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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Anybody in the Tampa area watching for a few flurries? It might be too warm there, but the light showers are now moving into west central Fl. I'm sure it's cold enough in some areas for snow.
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Quoting hurristat:


I watched it live at school... anyway, did anyone see the size of Biden's bible? It looked like it weighed a ton... poor Mrs. Biden.


That was a family Bible that had been in the family from i think 1880's something.....that was very cool actually..
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting TampaSpin:


I watched it live at school... anyway, did anyone see the size of Biden's bible? It looked like it weighed a ton... poor Mrs. Biden.
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Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting Orcasystems:


You guys are technically part of the area they call the land of a thousand lakes aren't you?


that's Minnesota's nickname...but kind of... but in Michigan you're never more than 6 miles from water.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


replay what he said....and listen.....White, black, yellow, red......im not a racist person at all....to your thinking but, obvious many are in denial and not open about this world.


I didn't call you racist.. I just said to open your mind and listen to all of the lines.. to all of the remarks about each colour.. I am sure each one can be taken in a positive and or negative context, depending how your willing to look at them.

I looked at all of them in a positive context.. I could care less what colour anyone is. Its personality that counts for me.
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Quoting melwerle:
ok - so i have to just say it then hurristat as you've been here apparently.

The "choice words" fly here - and we are seriously offended by them being from the north or being from anywhere really but here. It's like this place is stuck in a time that won't move on. My daughter, who is blonde, blue eyed...we moved here and she fell in love with another kid from the school...I knew all about nicki - and was fine with whatever went on - innocent enough - they are kids. He is type 1, she is type 1 - they met in the nurse' office. Awwwwwww....

when I told someone about it - they felt the need to inform me that nicki was black. Half black anyway and that didn't i know. I was like "and your point IS?" This election here was kind of quieted and I won't even begin to say what the kids have been saying on the bus. there was a joke going around that would offend all of you - and i guarantee that you would all gasp. The principal here at least had the sense to tell the kids they would be expelled if he heard them repeat it.

When I moved here, I never thought it would be like this - I thought people had moved past this but apparently not. What I hope most is that Obama does REALLY WELL, kicks ass, takes names and shuts these people up...


I have to confess... i have been to the deep south maybe but twice, but I know some people who say very similar things about the same topics. I try not to stereotype, but based on the history of the south (as interpreted by the north), i inferred what many people would say about such touchy topics. It has only been 43-44 years since Former President Johnson signed the bill, and parents have a huge influence on their children... but if my interpretation is wrong, go ahead and call me on it.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Anyway.. bed time for me.. work tomorrow :(
have fun.. play nice..


Yep little BOYS like me should be in bed as labled......LMAO
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Anyway.. bed time for me.. work tomorrow :(
have fun.. play nice..
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Timmy my boy... sometimes you just worry me :)


replay what he said....and listen.....White, black, yellow, red......im not a racist person at all....to your thinking but, obvious many are in denial and not open about this world.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting hurristat:


LOL... the lakes get annoying when you're trying to drive somewhere. you have to drive around several lakes to go 10 miles instead of taking a straight line like you do in North Dakota... and go to the Upper Peninsula before the lower if you do go; Stephen Colbert ruled it part of Canada : )


You guys are technically part of the area they call the land of a thousand lakes aren't you?
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Interesting place.. used to watch a fishing show from their all the time on cable... alwasy wanted to go there.. mind you.. people who go ice fishing appear to be playing with the low cards in the deck :)


LOL... the lakes get annoying when you're trying to drive somewhere. you have to drive around several lakes to go 10 miles instead of taking a straight line like you do in North Dakota... and go to the Upper Peninsula before the lower if you do go; Stephen Colbert ruled it part of Canada : )
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Quoting TampaSpin:


With Rev. Lowery outlook i'm sure he would see the ice thicker for the white man than for any other color of person.........LOL


Timmy my boy... sometimes you just worry me :)
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ok - so i have to just say it then hurristat as you've been here apparently.

The "choice words" fly here - and we are seriously offended by them being from the north or being from anywhere really but here. It's like this place is stuck in a time that won't move on. My daughter, who is blonde, blue eyed...we moved here and she fell in love with another kid from the school...I knew all about nicki - and was fine with whatever went on - innocent enough - they are kids. He is type 1, she is type 1 - they met in the nurse' office. Awwwwwww....

when I told someone about it - they felt the need to inform me that nicki was black. Half black anyway and that didn't i know. I was like "and your point IS?" This election here was kind of quieted and I won't even begin to say what the kids have been saying on the bus. there was a joke going around that would offend all of you - and i guarantee that you would all gasp. The principal here at least had the sense to tell the kids they would be expelled if he heard them repeat it.

When I moved here, I never thought it would be like this - I thought people had moved past this but apparently not. What I hope most is that Obama does REALLY WELL, kicks ass, takes names and shuts these people up...
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Interesting place.. used to watch a fishing show from their all the time on cable... alwasy wanted to go there.. mind you.. people who go ice fishing appear to be playing with the low cards in the deck :)


With Rev. Lowery outlook i'm sure he would see the ice thicker for the white man than for any other color of person.........LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting hurristat:


Michigan.


Interesting place.. used to watch a fishing show from their all the time on cable... alwasy wanted to go there.. mind you.. people who go ice fishing appear to be playing with the low cards in the deck :)
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Concur
where are you at Hurristat


Michigan.
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Quoting melwerle:
San Diego...a major melting pot of everything...and everyone has just kind of learned to speak everyone's language and such...then come here and it's very one sided - there is still a fight over who one the civil war (they still refer to it as the war of northern aggression)...

I can go on but don't want to piss anyone off. Republican yes...but the things I hear would curl your ears.



Being from the north, and talking mostly to southerners, i have to um...monitor what i say to make sure i dont offend anyone, i tried to make it based more on party affiliation, which makes sense, than other factors (you know what I'm talking about) as not to offend anyone... i didnt want to stereotype. But with the South's history, it wouldn't be surprising to hear some select words...

I don't generalize about people, please know that. no offense to anyone.
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Quoting hurristat:


cross out Canada, write non-communist world...


Concur
where are you at Hurristat
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It's a MAJOR culture shock. Trust me. I never thought it would be like this when we decided to retire until i saw workman show up with the "stars and bars" on their cars and trucks. And openly calling folks names that I wouldn't dream of saying. When i say it's been quiet here, I mean it.
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There is/was actually a large underground movement.. to start a new country/economic area..

Alaska/BC/Alberta/Washington/Oregon/California

They have a lot more similarity then say.. New York and California.. or Washington and the Carols.

Washington the State, not the City

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Quoting Orcasystems:


West Coast is a lot like Canada, much more liberal minded..


cross out Canada, write non-communist world...
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San Diego...a major melting pot of everything...and everyone has just kind of learned to speak everyone's language and such...then come here and it's very one sided - there is still a fight over who one the civil war (they still refer to it as the war of northern aggression)...

I can go on but don't want to piss anyone off. Republican yes...but the things I hear would curl your ears.

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Quoting TampaSpin:


Mel, why would San Diego be better, never been there so i don't know....sorry.


West Coast is a lot like Canada, much more liberal minded..
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Quoting melwerle:
47. (and other comments)

I live in the deep south - our kids had one tv on in the lunch room with 200 kids (during lunch) - everyone couldn't care less here in the school...i taped it for them so they were able to watch it in peace when they got home without having to dodge the nonsense at school. Kind of bummed that the folks here didn't make a huge deal about it - which is why i am trying to make it back home. Had enough.


If you live in a largely republican area, the lack of interest can probably be attributed to that.
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Quoting melwerle:
San Diego....


Mel, why would San Diego be better, never been there so i don't know....sorry.
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Quoting melwerle:
San Diego....


Oh.. my second home while I was in the navy :)
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San Diego....
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Quoting melwerle:
47. (and other comments)

I live in the deep south - our kids had one tv on in the lunch room with 200 kids (during lunch) - everyone couldn't care less here in the school...i taped it for them so they were able to watch it in peace when they got home without having to dodge the nonsense at school. Kind of bummed that the folks here didn't make a huge deal about it - which is why i am trying to make it back home. Had enough.


Where is home?
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47. (and other comments)

I live in the deep south - our kids had one tv on in the lunch room with 200 kids (during lunch) - everyone couldn't care less here in the school...i taped it for them so they were able to watch it in peace when they got home without having to dodge the nonsense at school. Kind of bummed that the folks here didn't make a huge deal about it - which is why i am trying to make it back home. Had enough.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Tim, you cannot take one line out of context.. I am a Canadian, and I listened to ALL of the lines.

That being said.. listening to a lot of the comments on here and on the other blogs.. it would appear to be the white's who have to learn to get it right.. I don't see a lot of Black/Yellow/Red KKK groups down there. He did mention all of those colours also, if you paid attention.




I replayed it twice...i raise a young black kid in my house....it was wrong....
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Tim, you cannot take one line out of context.. I am a Canadian, and I listened to ALL of the lines.

That being said.. listening to a lot of the comments on here and on the other blogs.. it would appear to be the white's who have to learn to get it right.. I don't see a lot of Black/Yellow/Red KKK groups down there. He did mention all of those colours also, if you paid attention.




I agree....... things like this are why I have always wanted to be Canadian. LOL
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Quoting TampaSpin:
The Rev. Lowery said this during prayer

"When White will embrace what it right" Holy Crap i am outraged that this would be allowed to be said during the Presidential Inaguration. Are they trying to play a race card in the Presidency with Obama. I hope not. But WOW!


Tim, you cannot take one line out of context.. I am a Canadian, and I listened to ALL of the lines.

That being said.. listening to a lot of the comments on here and on the other blogs.. it would appear to be the white's who have to learn to get it right.. I don't see a lot of Black/Yellow/Red KKK groups down there. He did mention all of those colours also, if you paid attention.


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Here comes the possible Snow to Tampa....YEPPIE......lol

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
The Rev. Lowery said this during prayer

"When White will embrace what it right" Holy Crap i am outraged that this would be allowed to be said during the Presidential Inaguration. Are they trying to play a race card in the Presidency with Obama. I hope not. But WOW!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
From Dr.Masters Blog, it looks as if we will be learning a bit about global warming soon. Should be interesting.
Learning a bit about T&T has been interesting, tonight.
Temp has been hovering at 32F for some time, not terribly cold for this time of year in Charleston.
Luck to the rest of you tonight! Stay warm.
I think Charleston is safe from snow tonight, so I am going to call it a night.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Its late here!
I will see you all tomorrow sometime.
Take care.
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I was just reading the advisory's for Florida and the Florida panhandle.. they are going to freeze their buns off....
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Thanks Pottery
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
The East Indians were brought here as Indentured Labour, after the abolition of Slavery. To work the sugar estates. By the British.
It took weeks for them to sail this far, and many died on the way. Noboddy told them that the seas off South Africa are dangerous, and Very Cold in the "summer". Many were brought to the Guianas, and to Trinidad (not to Tobago, which was Dutch).
They worked for 3 years and were given 5 acres of land, or a passage back home. None returned to India.
It was a far better deal, than the African got......
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Pottery

From India to Trinidad % Tobago - That must be a very interesting story.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Hurristat. The population in T&T is almost 50/50 African/Caribbean and Indo/Caribbean. (from India)
Like anywhere with an black Population, Obama is seen as an affirmation of Hope, Pride, Understanding, of the black situation.
Many of the wishes and expectations are quite silly. There is a real world out there. But I think the general feeling is that he can do some positive things.

I wish people would stop referring to him as "black". The man is half black, half white. Which makes him a Hybrid. In nature, Hybrids are often endowed with atributes that are phenomenal. Every mixed-race person that I know, and I know many, have inherited aspects of both their predominant races, which is a very good thing.
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32F Whisper of a breeze. Pressure rising, Humidity 90% (no wonder I feel chilled to the bone) It snowed on James Island across the river from me. - Did not dare snow on the Holy City, though.

Someone from Alaska once told me, that he felt colder in Charleston in January, than he did in Alaska. One of my many sisters had lived in Alaska for a coupla' years, and she concurred. I figured they had just forgotten just how cold it was (selective amnesia). I know, I know... it is the humidity, everyone says. However, the guy from Alaska threw out this interesting hypothesis. He said that since we are at such a low sea level (I am at 7ft above sea level where I live)- that we have a larger (and heavier) column of cold moist air sitting on top of our heads. He was not a scientist (and obviously neither am I), but his theory always stuck with me.

MODIFIED - HE ALSO INSISTED THAT THEY HAVE HUMIDITY IN ALASKA AND IN THAT THE TWO AREAS WERE THE SAME
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
not yet orca it will be between 2 am and 7 am if it does


That would make me happier then you going to -40
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Did it.. or is it going to.. snow in Florida
not yet orca it will be between 2 am and 7 am if it does
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29. I am waiting to hear what pottery says but i have friends that i sail with that travel all over the world. They just traveled to marrakesh...last month...and said that they had a VERY warm reception for the first time...folks were smiling and saying "obama" - welcoming for the first time.

Just is going to take some time.
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Did it.. or is it going to.. snow in Florida
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Quoting seflagamma:
Hi Dr Masters, Good evening my friends.

I don't know about the rest of you but I enjoy warmer temps.. and I really do not like these cold winter days we are having even down here in the sub-tropics..having to protect our tropical plants is not fun... and all of my family up north who are having a horrid winter...they are OK with climate change if it means a little warmer winters!
(you notice how we no longer say "man made global warming" ...it is finally what is really is.. "Climate Change".

Hope you all are staying warm and cozy!


Gams
'

With all due respect...
I live in Michigan (I think that qualifies as the North) and I would rather have 2 feet of snow than the Great Lakes gone... simulations have been done to predict what will happen if and when climate change occurs. The Great Plains will essentially become a desert, leaving the Great Lakes area as the only major farming area left. While much of what is now the Taiga of Canada will become arable, the tradeoffs are larger than just being slightly warmer... which will effect Florida negatively, by the way.
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Quoting pottery:
Good evening.
Great History today.
The world is watching.
So far, so good.
Congratulations, America.


What is his reception in Trinidad and Tobago?, just out of curiosity.
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Evening all :)

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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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