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Last Update: 01.20.12


01.19.12  NASA Finds 2011 Ninth Warmest Year on Record  Article 1  /  Article 2 with Video  NASA
The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000. 
See 01.14.11 and 01.21.10 for previous years of record-setting heat.

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01.14.11  Different Records, Same Warming Trend  NASA Earth Observatory
Each year, scientists from several major institutions tally the temperature data collected at stations around the world and make independent judgments about whether the year was warm or cool compared to previous years. On January 12, 2011, the NASA group announced that 2010 had tied 2005 as the warmest year in their 131-year instrumental record. NOAA also declared 2010 to be tied with 2005. The Japanese Meteorological Agency noted in a preliminary analysis that 2010 was the second warmest. But how much does the ranking of a single year matter? Not all that much, said James Hansen, the director of NASA GISS. In his group’s analysis, 2010 differed from 2005 by less than 0.01°C (0.018 °F), a difference so small that the temperatures of the two years are almost indistinguishable, given the uncertainty of the calculation. Meanwhile, the third warmest year, 2009, is so close to 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007 (the maximum difference between years is 0.03°C), that all six years are virtually tied.  YouTube Video

Ray Weymann's Comments:
In spite of repeated news items about record setting GLOBAL temperatures over the pasts decade, I continue to run across uninformed statements to the fact that 'global warming has ceased since 1998'.  Or, that 'the recent cold weather in the United States' (or somewhere else) proves that there is no global warming'. This news item demonstrates that these statements are false -- but I don't expect that this will change those minds who think that all four of the institutions reporting on global temperatures are part of a gigantic conspiracy!

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01.13.11  Despite Subtle Differences, Global Temperature Records in Close Agreement  NASA
Groups of scientists from several major institutions – NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom – tally data collected by temperature monitoring stations spread around the world and make an announcement about whether the previous year was a comparatively warm or cool year.  NASA’s announcement this year – that 2010 ties 2005 as the warmest year in the 131-year instrumental record – made headlines. But, how much does the ranking of a single year matter?

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12.29.10  A Positive Outlook for Clouds  Skeptical Science
The effect of clouds in a warming world is a difficult one to predict. One challenge is that clouds have both warming and cooling effects. Low-level clouds in particular tend to cause a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight, while high-level clouds tend to cause a warming effect by trapping heat ....

Ray Weymann's Comments:
As I discuss in my tutorial on "Forcings" and "Feedbacks", there is pretty nearly universal agreement among climate science experts that the largest uncertainty in predicting how much warming results from increased CO2 in the atmosphere arises from whether cloud 'feedbacks' are positive or negative. The Skeptical Science article "A Positive Outlook for Clouds" linked above, gives a very nice summary of the situation. The only thing I would add to this article is the fact that the history of our climate revealed by paleo-climatologists would be very difficult to explain if effects due to clouds negated most of the warming associated with increasing CO2 content in the atmosphere.

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12.28.10  Secrets Beneath the Ice  PBS NOVA On-line Video
Almost three miles of ice buries most of Antarctica, cloaking a continent half again as large as the United States. But when an Antarctic ice shelf the size of Manhattan collapsed in less than a month in 2002, it shocked scientists and raised the alarming possibility that Antarctica may be headed for a meltdown. Even a 10 percent loss of Antarctica's ice would cause catastrophic flooding of coastal cities unlike any seen before in human history. What are the chances of a widespread melt? "Secrets Beneath the Ice" explores whether Antarctica's climate past can offer clues to what may happen.    This item is also posted on the Resources page under Videos.

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12.21.10  How Will We Know if 2010 Was the Warmest Year on Record?  Climate Central
NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) announced that November was the warmest month in its record books — and that 2010 overall may well turn out to be the warmest year ever.  Now, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has published the results of its own calculations, showing that November was the second warmest, not the first .....

Ray Weymann's Comments:
The question of whether the Earth is continuing to warm on a GLOBAL AVERAGE, despite the cold weather in Europe on the one hand, and whether 2010 may turn out to be the warmest year on record on the other, has attracted a lot of discussion -- some of it informed, much of it not. The summary article "How Will We Know if 2010 Was the Warmest Year on Record" (via the Climate Central link above), written by a reporter in Colorado, is an excellent and informed discussion of just what we mean by the "instrumental global temperature record" and how various groups go about making their best estimates of it. I highly recommend it to all readers. 

I also highly recommend studying the Climate Central website. Note that, in the graph in the article, the various estimates do not agree very well before 1900 when the data were pretty sparse and not very reliable. Below is a second graph from the most experienced and respected groups now computing global averages using the data starting around 1900 (from the excellent website Skeptical Science). The two main take-home messages in my view, are, that:
a) while various groups may disagree about which particular year (2005? 2010? ...) will turn out to be the
     warmest, the differences between these groups are very small, and
b) the upward trend in temperatures is continuing: each decade 1970-1980, 1980-1990, 1990-2000, 2000-2010
     has been hotter than the previous one.

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12.10.10  NASA: 2010 Meteorological Year Warmest Ever  AAAS
The 2010 meteorological year, which ended on 30 November, was the warmest in NASA's 130-year record, data posted by the agency today shows. Over the oceans as well as on land, the average global temperature for the 12-month period that began last December was 14.65˚C. That's 0.65˚C warmer than the average global temperature between 1951 and 1980, a period scientists use as a basis for comparison.  The 2010 meteorological year was slightly warmer than the previous warmest year, the 2005 calendar year, when the average temperature was 14.53˚C.

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11.03.10  Rivers Run Dry as Drought Hits Amazon  GlobalPost
October marked the end of one of the worst Amazon droughts on record — a period of tinder-dry forests, dusty cropland and rivers falling to unprecedented lows. Streams are the highways of the deep jungle and they’re also graveyards for dead trees, usually hidden safely under fathoms of navigable water. But not this year, and the drought’s significance extends far beyond impeded boats. While the region has seen dry spells before, locals and experts say droughts have grown more frequent and severe. Scientists say there’s mounting evidence the Amazon's shifting weather may be caused by global climate change ....

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09.21.10  Climate Scientists Respond to Lord Monckton's May 2010 Testimony to the U.S. Congress
On May 6, 2010, a select group of four scientists and one climate science challenger gave testimony "The Foundation of Climate Science" to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in Washington, D.C.  The panel consisted of the following speakers:

Dr. Lisa Graumlich, Director, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona, and
   member of the “Oxburgh Inquiry” panel
Dr. Chris Field, Director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, and co-chair of
   “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” portion of new IPCC report due in 2014
Dr. James McCarthy, Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University, past President and Chair
   of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, co-chair of “Impacts, Adaptation and
   Vulnerability” portion of IPCC report published in 2001
Dr. James Hurrell, Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, contributor to IPCC reports
Lord Christopher Monckton, Chief Policy Adviser, Science and Public Policy Institute

Following the two hours of testimony, due to time constraints, little time was permitted for the speakers to provide comprehensive responses to the other speaker's presentations and written testimony.  In watching the testimony, it is painfully obvious that Lord Monckton has radically different views than the other distinguished scientists about the validity of global warming and climate science, challenging much of what the other speakers presented. 

Over the next four months a prestigious group of climate scientists from the U.S. and Australia performed exhaustive review, analysis and preparation of a detailed, formal response to Lord Monckton's written testimony.  The resulting paper sent to the U.S. Congress, issued September 21, 2010, firmly refutes all of Lord Monckton's points.  This is a clear and powerful statement by the scientific community as to the false and misleading information that the public is hearing from so called "scientists" and other skeptics who strongly denounce the human causes of global warming and the climate science behind it.  Here are the documents and congressional testimony for your use:

1.  Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, 5/6/2010, video, 2 hours  http://globalwarming.house.gov/pubs?id=0018

2.  Scientist's Response, Press Release, 9/21/10   PDF file

3.  Scientist's Response, Full Report to Congress, 9/21/10   PDF file

4.  On-line news articles:
      The Guardian 9/21/10

      Barry Brickmore Blog 9/21/10 and read response Here

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08.04.10  Apology for the Long Hiatus in New Postings to this Website
It has now been about 2 ˝ months since the most recent update of this website, and those accessing it may wonder if has become defunct. I apologize for this long hiatus. It has been due to my heavy involvement in a project involving Congressional testimony bearing upon Energy and Climate Change legislation. This project is nearing completion and thereafter I will be spending significant time updating and improving this site.  I
n the meantime, let me draw attention to two new items just posted:

1) 2010 National Research Council Report
On the Resources page under Reports, Booklets and Whitepapers, you will find a link to a new report prepared under the auspices of the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences. "Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia" was prepared by a group of 15 distinguished Climate Scientists led by Dr. Susan Solomon. Based on the best and most recent scientific research, the report analyzes the impacts upon the Earth and human society for a range of levels at which the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere is stabilized and the associated range of the resultant increase in global temperatures. The entire report may be downloaded free of charge by going to Prepublication PDFs, but the entire document is very long. I suggest you only download the Executive Summary, which gives a clear picture of the conclusions of the full report.

2) Detailed Response by Dr. John Abraham to a speech by Lord Christopher Monckton
Christopher Monckton is one of the more prominent 'climate skeptics', though he has no scientific training. This past June, numerous assertions in a speech he gave at Bethel College, Minnesota, in October 2009, were dissected in detail in a convincing and entertaining way by Dr. John Abraham, an expert in heat transfer and fluid mechanics and a member of the faculty at St. Thomas University, also in Minnesota. Abraham's response to Monckton has attracted a great deal of attention. I was tempted to post it under the Misperceptions page, but I decided instead to provide a link under the Resources page under Videos, since it consists of a series of short video clips. The entire series runs quite long, but you can view portions at your leisure. I highly recommend it. To go directly to the presentation, click HERE.  I suggest clicking on the little video camera icon so you can easily scroll down the list of slides. Have your computer's volume turned up to hear the presentation.

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05.07.10  NAS Member Letter "Climate Change and the Integrity of Science"  PDF  Science Magazine
As those who have been following the issues of global warming and climate change are aware, a lot of attention has been paid to the contents of stolen email between scientists at the East Anglia University in Great Britain and other climate scientists.  The resulting 'Climategate' furor has featured attacks on the integrity of not only these scientists but on the whole community of climate scientists.  In the American Association for the Advancement of Science May 7, 2010, issue of Science Magazine 250 members of the National Academy of Sciences respond to these attacks.  I am a member of the NAS (there are about 2500 of us) and I endorse and applaud this letter fully.  My only regret is that I was not aware of its existence as I would have been delighted to have added my name to it.
Additional links to this letter:
   Science Magazine letter text  /  Science Magazine letter PDF
Additional material:
   Author Affiliations  PDF

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04.19.10  Key Points from the U.S. Climate Action Report  The Project on Climate Science
The United States released a new draft report on climate change one week before the expected unveiling of a compromise U.S. Senate bill that aims to curb heat-trapping greenhouse emissions.  The report, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report that will be sent to the United Nations, says bluntly: "Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced ... Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases."  Without action to stop them, climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions will rise over 8,000 megatonnes by mid-century, the draft said. By adopting measures detailed in a bill passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives, these emissions will drop beneath 2,000 megatonnes. They're now about 6,500 megatonnes. The United Nations measures greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes, or million metric tons.  The effects of climate change are already evident, the draft said: warming air and oceans, vanishing mountain glaciers, thawing permafrost, signs of instability in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica and rising sea levels.  The State Department draft, now open for public comment, precedes the expected April 26 unveiling of Senate legislation by Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham and Independent Joe Lieberman. The State Department report will ultimately go to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; previous U.S. reports to this body were in 1994, 1997, 2002 and 2007.  The draft report is available online at http://www.state.gov/g/oes/rls/rpts/car5/index.htm
I thank Mr. Charlee Smith for sending me this news item.

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03.25.10  NASA's Grace Satellites See Rapid Spread in Greenland Ice Loss  JPL / Univ. of Colorado
A new international study finds that ice losses from Greenland's ice sheet, which have been increasing over the past decade in its southern region, are now spreading rapidly up its northwest coast.

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02.18.10  Missing 'Ice Arches' Contributed to 2007 Arctic Ice Loss  JPL
In 2007, the Arctic lost a massive amount of thick, multiyear sea ice, contributing to that year's record-low extent of Arctic sea ice. A new NASA-led study has found that the record loss that year was due in part to the absence of "ice arches," naturally-forming, curved ice structures that span the openings between two land points. These arches block sea ice from being pushed by winds or currents through narrow passages and out of the Arctic basin.

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02.16.10  NASA Finds Warmer Ocean Speeding Greenland Glacier Melt  JPL
Glaciers in west Greenland are melting 100 times faster at their end points beneath the ocean than they are at their surfaces, according to a new NASA/university study published online Feb. 14 in Nature Geoscience.  The results suggest this undersea melting caused by warmer ocean waters is playing an important, if not dominant, role in the current evolution of Greenland's glaciers, a factor that had previously been overlooked.

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02.09.10  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announces the debut of its new
NOAA Climate Services website being described as a "one stop shop" for data, information and predictions of Earth's climate.  This wonderful new website is a plethora of useful, informative and fascinating information.

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02.03.10  Humans Are Warming Earth   SLO New Times article by Dr. Weymann

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01.21.10  2009: Second Warmest Year on Record; End of Warmest Decade  NASA
2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880.   YouTube Video

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01.12.10  Is Antarctica Melting?   
The continent of Antarctica has been losing more than 100 cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice per year since 2002.

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10.15.09  Black Soot and the Survival of Tibetan Glaciers  PDF 1.6 MB 
Here is a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences dealing with how soot influences the melting of glaciers on the Tibetan plateau, a critical store house for fresh water for India and China. This paper may be a bit technical for some readers.  Here is a commentary on this paper by Dr. James Hansen (December 2009), who is one of the authors, but not the lead author.  In fact all the other authors are Chinese, associated with various labs within the purview of the Chinese National Academy of Science.  Dr. Hansen is perhaps the most leading climate scientist in the world and I think his perspective on this article is more readable and important.

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10.01.09  Celebration of Discovery: Earth from Space  PDF  3.4 KB 
This article, in the October 2009 issue of Central Coast Family News, was written by this website's webmaster, Walt Reil, and PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey.  Not only does it illustrate the wide array of NASA activities but it shows the local involvement of residents of the Central Coast in promoting science education.  Lesson 4 of the Tutorials will comment in detail on the significance of the Jason 1 & 2 satellites mentioned in the article.

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Dr. Ray Weymann ray.climate (@ sign) charter.net     Webmaster Walter Reil walter.climate (@ sign) gmail.com

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