2008: Ninth warmest year on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:05 AM GMT on January 21, 2009

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The temperature statistics are in, and the year 2008 ranks as the ninth warmest year for the globe on record, making it the coolest year since 2000, according to an analysis compiled by NASA. NOAA's National Climatic Data Center rated 2008 the eighth warmest on record, and the British Climate Research Unit rated it tenth warmest. NASA noted that given the uncertainty in the measurements, a range of 7th to 10th warmest was reasonable. Global temperature records extend back to 1880. December 2008 was also the eighth warmest December for the globe on record.

The average global temperature the past five years (and the last ten years) is the highest on record. The top ten warmest years since 1880 have all occurred in the past twelve years. So, despite the impressive cold blast in the Eastern U.S. this winter, the global climate is warming. The relatively cool temperatures of 2008 probably represent a normal year-to-year fluctuation in the weather. Cool weather is to be expected globally during a strong La Niña event in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, which was present during the first part of 2008 (see the cool blue colors over the Equatorial Pacific in Figure 1). It is no surprise that the last year it was cooler, 2000, was also the last time we had a La Niña event. With La Niña conditions beginning to develop again this year, I'd be surprised if 2009 turns out to be a record warm year. Dr. James Hansen of NASA is predicting a new global record temperature either this year or in 2010, though.


Figure 1. Global temperature anomalies in 2008 compared to the 1950-1980 baseline period. Below-average temperatures are shown in blue, average temperatures are white, and above-average temperatures are red. (Gray indicates no data.) Most of the world was either near normal or warmer than normal. Eastern Europe, Russia, the Arctic, and the Antarctic Peninsula were exceptionally warm (1.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius above average). The temperature in the United States in 2008 was not much different than the 1951-1980 mean, which makes 2008 cooler than all of the previous years this decade. Large areas of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean were cooler than the long-term average, linked to a La Niña episode that began in 2007. The graph shows the long-term trend in surface temperatures since 1880. The annual average temperatures are shown in light orange, and the jaggedness of the line indicates how much the average global surface temperature varies from year to year. Because climate is so variable from year to year, it can be easier to spot long-term trends through multi-year averages. The dark red line shows the five-year running average, which is an average of five years of annual temperatures centered on a given year. Even this five-year average shows that climate has ups and downs, but the long-term increase in global average surface temperatures is obvious. The gray barbells indicate the range of uncertainty. Not surprisingly, the uncertainty is larger for older measurements than for more recent ones. Image credit: NASA.

A cool and snowy December in the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., December was the 35th coolest December, ranking it in the coldest 30% of all Decembers observed since records began in 1895. December 2008 had near-average precipitation, ranking 43rd wettest. It was the 8th wettest December on record in the East North Central U.S., and 9th wettest for the Central U.S. Only the South experienced below average precipitation during the month. For the year 2008, temperatures in the U.S. were not much different than the 1951-1980 mean, which makes 2008 the coolest year since 1997. U.S. records set in December 2008 (courtesy of http://extremeweatherguide.com/updates.asp):

Spokane, WA: All-time 24-hour snowfall, 19.4", 12/17-12/18
Spokane, WA: All-time single storm snowfall: 23.3", 12/17-12/18
Sandpoint, ID: All-time 24-hour snowfall, 27.0"
Jackson, WY: All-time 24-hour snowfall, 27.0"
Fargo, ND: Snowiest month on record: 33.5"
Spokane, WA: Snowiest month on record: 61.5"
Green Bay, WI: Snowiest month on record: 45.6"
Madison, WI: Snowiest month on record: 40.4"
Wausau, WI: Snowiest month on record: 37.6"
Idaho: All-time 24-hour state snowfall record set at Dollar Hide, 46.5", 12/26-12/27 (not confirmed)

At the end of 2008, 20% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is a decline from the 28% of the U.S. that was under similar drought conditions at the end of 2007. The average precipitation for the U.S. in 2008 was 30.48 inches, which is 1.34 inches above average. 2008 was the wettest year on record for New Hampshire and Missouri, second wettest for Massachusetts, and third wettest for Connecticut, Illinois, and Iowa. Also, 2008 was the fourth wettest year for Indiana, fifth wettest for Maine, Michigan, and Vermont, seventh wettest for New York, and eighth wettest for Kansas and Rhode Island.

Next post
Check out Ricky Rood's latest blog, called Cold in the East: A rant. There is a lot of misinformation circulating in the media right now about climate change, and Ricky and I will be doing our best to try to explain what is fact and what is crap in the coming weeks. I posted one such discussion last week, when I showed that the recent claims that sea ice is back to 1979 levels were a clever bit of cherry picking of the data that hides the critical summertime loss of Arctic sea ice. I'll have a new blog post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

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"Ricky and I will be doing our best to try to explain what is fact and what is crap in the coming weeks."

strong language coming from the good Doctor, there...I really look forward to reading what these two have to say...

I am especially gonna enjoy the part where some 40 year old unemployable looser living in his mother's basement tries to convince us that two PhD's don't know what the hell they're talking about....

seriously....that'll be fun....
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I am home with a cold/flu for the third day now, and I appreciate y'all keeping me amused.
I did not bring home enough of those quick reads


go to Amazon.com.....order "Captain Underpants"....trust me....
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226. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number FOURTEEN
DEPRESSION SUR TERRE, EX-FANELE (07-20082009)
16:00 PM Réunion January 21 2009
===========================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Overland Depression Fanele ( hPa) located at 22.5S 45.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving southeast at 12 knots

Dvorak Intensity:

Gale-Force Winds
================
20 NM from the center

Near-Gale Force Winds
======================
50 NM from the center extending up to 70 NM in the northeastern quadrant, 90 NM in the southwestern quadrant, and up to 150 NM in the northwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 23.2S 47.6E - 20 knots (DEPRESSION sur terre)
24 HRS: 24.2S 49.4E - 25 knots (PERTURBATION Tropicale)
48 HRS: 26.9S 52.1E - 30 knots (DEPRESSION Tropicale)
72 HRS: 29.2S 53.1E - 25 knots (PERTURBATION Tropicale)

Additional Information
========================
System weakens overland and the residual eye feature that has been seen until 06.30z has collapsed given a not east to find low level circulation center. The storm is expected to be back at sea tomorrow morning. It seems that Fanele has a small window for some intensification with a better tradewind inflow as some ridge is temporarily rebuilt southward and on the south side of the upper level ridge. Moreover a northwestern subtropical jet located ahead of short mid-latitude trough that should pass south of the system Friday could produce some good poleward outflow. It is not unlikely that this system regain moderate tropical storm status.. limitant factor are cooler sea surface temperature (no heat contains south of 27S), some westerly moderate vertical wind shear that could generate by the previously mentioned mid-latitude trough, and the arrival of some mid level dry air forecasted by the global models at the end of the forecast period. Most of the available NWP models are in good agreement with the forecast track. Forecast track is generally towards the southeast, but the system should slow down thursday night as some weak subtropical ridge rebuilt southward so Fanele should not take the same trough that "Eric" and the current forecast is even slower than the extratropical transition should not occur yet.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44874
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Shepard,

"Atlas Shrugged", excellent book! also liked "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand....

You can have Ayn Rand. With the exception of historical narratives; I am more of a thriller, sci-fi, mystery, romance - purely recreational reader. If the book is over 500 pages in paper back form (or has a "message") - I generally avoid it. Give me that quick read, where the action keeps moving.
I have been reading Jim Butcher's Dresden Files - and I wondered if anyone has read his "Furies" series. Do those elementals in Furies use real weather principles or is it all fantasy.

Has anyone read any good weather-related fiction?

I am home with a cold/flu for the third day now, and I appreciate y'all keeping me amused.
I did not bring home enough of those quick reads.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
I have no idea... that book is like an Atlas...

it goes round and round and round.


like a record, baby, right round, round round....

( sorry, 80's moment...)
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Remember Shibumi ???

yeah, that's Shamu's mom, right? Puts on a show at Sea World?

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Surf,

Its so could I cannot even think YOLO!!!!
Quoting surfmom:
Hey Beachy - last post b/4 work - There was a brave Yolo (standUpboard) paddler out on Monday --He had to be alot colder then me standing up on that board -- warmed me up looking at him LOL
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29383
What? Which character?
or The Individualism?

From Wiki....
As the plot unfolds, Galt is acknowledged to be a creator and inventor who embodies the power of the individual. He serves as a counterpoint to the social and economic structure depicted in the novel. The depiction portrays a society based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces the stifling mediocrity and egalitarianism of socialistic idealism. He is a metaphorical Atlas of Greek mythology, holding up the world.
blockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting theshepherd:
Both were spookey reading for me. Saw too much of myself there.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29383
Hey Beachy - last post b/4 work - There was a brave Yolo (standUpboard) paddler out on Monday --He had to be alot colder then me standing up on that board -- warmed me up looking at him LOL
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Achilles Last Stand.Link


"Currently struggling to get through Atlas Shrugged."

Oh the sweet refrain, Soothes the soul and calms the pain
Oh Albion remains, sleeping now to rise again

Wandering and wondering, What place to rest the search
The mighty arms of Atlas, Hold the heavens upon the earth

The mighty arms of Atlas, Hold the heavens from the earth
From the earth...
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For General Interest -- not to stir the pot or spill the SheepDip --
SCIENTISTS FIND NEW CREATURES OF AUSTRALIAN DEEP
By Amy Coopes Amy Coopes
AFP
January 17, 2009

SYDNEY - Scientists said Sunday they had uncovered new marine animals in
their search of previously unexplored Australian waters, along with a
bizarre carnivorous sea squirt and ocean-dwelling spiders.

A joint US-Australian team spent a month in deep waters off the coast of the
southern island of Tasmania to "search for life deeper than any previous
voyage in Australian waters," lead researcher Ron Thresher said.

What they found were not only species new to science -- including previously
undescribed soft corals -- but fresh indications of global warming's threat
to the country's unique marine life.

"Our sampling documented the deepest known Australian fauna, including a
bizarre carnivorous sea squirt, sea spiders and giant sponges, and
previously unknown marine communities dominated by gooseneck barnacles and
millions of round, purple-spotted sea anemones," Thresher said.

Using a submersible car-sized robot named Jason, the team explored a rift in
the earth's crust known as the Tasman Fracture Zone, a sheer two kilometre
(1.24 mile) drop to 4,000 metres (13,200 feet) below the ocean's surface.

Blogging on board the ship, researcher Adam Subhas said the team witnessed
some "cool biology" as they descended the fracture, including the sea
squirt, which he described as "basically an underwater Venus fly trap, but
much bigger."

The sea squirt, also known as an ascidian, stands 50 centimetres tall on the
sea floor at a depth of just over 4,000 metres. It traps prey in its
funnel-like front section if they touch it when they swim past.

"The geology was fascinating too -- the sediment was incredibly fine and
lightly packed; it made me think of powder snow," Subhas wrote.

Fossil coral fields were found, dating back more than 10,000 years. Thresher
said samples taken would provide ancient climate data for use in global
warming projections.

"Modern-day deep-water coral reefs were also found, however, there is strong
evidence that this reef system is dying, with most reef-forming coral deeper
than 1,300 metres newly dead," he said.

Though close analysis of samples was still required, Thresher said modelling
suggested ocean acidification could be responsible.

"If our analysis identifies this phenomenon as the cause of the reef
system's demise, then the impact we are seeing now below 1,300 metres might
extend to the shallower portions of the deep-reefs over the next 50 years,
threatening this entire community," he said.

Rising sea temperatures are blamed on global warming caused by the build-up
in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide -- which is
also blamed for higher acidity in sea water.

A UN report warned in 2007 that Australia's Great Barrier Reef, described as
the world's largest living organism, could be killed by climate change
within decades.

The World Heritage site and major tourist attraction, stretching over more
than 345,000 square kilometres (133,000 square miles) off Australia's east
coast, could become "functionally extinct", the report said.

............

NHNE's Climate Change Resource Page:
http://www.nhne.org/tabid/490/Default.aspx

NHNE's
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Shepard,

"Atlas Shrugged", excellent book! also liked "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand....
Both were spookey reading for me. Saw too much of myself there.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
So - will someone please explain freezing fog? That's a new one for me.

Funny for this am - hubby says - you left the window open last night, its cold in here. No - window is closed. "Well, then HOW did it get so cold?"

Just like a guy, someone always has to be at fault....hehe
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Quoting GulfPoet:


I have no idea... that book is like an Atlas...

it goes round and round and round.


LOL...skip to the last chapter and finish it before you become an anarchist. I read the damn thing twice, 20 years between readings. Much better read in 68 than 88...
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
Shepard,

"Atlas Shrugged", excellent book! also liked "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand....
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29383
Quoting GulfPoet:
not yet Shep. I will add that to my list.

Currently struggling to get through Atlas Shrugged.
Who is John Galt?
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
SurfSister!!!
I prefer the bikinis and flip flops. The sand is whiter and much prettier than snow, especially with the gorgeous blue background provided by the GOM!
***Someone please turn up the heat!
Quoting surfmom:
I'll take NO pleasure from snow...if I need white stuff to play in my beach provides plenty of quartz crystal that does not require me walking around in 20 pounds of clothes that make me feel like a rolley polley.

Honestly what would you rather see.... bikinis or snow pants???
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29383
Cotillion, I sincerely hope that this 932 mb thing stays well north of us. The wind is picking up here in NW-Wales and it's getting quite cold in my office because of the single glazing. The metoffice.gov.uk has issued a severe weather advisory:
"There is a moderate risk of a severe weather event affecting Wales and much of England. Heavy rain, accompanied by a strong to gale force southerly wind, will move in from the west later on Wednesday and will continue into Thursday. After a brief respite, further persistent and heavy rain will spread eastwards across much of England and Wales during the afternoon and evening. Rainfall totals of 30 to 50mm are likely, especially over South Wales and southern England.

Issued at: 1040 Wed 21 Jan"

About the ongoing debate whether GW is happening or not: it is proven that in Scandinavia several arctic species are migrating north. Compared to the 1960s the southern limit of their habitat has shifted northwards. I remember having read a publication of the Finnish Meteorological Institute on this problem last year. I could dig for it if anyone is interested in it.
Further, the melting of the permafrost soil is a big problem as well, because the stability of roads, railways and buildings deteriorates significantly.

As for the return of artic ice cover to 1979 levels it should be noted that it is only new, thin ice, not the important thicker ice cover which has accumulated over several years. If my memory serves me well the perennial ice cover is still near its all-time low (in recorded history). [read the NASA article from March this year].
If the ice indeed recovers we will know in a few years when this year's new ice has been covered several times with fresh ice. I'm looking forward to the new report this spring.
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Good morning everyone,

Chilly this morning (31F). Light breeze - Humidity 55%.
With the amount of sun we will see today, I would expect it to get up to close to 50F - forecast however, says 41F. In my experience, there is about a 20 degree difference between night and day temps when the sun shines. A good bit of the night was overcast, so we are talking apples and oranges a bit. (Little radiational cooling at night so, did not start as cold as it would have) Perhaps that explains the difference in the forecast and my experience.

Running with the buffalo is too close in concept to running with the bulls. Safe enough in a dream, a bit of a logistical nightmare in real life. Would love to observe a white buffalo. Would imagine that it would be akin to seeing the whales.

Speaking of whales - From National Buoy Center - Folly Beach Station
Right whales are active off SC. Speed restrictions of 10 knots apply to vessels 65 feet or greater within the vicinity of this station. It is illegal to approach right whales within 500 yards. To learn more about right whales and rules protecting them, go to: http://rightwhalessouth.nmfs.noaa.gov/
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
I'll take NO pleasure from snow...if I need white stuff to play in my beach provides plenty of quartz crystal that does not require me walking around in 20 pounds of clothes that make me feel like a rolley polley.

Honestly what would you rather see.... bikinis or snow pants???
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Quoting GulfPoet:



excellent
Have you read "Aztec" by Gary Jennings?
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
Sheep Dip??? Scotch? LOL
Personally I don't drink scotch, but the Irish hubby loves the stuff... *&%$* hate to admit it, but I like that stuff from Canada, Crown Royal.
***Just don't tell that Canuck Orca!
Quoting GulfPoet:
Sheep Dip is a funny name for an excellent single malt scotch.

otherwise... you may draw your own conclusions.
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29383
Quoting GulfPoet:
its very quiet here this morning?


Well, some boy just stuck their tongue out at me....so I'm sitting quietly in the corner.....*giggle*
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Someone do something about this Canadian "wishcasting" snow on Florida! I told him I would be happy to show him the "proper use of a snow shovel"... and it ain't shoveling snow! hahahah
Quoting Orcasystems:


So close.. yet so far.. no snow in Florida..I can't believe it :(
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29383
Quoting GulfPoet:




but when you dream... sometimes.... you still go running with the buffalo
Well, I take that as a figure of speech. I haven't ran with a buffalo "yet" in my dreams, but I did fly beside Johnathon Livingston Seagull a few times back in the day. Remember Shibumi ???
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
K. NWS has it at 28 here in SWFL tomorrow morning. I think there has to be a rule if it gets below 32 it has to snow, a well if you absolutely have to suffer through the cold you might as well enjoy it clause. LOL!
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2685
Quoting GulfPoet:
Sheep Dip is a funny name for an excellent single malt scotch.

otherwise... you may draw your own conclusions.
That's because Scotch tastes like sheep dip...LOL

OK, Gulfpoet I promise to be civil from now on.
Having explored the arts and philosophies back in the sixties and watching the years go by, I have as much right as anyone to offer my observations and viewpoints.
I know what is a fancified notion and what is fact. No existentialism allowed at my house.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
TampaSpin - icescrapper - say it isn't so!! Just stuck my head in the freezer to pull out something for dinner....damn if it doesn't feel warmer in there then the house.

Any hope this forecast will be wrong???
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Quoting surfmom:

Well our bodies may be cold this morning -- but our minds are cooking or LOL passing gas ROTFL


So close.. yet so far.. no snow in Florida..I can't believe it :(
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192. GBlet
We should all be arguing by carrier pigeon. By the time we get the message we will have forgotten what the argument was.
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Quoting GBlet:
We are gonna "Technology" ourselves right back to the stone age. Oh, good morning everyone! Wishing for snow or rain or smet


Ahh.. nothing wrong with a good meadery though.

Who needed forks and knives anyway?
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
gotta run.....everyone stay warm....
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting GulfPoet:



I will not draw any conclusions yet on that particular release of Methane

Well our bodies may be cold this morning -- but our minds are cooking or LOL passing gas ROTFL
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
No snow but will need an ice scraper tomorrow morning.....low tomorrow is suppose to be 23 in Tampa......wow
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting theshepherd:


As with Feng Shui, Tao is best suited for poetry.


Whoohoo - that is a belly laugh
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
Quoting GulfPoet:



I will not draw any conclusions yet on that particular release of Methane
Cute...Don't quit your day job.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077
183. GBlet
Puter freaked out and stole my line..... See what I mean?
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Quoting Cotillion:


I wouldn't be too absolute on that, either.
My oops, True -- Cot -- cause farmland that can't grow wheat or food because of the climate change causes starvation
Member Since: July 18, 2007 Posts: 30 Comments: 26536
181. GBlet
We are gonna "Technology" ourselves right back to the stone age. Oh, good morning everyone! Wishing for snow or rain or smet
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180. IKE
Quoting Orcasystems:


Did it snow.. did it snow??


Nope....
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Morning everyone.....39deg in Tampa now...
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting Orcasystems:


Hmmm you learn something new everyday... I always thought Feng Shui was used by home decorators :)
Not just there amigo. It is the old Chinese concept of construction and daily living in general.
A bunch of hogwash. As in, leave soft music on in your house so when you return the very fibers of the construction materials will be in tune for a peacefull evening. Nails as with houseplants should not be sharp pointed as this releases negative energy. That kind of crap.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10077

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.