Whither the Earth's Temperature Now?


It's getting cold outside. How cold? As Daily Tech reports:

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile—the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C—a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down

Of course, one can always find anecdotal evidence for warming too. See, for example, this Reuters story that notes:

The warmest winter ever recorded in Finland may boost grain crops as the growing season is likely to be longer than usual, experts said on Thursday.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the December-February period was the warmest since records began more than 100 years ago, with average temperatures about 5 degrees Celsius (9 Fahrenheit) higher than usual.

Temperatures averaged above freezing point in southern Finland this winter. The balmy weather was partially due to global warming, meteorologists have said.

Southern and southwestern parts of the Nordic country known for its harsh Arctic winters had snow cover for only 20 days, well below the more than 70 usually.

Happily, as I reported from the U.N. Climate Change conference in Bali, the U.K. climate modeling research group, the Hadley Centre, has now given us something of a benchmark by which to judge climate model predictions. To wit:

Most interestingly, and to its credit, the Hadley Centre has now gone out on a risky prediction limb. The Centre has combined its weather prediction model with a climate change model to make definite forecasts about the world's climate for the next decade. To wit: "We are now using the system to predict changes out to 2014. By the end of this period, the global average temperature is expected to have risen by around 0.3 degrees Celsius compared to 2004, and half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be hotter than the current record hot year, 1998." Since various temperature records—surface, satellite and weather balloons—have shown a temperature trend that increases at about 0.2 degrees per decade or less, this is a truly bold prediction.

One further climatological note, I will be covering the Heartland Institute's International Climate Change Conference in New York next week.

Hat tip to RS Davis over at Freedom Files for the Daily Tech link.