2010 Among Top Three Warmest Years

At the U.N.'s Cancun climate change conference, the World Meteorological Organization reports that 2010 is one of the top three warmest years and that the first decade is the warmest since 1850.  The WMO press release notes:

The year 2010 is almost certain to rank in the top 3 warmest years since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2010 (January–October) is currently estimated at 0.55°C ± 0.11°C1 (0.99°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. At present, 2010’s nominal value is the highest on record, just ahead of 1998 (January-October anomaly +0.53°C) and 2005 (0.52°C)2. The ERA-Interim3 reanalysis data are also indicating that January-October 2010 temperatures are near record levels. The final ranking of 2010 will not become clear until November and December data are analysed in early 2011. Preliminary operational data from 1-25 November indicate that global temperatures from November 2010 are similar to those observed in November 2005, indicating that global temperatures for 2010 are continuing to track near record levels.

Over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C above the 1961-1990 average, 0.03°C above the 2000-09 average and the highest value ever recorded for a 10-year period. Recent warming has been especially strong in Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of the Arctic; the Saharan/Arabian, East African, Central Asian and Greenland/Arctic Canada sub-regions have all had 2001-10 temperatures 1.2 to 1.4°C above the long-term average, and 0.7°C to 0.9°C warmer than any previous decade.

To give readers some idea of how 2010 compares with two other warm years (1998 and 2005) I include a graph from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration below:

It should be noted that 1998, and 2005, and 2010 were all years in which El Ninos occurred. El Ninos are periodic warmings of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean that tend to boost average global temperatures among other effects.

Note: I will be reporting from the Cancun conference next week.

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  • ||

    The other way to spin this headline:

    "Planet cooler in this decade than it was in 1850"

  • ||

    Tara: With due respect, that "spin" would be wrong according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

  • Wind Rider||

    Remind me again, Ron, which corrupted and inaccurate surface temperature dataset are these guys using, again?

    The ones with the badly sited stations influenced by the urban heat island effect, or the ones that reporting data ceased from, causing the entire area to be 'averaged' from wildly disparate locations?

  • ||

    Could you perhaps present some sort of evidence that all four cleat datasets (CRU, GISS, RSS and UAH) are too corrupted to produce an accurate climaxing trend record?

    Assertion isn't argument, sir.

  • ||

    That last post should read ". . . all four global datasets . . .are too corrupted to produce an accurate climatic trend record?"

    Still trying to get the hang of typing on an iPad, but it appears to be a losing battle.

  • ||

    Tara: With due respect, that "spin" would be wrong according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

    If you are claiming that 1998, 2010, and 2005 were warmer then 1934 it is not spin at all....it is a lie.

  • ||

    1998, 2005 and 2010 were all warmer than 1934.

  • ||

    I wasn't aware that they had satellites in 1850 that could accurately measure the Earth's temperatures, worldwide.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I'm not so certain they can do that now.

  • Restoras||

    Does this mean golf season can be extended?

  • Joe M||

    Note: I will be reporting from the Cancun conference next week.

    Way to take one for the team, Bailey!

  • Wind Rider||

    I seriously doubt this will cause anyone to confuse him with Mike Rowe. . . ;)

  • ||

    Cancun? Could still be some sort of sewage tank involved. Or lots of vomit.

  • ||

    Restoras: Are you suggesting that that is yet another downside to AGW? ;-)

  • Restoras||

    If you are suggesting that AGW is responsible for my index getting worse...then yes!

  • robc||

    Yet another?

    What was the first?

  • Restoras||

    Easy - not enough ice for polar bears to eat.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Maybe they can start eating golfers.

  • TX Limey||

    Now there's a win-win.

  • Carl Spackler||

    Correct me if I'm wrong Spiny, but if they eat all the golfers, they're gonna lock them up and throw away the key...

  • Wesley||

    What was the first?

    All the farmers that had to work harder to grow and harvest two crops per season.

  • Brett L||

    This is remarkably stable for a runaway system that's supposed to be disastrously unlivable in just 90 years. The first 10% of the excursion looks non-excursive. Especially since January and February of 2008 are off the bottom of the chart. (A personal pet peeve; it looks like you're hiding something even though I'm sure it was just done to make the vast majority of the data present on a more granular scale.)

  • Brett L||

    Since I'm bitching, the January 2007 is off the top. I guess it balances.

  • robc||

    On the "looks like you are hiding something", where are 1999 and 2000?

  • ||

    No climatologist has ever claimed the possibility of runaway feedback.

    Prove me wrong, I dare you.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    What Joe M said. Oh, and thanks for the chart, Ron. It makes things so much clearer. "ONI goes negative (toward La Nina*)" my ass!

    *And what is the deal with "La Nina" anyway? "El Nino" is "the (Christ) Child." If there is now officially a little girl Jesus, well, feminism has gone way too far (again). The opposite of "El Nino," it seems to me, should be "El Diablo." Damn scientists always get it wrong!

  • Mike M.||

    This whole sham is dead, and rather ironically it was Japan who has mercifully decided to bring the farce to an end.

    There is not going to be any global emissions reduction treaty; not today, not tomorrow, next week, next year, or ever.

    All of these bureaucrats and pseudo-scientific junketeers are doing nothing but wasting a lot of their precious time and money. The real world has moved on.

  • Wind Rider||

    Japan is just delivering the coup de grace, in the form of a Samurai Sword to the back of the neck. The Chinese and the Indians took out it's kneecaps in Copenhagen.

  • Juice||

    Rule #1 in printing/displaying graphs is to increase the font size on the axis labels.

  • Juice||

    2010 is one of the top three warmest years and that the first decade is the warmest since 1850...

    ...if you trust 'global' temperature measurements from the 19th century.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't. They lacked the technology back then to build the giant thermometer we use today to take the planet's single temperature.

  • Spiny Norman||

    And that thermometer is in Death Valley. No wonder everyone thinks it's so hot.

  • guy in the back row||

    Hey, that thermometer is in Novac. Where's the giant dinosaur? I took the same picture as the one in the article for Michael Angelo!

  • Ignorant denier fucktard||

    Since I have already made up my mind that global warming is a vast hoax, I am going to interpret this data in such a way that confirms my ill-informed opinion, including dismissing any data that is inconvenient to that viewpoint.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Chad... is that you?

  • Pseudo Intellectual Fucktard||

    Since I have already made up my mind that global warming exists, I am going to interpret this data in such a way that confirms my ill-informed opinion, including dismissing any data that is inconvenient to that viewpoint.

  • Coca-Cola Polar Bear||

    You'll fit in great with the moronic convergence at LGF

  • Ignorant denier fucktard||

    I thought I made my viewpoint clear... global warming is the largest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind, involving almost all of the world's climate scientists, scientific organizations, governments, and even oil companies that are now claiming to believe in GW, to enrich Al Gore and Big Windmill. This is much, much more likely than science being right.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

  • Brett L||

    You understand that appeal to authority doesn't work in science, right? What's the Feynman quotation? "No matter how elegant your theory, if it doesn't agree with the data, its wrong."

    I'm a scientist, equipped with all the tools to analyze data myself. I don't have to respect their authority, and they won't share their data or their models. No source material, no science, no exceptions.

  • ||

    +1.

    I am a chemical engineer and have worked on predicting and controlling temperature in a controlled process chambers, a task that was surprisingly difficult. It boggles my mind that anyone claims to be able to predict the future temperature of the entire planet. I don't think it can be done.

  • Ignorant denier fucktard||

    If I weren't an ignorant denier fucktard, I might say that relying on a Logic 101 maxim in a completely fallacious way in order to assert something that isn't true, i.e., that the data doesn't suggest AGW, makes you, what? An engineer? But I totally agree with you. You should never appeal to authority. You should only appeal to FOX News teevee assclowns and oil industry whore politicians for your facts, as they are known to be less than authorities, and you can't ever appeal to authorities for anything, as that's what I learned in Logic 101 too.

  • ||

    GISS makes their data and models available via their website:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov

    Making untrue assertions only contributes to misinformation.

  • Ignorant denier fucktard||

    But I give thanks to our lord and savior baby Jesus and his pet dinosaur that we have brilliant, brave supergeniuses like Jim Inhofe--who is not an oil industry whore at all--to see through this vast global conspiracy.

  • Death Panelist||

    But I give thanks to Mother Gaia and the Church of AGW that we have brilliant, brave supergeniuses like Al Gore--who is not at all profiting personally from carbon trading--to see through this vast global conspiracy.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You failed to mention the "Consensus" and "settled science."

    Now scourge yourself 50 times as penance.

  • ||

    That graph looks like noise.

    If there were a clearly evident trend, like a line which abruptly assumed a clearly defined upward slope, I would be convinced.

  • Easily pwned commenter||

    Since I already feel that global warming is gospel, I am going to interpret this data in such a way that confirms my ill-informed opinion, including dismissing any data that is inconvenient to that viewpoint.

  • Gaia worshipping fanatic||

    Since the revelations from East Anglia were really a giant hoax created by the Kochtopus™ in concert with ExxonMoBaal and the Bildebergers, I can continue my religion with my faith completely intact.

  • Brett L||

    Right. Like 2010 is no warmer than 1998. Sorry, to get to 3-5 deg. C above 20th Century average by 2100 or 2150 you need something more than a stable 6 year oscillation between +0.6 +/- 0.2 deg. C for which we have 2 cycles on the chart. Data sucks, don't it?

  • ||

    I can't help it if I'm ill-informed,the climate cabal black balled all of the dissenting science out of the journals.

  • ||

    Since there are no areas on the planet too hot to inhabit, and there are quite a lot that are too cold, I'll take this news as positive. Of course then, I don't get to jump up and down and demand people listen to me and submit to my demands, so I'll have time to take a hike into the mountains. That's what real green people do, since we don't seem to go much for the cocktail parties and jet-setting life.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    Ron, how does the relation of tempertures against the 1961 to 1990 baseline take into account the previous "global cooling" scare?

  • ||

    There was no global cooling scare. The accusation is a myth.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    *yawn*

  • ||

    If I rank these from the coolest to the warmest years, it looks like this:

    2008
    2001/2006
    2009
    2003/2004
    2005/2007
    2002
    1998/2010

    Looks more noisy than trendy to me. When the first and last years of your series are the warmest, and three of the four coolest years are within the last five years, I find it hard to extract a warming trend from this bowl of spaghetti.

  • ||

    Perhaps you could provide us with the data you are using, rather than making claims and expecting us to accept them uncritically.

  • ||

    you need something more than a stable 6 year oscillation between +0.6 +/- 0.2 deg. C for which we have 2 cycles on the chart.

    Which seems consistent with the notion that there is a saturation effect with CO2 warming, which we have either reached or are very close to.

    Dirty little secret of catastrophic warming scenarios: they rely on cascading positive feedback loops. Such loops are rare to non-existent in stable/homeostatic systems such as our global climate.

  • G Love||

    ^^^ THIS ^^^

    All natural systems strive towards a state of equilibrium. The whole idea of a cascading positive feedback scenario is about as likely as me winning the lottery. Three times. In a row.

  • ||

    They do not, in fact, rely on cascading feedback loops. You are spreading misinformation.

  • DJF||

    “””currently estimated at 0.55°C ± 0.11°C1 (0.99°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. “””

    How do they manage to get down to a hundredth of a F measurement when the vast majority of the instruments used to measure earth temp only measure in degree accuracy. It does not matter what math you use, your plus and minus accuracy is far larger then your claimed results. Unless your original measurement were in hundredths of a degree you can’t have results measuring in hundredths of degree.

  • ||

    Because the fucktards that come up with this shit aren't not really scientists; despite the repeated claims.
    Climatology have more in common with astrology than astronomy

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I wouldn't go that far, but it's a science in its infancy. Time for people to realize that.

  • ||

    Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory is not in its infancy. It was originally proposed 114 years ago. No one took it seriously until the 1950's when the Air Force initiated a lot of research into the atmosphere.

  • guy in the back row||

    So they take care of the Somali pirates and the temps spike back up. Didn't the pastafarians have a theory about that?

  • Invisible Finger||

    I wonder how The War On Climate Change is going to turn out?

  • Tman||

    Thank god they implemented those carbon tax and credit schemes back during the 1850's so that temperatures went back down.

    We could learn a lot from the forward thinking environmentalists of the 1850's. Nothing like abject poverty and slavery to keep the masses from hurting Mother Gaia.

  • Mike M.||

    By the way, 2010 isn't over yet, and while I'm sure the weather is just beautiful down there in Cancun, Europe is currently experiencing one its earliest cold snaps in modern history, and here in the U.S. we're already experiencing wide swaths of snowstorms across the northern plains, and winter doesn't even officially start for almost three more weeks!

  • ||

    I was wondering about that too. What if the sun goes out tomorrow and we all freeze to death in a week. Will 2010 still be in the top three hot years?

  • IPCC||

    We have a 'contingency' for that.

  • ||

    Despite what you might believe, the U.S. and Europe do not make up 95% of the world.

    What happens to you isn't the only thing happening.

  • ||

    1934 was warmer then 2010, 1998 and 2005. In fact most of the 30s were.

    So yeah the poeple at Cancun are lying.

  • ||

    Link?

    I've heard that the 30's were hotter than present, but my understanding is that this only holds true for US data, not global data.

  • JOhnny MAckson||

    My rear orifice temperature reading is .00074 degrees K higher than average. FEVER. ONLY PREscR . . . MOO BeLL . . . erRor 404 Lol

    Jess
    www.anon4u.com

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    There is a feature of this figure that I find very disturbing. The dispersion at the January end of the graph so much larger than at the December end?

    The reason is actual implicit in the scales.

    Given that the data are continuous, if this was a report of the monthly deviations from an assumed norm (well, from anything really) the two end should share all but two points (January of the first full year and of the incomplete (current year) year and December of the last full year).

    Instead the figure plots the "year to date temperature anomaly" which is to say that they plot a 31 day average at the left hand side and a 365ish day average at the right hand side.

    I'll give you dollars to donuts that Ed Tufte would not approve.

    Radley: Could you take a little more care in choosing figure to present. This one sucks.

  • Ivan||

    Nice catch.

  • ||

    "Year to date temperature anomaly" simply means in comparison to the 1961-1990 average. There is no data compression along the x-axis.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    The difference in dispersion from the left to right makes it clear that the data have different statistical properties at each end of the x-axis. I stand by my interpretation unless someone can show me a better explanation from the author of the figure.

  • ||

    Why don't you simply email the author of the graph? The're usually willing to help people understand their work as long as one is polite.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    The problem is not that I don't understand the figure. The problem is that there are three kinds of information you can get by plot overlaying the yearly time series and this presentation obscures two of them.

    To whit, you can get:

    1. The relative temperatures of the plotted years
    2. A handle on the year-to-year dispersion of the individual months
    3. There is an opportunity to look for systematic structural difference between the years (i.e. if years that are hot on average are relatively cool in the summer).

    This presentation obscures the last two because the meaning of the dispersion varies by more than a factor of three across the x-axis.

    In short this presentation is barely more informative than a simple year-by-year time series, but looks a lot more confusing. Bad figure design. In spades.

    Better to plot either the monthly anomalies for all months (or something equivalent, like quarterly averages taken around each month) or to simple plot the years in time series.

  • ||

    I'm having trouble understanding what you mean by monthly dispersion.

    As for your second objection, that it is difficult to determine whether there are structural differences year-to- year, yes a temperature anomaly map would be better suited. The primary purpose of the graph above seems to be collecting as many data points as possible together so that readers don't have to sort and compare dozens of anomaly maps on their own.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Ben, the year-to-year differences in each month are dominated by statistical effects (because we're measuring weather, in an effort to understand climate).

    Now concentrate just on January. The scale of those differences is driven by two factors: the real year-to-year differences and the systematic measurement errors. Yeah, if there is a trend that is factored in too, but we've sampled twelve years and the distribution is too broad for warming to be the dominate effect.

    Now look at December. The spread is lower by a factor on order of the \sqrt{12}. Why? Because the December bin represents an average across the whole year, while the January bin represents a average over only 31 days.

    That means two thing:

    1. The meaning of a difference of X degrees between two years at the left hand side of the graph is different than the meaning of a difference of X degrees at the right hand side of the graph (because the statistical significance of the measurement is different).
    2. The graph contains no more data than a comparison of the monthly averages between years. Formally it contains exactly as much, but in practice it contains less because it's hard for the reader to extract a clear understanding of how temperatures varied in December or November.

    This figure sucks. I would not willing let a figure like that go out under my name: it's the kind of thing that leads to twenty minute shouting matches at collaboration meetings.

    NB: This defect would be obvious if the author had bothered to provide a visual indication of the error associated with each measurement, but that is a second bitch.

  • ||

    The problem with the graph is that it doesn't appear to use standardized anomalies, it uses monthly anomalies which don't effectively filter the seasonal variations. This would also account for the odd dispersion that you referred to earlier.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Ben, have you understaood a thing I've said?

    The graph clearly does not use monthly anomalies. It uses what the scale says---"Year-to-date [...] anomalies"---and that is the problem with it.

    Just compare the left hand side of the graph (some years off the scale in both directions) with the right hand side (all years near the center). That is the dispersion issue; that is what I mean by having different statistical properties; that is what obscures the significance of the data; and that is what hides the values of the monthly anomalies near the end of the calendar year.

    Presenting complicated data sets in graphical form (and reading other people presentations of the same) is a significant part of what I do, I know at least a little about this business.

    Using month anomalies against yearly averages would give all years a season variation (not a simple one, mind 'cause the average is over both hemispheres); that would be less than ideal but acceptable. Using monthly anomalies against historic averages for each month would be optimal. Both of those choices would cause roughly uniform dispersion because the statistical variation would be roughly uniform, and both would be better than what we have here.

  • ||

    Sir,
    Year to Date does not mean the anomalies are yearly averages, it simply means that they haven't plotted the final anomalies for 2010 as the year isn't over yet.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    ::facepalm::

    Ben, you want to read about the statistics of random measurements. Pay careful attention to the section on the "standard deviation of the mean" in normal distributions.

    Then you'll get the relevance of the varying dispersion and understand what I've been going on about.

    Short short version:

    * the value plotted for January is the mean of the January temperatures - mean January temperatures over the basis period.
    * the value plotted for February is the mean of the temperatures for both January and February less the same quantity over the basis period.
    *...
    * The value plotted for December is the average over the whole year less the whole year average of the comparison period.

    That's what "Year-to-date", and the differing sizes of the samples is why the year-to-year spread changes over the horizontal axis.

  • ||

    If you pay close attention to 'Ben', he appears to be little more than a pro-AGW contrarian. I suspect some sort of bot.

    It's kind of ingenius. It talks in circles while appearing to be providing content. The illusion only really fails when you try to argue with it--it cannot make responses to what you've written that are outside of what it's been programmed to respond to.

  • ||

    I can't explain it, Escaped. The data presented in the above graph for 1998, 2005 and 2010 doesn't quite match the GISS data found here:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs

    It might help if we had a link to the source of Ronald's graph.

  • ||

    2012 is supposed to be a record year for temperatures in Cancun. http://www.topiccancun.com/can.....un-weather

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