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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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: 10139
Quoting fireflymom:
Surfmom don't worry about the chickens, they will squat down and cover their toes with fluffed up feathers to keep them warm and safe. Birds know how to take care of them selves as long as you provide good wideish perches or flat surfaces for them to roost. They only require a windbreak ans shelter from precipitation.
Ohh thanks so much for that information... we were wondering if we should get the heat lamp out that we used when they were baby chicks... but then I worried about a fire in the night or them getting too hot in the coop. They're looking fine this morning....well, honestly -- they look a bit miserable.....
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Quoting theshepherd:
I've seen both sides of the mountain. The crap lies on the liberal side.



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

I think it is a Western philisophical construct that limits our ability to see both sides of the mountain at the same time.

Or -

To take the time to travel to the other side of the mountain before drawing conslusions about it's symettry with the side we have already seen.



I really enjoyed watching the scientists discussing the Methane releases on Mars recently observed and measured. They clearly were approaching the subject with an understanding of the multiple probabilities and possibilities for causality.

If one favored a biological source, he not only did not cling to this, he activly searched his mind for alternatives and withheld any conclusions pending further analysis and up close data retreaval.


I've seen both sides of the mountain. The crap lies on the liberal side.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Quoting surfmom:
Post140-calusakat
"If doctors did drug research using the same sloppy data management and analysis, we would all be dying like flys from bad drugs."

Respect your thoughts - but this is a bad example -- I know quite a few people dead as a result of poor/flawed/corrupted corporate drug trials..... people aren't dying from weather stats.



I wouldn't be too absolute on that, either.
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173. Skyepony (Mod)
calusakat~ Temps from satalites are fairly accurate & available & easy to find online. They are accurate. The world is warming, we don't need a graph to tell us since ice & perma frost is melting unlike anything we've seen looking back to oral history. & then there is ice cores which says it's been frozen for eons, unless your throwing out carbon dating (& we then have different ideas of what science is). There is ~90bill barrels of oil under the artic, if it wasn't melting Russia, Canada, United States, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland wouldn't be in turmoul over drilling rights.

The cherry picking Dr Masters refures to shows a graph of data & picks new years eve to compare. I could have used the same day picked & wrote a beauty of a cherry picking article that there is 1 million sq miles less ice than last year on that day, so we are all doomed.


~modified to say there is lots of oil~ not ice under the artic...lol, I'll have some coffee before getting back in this..
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Quoting weathers4me:
Regardless on what your stance is on GW. How can you argue the science of increasing global temps and exponentially rising amounts of CO2? So many people get their feelings involved in this debate. Just look at the facts.




See Comment chart 157

Quoting weathers4me:
Regardless on what your stance is on GW. How can you argue the science of increasing global temps and exponentially rising amounts of CO2? So many people get their feelings involved in this debate. Just look at the facts.


I don't think anyone is arguing the numbers as per say.. I think the argument is what is causing the increase.
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I think it is a Western philisophical construct that limits our ability to see both sides of the mountain at the same time.

Or -

To take the time to travel to the other side of the mountain before drawing conslusions about it's symettry with the side we have already seen.



I really enjoyed watching the scientists discussing the Methane releases on Mars recently observed and measured. They clearly were approaching the subject with an understanding of the multiple probabilities and possibilities for causality.

If one favored a biological source, he not only did not cling to this, he activly searched his mind for alternatives and withheld any conclusions pending further analysis and up close data retreaval.


Post140-calusakat
"If doctors did drug research using the same sloppy data management and analysis, we would all be dying like flys from bad drugs."

Respect your thoughts - but this is a bad example -- I know quite a few people dead as a result of poor/flawed/corrupted corporate drug trials..... people aren't dying from weather stats.

On the other hand -- The "Canaries" in the environment (trees, animals, bugs) are showing us that the environment is changing, as humans we have a responsibility to impact our environment with respect and care...GW or not....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Regardless on what your stance is on GW. How can you argue the science of increasing global temps and exponentially rising amounts of CO2? So many people get their feelings involved in this debate. Just look at the facts.
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Quoting theshepherd:


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


Hmmm you learn something new everyday... I always thought Feng Shui was used by home decorators :)
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Quoting gulfpoet-----------------------------


A scientists who understands the Tao would seek out the contradictions in his own assumptions and seek to not only understand them, but to challange his own assumptions to perhaps arrive at a different conclusion.



As with Feng Shui, Tao is best suited for poetry.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Quoting GulfPoet:
The steps of the scientific method are to:

Ask a Question
Do Background Research
Construct a Hypothesis
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
Communicate Your Results


--------------------------------------------------------


If there is solid data, and contradictory evidence that is in conflict with your original question - both in terms of background research as well as observation and expirimentation - the SCIENTIST does not get out the pooper scooper and start flinging his own CRAP at the contradictory information.

Prudence suggest, and in fact the flowchart of the scientific method DEMANDS - that you return to your question, review your hypothesis, and continue with testing and analsysis before you prosalatize the faithless, and scoop up the crap of those who are not necessarily convinced yet - one way or the other.


-----------------------------


A scientists who understands the Tao would seek out the contradictions in his own assumptions and seek to not only understand them, but to challange his own assumptions to perhaps arrive at a different conclusion.

If you have already made up your mind where you are going. That is where you will arrive.


See... there you go using logic and fact again... how are both sides going to be able to squeeze you and the government for money and handouts, if you prove one or both wrong?
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Did it snow.. did it snow??
You stinker...LOL...why would you wish your misery on those that chose to live in a place that welcomes poor frozen Canucks??? I think you need to send me some WhaleBlubber for insulation --
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Try not to think of it as "rubbing it in",

Try to think of it as "Ahh, theres hope for me"


I retired in 98, and have never worked as hard as I do now.. so far retirement sucks :(
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38.0 in Bradenton. Colder than yesterday morn.
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Quoting IKE:
26.1 degrees has been my low, so far, this morning...inland Florida panhandle.


Did it snow.. did it snow??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The steps of the scientific method are to:

Ask a Question
Do Background Research
Construct a Hypothesis
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
Communicate Your Results


--------------------------------------------------------


If there is solid data, and contradictory evidence that is in conflict with your original question - both in terms of background research as well as observation and expirimentation - the SCIENTIST does not get out the pooper scooper and start flinging his own CRAP at the contradictory information.

Prudence suggest, and in fact the flowchart of the scientific method DEMANDS - that you return to your question, review your hypothesis, and continue with testing and analsysis before you prosalatize the faithless, and scoop up the crap of those who are not necessarily convinced yet - one way or the other.


-----------------------------


A scientists who understands the Tao would seek out the contradictions in his own assumptions and seek to not only understand them, but to challange his own assumptions to perhaps arrive at a different conclusion.

If you have already made up your mind where you are going. That is where you will arrive.


Rather glad *that* is going north of us.

That says... 932mb? or such?
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perhaps some additional pooper scooper efforts can be made to determine if non-urban area monitoring supports the same trending a the aggrigate of all surface temperature readings.

simply - is urbanization affecting global temperature averaging and producing pretty graphs?
I hope this is not too much crap to clean up.

Quoting indianrivguy:
....I feel like a snook shocking out.

hahah, well said Surfmom.. I wonder how many understand it tho..
Understood...Winds and chill ran me out of the glades and off the bay. I'll be hunting those hogs down your way in a couple of months. Juvenille tarpon were a blast in their 30 minute window of bite on the moon.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Surfmom don't worry about the chickens, they will squat down and cover their toes with fluffed up feathers to keep them warm and safe. Birds know how to take care of them selves as long as you provide good wideish perches or flat surfaces for them to roost. They only require a windbreak ans shelter from precipitation.
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....I feel like a snook shocking out.

hahah, well said Surfmom.. I wonder how many understand it tho..
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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.


151
Out of luck...too far, my jet has a broken engine.. don't I wish! LOL
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Lake City, Fla
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
149
Yes sir!!! where do you live?
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148
Who pulled your old rusty chain ???
Got sausages cooking in the hearth of the wood stove. Want some ???
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
147
Like father..like son..LOL
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Macon, Ga 20.3*F, no snow, its good to be retired.
Looks like we've got ditto conditions this AM.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Got down to 34 here in SWFL 32 degrees at my work. Pretty cold for being this far south. They say it may even go into the upper 20's tonight. That doesn't happen very often down here.
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Try not to think of it as "rubbing it in",

Try to think of it as "Ahh, theres hope for me"
Ok, yes, there is hope for me. Stay warm - must get back to work.
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
Try not to think of it as "rubbing it in",

Try to think of it as "Ahh, theres hope for me"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RTLSNK:
Macon, Ga 20.3*F, no snow, its good to be retired.
You have to rub the retired thing in. LOL
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
Macon, Ga 20.3*F, no snow, its good to be retired.
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Good Morning all: A nice, nippy 29 at my house this morning. BRRR! Feels good though - didn't even put a jacket on for work but wasn't in it long. Should warm up mid-morning.
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
Isn't it hilarious how the blogmaster accuses others of cherry picking when he and his cohorts have cherry juice all over their faces.

Until they present to us the underlying data with certification that the equipment used in the field is re-calibrated on a regular basis and that each station has been placed in a neutral location insuring accurate reporting of the surrounding environment and that conditions continue to be appropriate for valid data gathering, their interpretations are not valid for much more than vague suppositions and certainly not for such specific determinations as were made in today's blog.

Regarding the release of information... I am not talking about silly graphs like STL so profusely shows us and the pretty global pictures in todays blog with all that cherry juice on them, I am talking about the boring reams of number and alphabet covered pages. Give me that data and I will make my own graphs...thank you.

I am talking about a veritable 'freedom of information act' type of release from the global warming Chicken Littles.

Of course we all know that wont happen because then we will all see how sloppy their methods of data gathering and analysis really are.

If doctors did drug research using the same sloppy data management and analysis, we would all be dying like flys from bad drugs.

Time to step away from the gutter of politics and get back on the road of pure clean science.
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38 here in this part of e cent fl coolest low temp this yr. la nina in 2009 get your helmets on tropical weather buffs. ill get my lazy boy ready.
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Going to have to make a couple of thermos's of HOT tea today -- I can't recall ever working in this kind of cold....I just hate the way I "seize" up and get so stiff....I feel like a snook shocking out.

hope YoungBuck's chickens will fair ok -- We piled the hay in the coop last night and they do snuggle up close together - I just don't know what to do if we get to freezing... I know I have to worry about their feet...... guess I'm going to have to make a few calls this afternoon.

I had a hurricane plan for "the girls" crated in the Lanai -- but I never thought I had to have an Arctic Blast plan---- I'm praying they can deal with this... I'm not in the frame of mind to have poultry running about the lanai -- sure makes great Cat TV though
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137. IKE
Right in the middle of the town I live in....

"""WZEP AM 1460 DeFuniak Springs, FL, DeFuniak Springs, Florida (PWS)
Updated: 0 sec ago
Clear
19.9 °F

Clear
Windchill: 20 °F
Humidity: 87%
Dew Point: 16 °F
Wind: 0.0 mph
Wind Gust: 0.0 mph
Pressure: 30.22 in (Steady)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 0 out of 16
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 174 ft
Rapid Fire Updates:""".........


I'm surrounded by 2 lakes....keeps me slightly warmer....the sun is up...warming up now....
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Bah!!!! It's dropping my me too!!!! 42 degrees - Poor you IKE -- breeze is starting to pick up with the rising sun as well.... I'm sure the need to heat homes (more up north) is going to put people in even more difficult financial stress. Gosh -- the homeless must really be suffering
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135. IKE
Quoting IKE:
Down to 23.0...really dropping right before sun-up.


Jeez....bombing out....down to 22.6 degrees as the sun comes up over the horizon.
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134. IKE
Down to 23.0...really dropping right before sun-up.
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133. IKE
Quoting surfmom:


Ohhhh Thanks IKE -- your words are music to my ears...LOL the 70's


You're welcome....

Down to 24.3 here...sun is rising in the eastern sky.
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Pining these cold temps on The-Mother-from-the-NORTH.......... I know she brought this "El Norte" crap with her...... anything to make my spouse uncomfortable LOl... originally I thought we'd have a CAT 4 under this roof.... seems she decided bringing an Arctic Blast was more torturous for her son-in-law
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Quoting IKE:
It's gonna warm up starting today and be back to around 70 by weeks end.....Baby, Hold On.....warmer weather ahead.


Ohhhh Thanks IKE -- your words are music to my ears...LOL the 70's
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MissNadia - you still taking your walk this morning?......I'm sure the ocean must be gorgeous here.... got the feeling there are glassy waves since the wind died down -- but it's a no go for me..... I'd have to have WhaleBlubber under my skin to insulate me from the cold -- not even the 4/4 wetsuit will cut it.

Going to be brutal enough riding horses in this weather... good thing I have the afternoon shift out east - a bright shining sun helps..... though I am suspecting the temps will continue to drop????
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129. IKE
It's gonna warm up starting today and be back to around 70 by weeks end.....Baby, Hold On.....warmer weather ahead.
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128. IKE
Make that 24.6 at my house. Cold morning.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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