably" since it is common to report on the temperature for the year based on the first 11 months. I have extended that approach in this post to report on the temperature for the whole decade based on the first 9 years.]

And yes, this post is based on the temperature data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Despite the best efforts of the deniers to discredit NASA by focusing on trivial issues (see “
The hottest October on record?” and “Must read from Hansen: Stop the madness about the tiny revision in NASA’s temperature data!“), I will always use the GISS data because:

1.I know many of the GISS scientists personally and they are researchers of the first rank. For them, like the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, nothing is more important than data integrity, reproducibility of results, and the search for the truth. That’s why, unlike the vast majority of deniers who attack them, they are completely open about what they do, admit mistakes immediately, and don’t keep repeating things that have been long debunked in the scientific literature.
2.The NASA data probably underestimate recent warming, since as previously
noted, “there are no permanent weather stations in the Arctic Ocean, the place on Earth that has been warming fastest . The UK’s Hadley Centre record simply excludes this area, whereas the NASA version assumes its surface temperature is the same as that of the nearest land-based stations.” To ignore the Arctic warming is to have a blind eye to the astonishing recent reductions in Arctic ice decades ahead of climate model forecast and to the equally astonishing recent net loss of Greenland ice mass “100 years ahead of schedule.”
That said, the Hadley data is quite solid. And even if it almost certainly underestimates recent warming, the warming signal is still unmistakable in their data, as the figure below (which includes 2008) makes clear:

Using their data (
here) also makes clear that the 2000s will easily be the hottest decade in recorded history, and that 2008 will be also be almost 0.1°C warmer than the decade of the 1990s as a whole.

The Guardian does note that 2008 is quite a warm year by historical standards. It “would have felt like a warm year” even in the 1980s and “would have been a scorcher in Charles Dickens’s time.” Still, the Guardian continues to misreport recent work on near-term warming projections:

In March, a team of
climate scientists at Kiel University predicted that natural variation would mask the 0.3C warming predicted by the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change over the next decade. They said that global temperatures would remain constant until 2015 but would then begin to accelerate.

No. No. No. How many times must I explain what the study actually said (see “
Nature article on ‘cooling’ confuses media, deniers: Next decade may see rapid warming“)? With the general caveat from the authors that the study as a whole should be viewed in a very preliminary fashion and should not be used for year-by-year predictions (and the specific caveat that the study has myriad flaws), it is more accurate to say the Nature study is consistent with the following statements:

•The “coming decade” (2010 to 2020) is poised to be the warmest on record, globally.
•The coming decade is poised to see faster temperature rise than any decade since the authors’ calculations began in 1960.
•The fast warming would likely begin early in the next decade — similar to the 2007 prediction by the Hadley Center in Science (see “
Climate Forecast: Hot — and then Very Hot“).

So for all the deniers and delayers touting the coolest year of the decade (if the decade starts in 2001) meme, I stand by my offer to bet $1000 that the decade from 2010 to 2019 will be warmer than the decade from 2000 to 2009. I’ll even give you 2-to-1 odds or spot you 0.1°C. And I’ll even agree to use the HadCRUT3
global mean surface temperature data set (but, no, I can’t agree to use the satellite data, since it covers parts of the atmosphere that are projected to cool).

Any takers?

20 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

Have you seen the ice cap of Kilimanjaro? It's almost gone.

FishEagle said...

@ Dobes, I didn't know. Shite!

Doberman said...

Yep, check this story out.

Anonymous said...

I know you like to believe this global warming hype but you're having the wool pulled over your eyes. I thought you'd at least be wary of all this propoganda and question this more before being duped. The world is actually cooling as more radiation is being emitted into the universe. In 7 years the temperature will rise a measly 1degree Fahrenheit which is nothing. Why don't you sit back and watch. This is all propoganda to get everyone to sign the Copenhagen treaty where the word GLOBAL GOVERNMENT is hidden so deep in the treaty that most people will miss this evil new world order push. This global government will give them power to dictate how countries are run. Now, I know you might be doubtful as you "see" the arctic cap melting etc, but this is a natural trend, and please keep your feet on the ground and your eyes open to this new threat. The only saving grace for the USA if Obama signs this treaty is that it has to be passed by congress before being implemented so they might avoid this new evil. But, there is a chance that it can by-pass congress due to the wording of the document...Just keep an open mind and don't fall for this liberal propoganda which is tugging at people's heartstrings to cloud their judgement. Remember red herrings people.

Termite said...

Acid rain

Ozone hole

Global warming...

I think its all about albedo.
Darker surfaces produce more heat (short to long wave radiation).

More darkies moving to Northern hemisphere => global warming.

FishEagle said...

@Anon, provide the data, or references, for your statements - "The world is actually cooling as more radiation is being emitted into the universe."

How is more radiation being emitted into the universe when the ice surface on earth has decreased over the past few years? That is a contradictory concept.

I just love how everyone puts their personal political spin on the global climate change phenomenon, yet don't have any inclination to ponder the disasterous consequences of the actual phenomenon. Oh right, I forgot, silly me!. Someone else is going to sort it out for us.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:01 PM,
sorry to inform you that your plea is falling on deaf ears. i have actually posted links (youtube)on previous climate change topics to make exactly your point, but my "illiteracy in all things scientific" is limiting my judgement.
@ FE, how do you explain that other planets in our solar system are also experiencing global warming? too many cars and power stations there too?

Anonymous said...


FishEagle said...

@ Termite, LOL! Although white has a higher albedo than black, so it's the other way around :)

@Anon 9:12. Oh shame, your ego still bruised a bit? We are spewing CO2 into the atmosphere 14,000 times faster than nature has over the past 600,000 years. (That is not something that appeared on Yootube, rather it was published by Zeebe and Caldeira in the journal Nature Geosciences.) Humans are having an enormous impact on our natural environment.

Also, regardless of the fact that we don't agree on the causes of climate change, the issue still needs to be addressed. If a meteorite large enough to destroy earth was going to impact it, would you also just be sitting back saying - it's not people's fault?

Anonymous said...

it is very clear that you didn't bother to follow at any of the provided links. so i won't bother confusing you with any more facts. but be aware that the global warming issue is a political one, portrayed as a scientific one by fear. next month all the countries are expected to sign the copenhagen treaty, which will give the global govt the power to take from the rich polluters and redistribute to the poor disadvantaged. since you have an affiliation to SA, you should very well know what the implications are. if global warming is what you claim it is, i'd rather suffer those consequences than live under a soviet style new world order. the copenhagen govt will have no opposition, no elections, and powers that override any laws (including constitutions) of signatory countries and they certainly will act in the interest of the "people", just like zuma, castro and lenin.
see the bigger picture and stop worrying about my ego.
now go on, have the last word!

Anonymous said...

quote: " FishEagle said...
@Anon, provide the data, or references, for your statements.."

you obvioulsy are not interested in data. you clearly didn't follow any links posted here or previous posts on the subject.

FishEagle said...

@ Anons,9:50, 10:48, 10:52. Thanks for the link but I don't have time to be sitting through a couple of hours to watch a 9 part series of the 'climate change swindle' on yootube. I've provided you with specifics - data and the sources. Why on earth would I believe the sources from a Yootube video (if there are any?) when I have access to the scientific data? If you want to refute the specifics then do so by all means. I'm still waiting.

"...if global warming is what you claim it is, i'd rather suffer those consequences than live under a soviet style new world order..." Now that kind of statement seriously worries me because it just shows how little you understand about our situation. "Those consequences" will mean that no people survive on the planet. And you are worried about the NWO???? Go figure.

I will do another post on the impacts of global warming soon.

FishEagle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FishEagle said...

There has been a tendency for conservative political parties and nationalists to thrive when there is a down turn in the economy. I expect the economy is still going to suffer a much worse fate once our natural resources become spread too thinly in the over populated world. I'm not too worried about a threat from a NWO.

Anonymous said...

If so then I wonder why for the first time in 10 years living here we had many days of frost here, and so too in 2008?

I see no change in the weather patterns over the last 10 years to indicate a warming, if anything it got colder, and our summers shorter.

We could do with some global warming in our area, that's for sure.

Doberman said...

@ anon 2:30, it's a classic mistake. Climate change won't just bring on global warming but an ice age that may last 1000s of years. Every ice age (I think there have been 17) was preceded by a high level of CO2 and warming. Search the blog "atlantic conveyor belt" and it will explain what happens when the ice melts.

Anonymous said...

@ Doberman, when you posted the youtube clip "atlantic conveyor belt" on the blog, i pointed out that there were severe flaws in the chain of deductions and assumptions. i deiberately didn't point them out, hoping to create some curiosity and debate, but it was made clear that you weren't interested and that your minds are already made up. in fact, i find it ironic that you keep on posting clips with glenn beck, but conveniently brush off the ones to do with matters of global warming

Doberman said...

Anon, which Glenn Beck video about global warming?

Anonymous said...

i was refering to the GB vid whose link i posted on an earlier post on global warming, but here are 2 that are a week old. one deals with the science, the other with the political consequences.

Anonymous said...

The ice cap of Kilimanjaro didn't melt as the linked story tries to tell us. It's too cold up there (always under freezing), it has dissipated due to sublimation, and that started as the story states way back in 1912.

“From 1953 through 1976, 21 percent of the original (ice cap) area was uncovered. This was during a period of global cooling--yes, cooling--of 0.13º F,” said Michaels. “Around Kilimanjaro, satellite data show a cooling of 0.40º F since 1979 Still, Kilimanjaro’s glaciers continued to shrink.”