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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428. Skyepony (Mod)
geepy~ My baby tomatoes were looking rough this morning too even though I covered them. They are coming inside tonight. Thanks for reminding me. All my cool season stuff is taking this cold in stride~ uncovered. DId bed the potatos & herbs in some old hay & leaves, kissed the okra & squash plants goodbye. It's all good 2nd round of cabbage, brocolli, lettuse & brussels are looking for a place to get big. Looks like a hard freeze tonight.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 193 Comments: 38688
Good night, theshepherd
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting KEHCharleston:

LOL
This happens frequently to Sparrow's wenches after a full moon followed by a temp drop.
g'nite
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Quoting theshepherd:
This doesn't look like the place for a member of the dominant paradigm.
I'm going to bed...

LOL
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
This doesn't look like the place for a member of the dominant paradigm.
I'm going to bed...
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Orca.... I agree w/ Surf, go wade in that pool of yours, w/o the funky pants. Heard you look good with Blue....

WU people, Floridians, unite! This man is promoting FREEZING temps for Florida! He uses the term "redneck" and "cracker" in a derogatory manner. He has continued to "wishcast" snow upon this paradise peninsula we call Florida. If he was an American, it would be considered treason! Oh! MY! Maybe he's some sort of "Weather Terrorist"!

BTW, if I were into hunting.... I would dress accordingly and stylishly!

ROFLMCAO


yea -- me too
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Orca.... I agree w/ Surf, go wade in that pool of yours, w/o the funky pants. Heard you look good with Blue....

WU people, Floridians, unite! This man is promoting FREEZING temps for Florida! He uses the term "redneck" and "cracker" in a derogatory manner. He has continued to "wishcast" snow upon this paradise peninsula we call Florida. If he was an American, it would be considered treason! Oh! MY! Maybe he's some sort of "Weather Terrorist"!

BTW, if I were into hunting.... I would dress accordingly and stylishly!

ROFLMCAO
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29384
Thanks for reminding me Pat - have one garden I wanted to cover, see if we can save the plants that are flowering.
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my frozen tomatoe plants were kinda cool to look at this morning. I even covered them up. trying to save the peppers tonight but it's not looking good. at least this should be the last for awhile time to start more seedlings.
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Protecting Plants During Cold Weather Link

If the weather suddenly turns cold, early-flowering and tender plants may need special protection to avoid damage by freezing temperatures. There are several ways you can provide winter protection, including 1) mulching; 2) covering the plants; 3) moving them; or 4) taking advantage of a light snow covering.

MULCHING: This is one of the best ways to protect plant roots. Bark, straw, sawdust, peat moss, leaves and even grass clippings are the most common mulching materials. Remove the weeds (if possible) before applying the mulch. As a rule the mulch should be about 2 inches in depth. However, there are exceptions that will be stated a little later in this information bulletin. Keep the mulch an inch or two away from the trunk or main stem of the trees and shrubs. Again, there are exceptions, such as roses and cane berries, where the mulch is actually mounded over the canes. Then when spring arrives, after all danger of frost has passed, these mulching materials are pulled away.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting geepy86:
30 here, guess I can kiss the rest of the garden goodbye :(


Please don't say that - I'm having positive thoughts that it won't stay cold long enough to damage the plants.
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30 here, guess I can kiss the rest of the garden goodbye :(
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Only 8:45 here, and the temp is already at 46 - not good for the crops.
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GOES EAST Full Disk Image 21-Jan-2009 20:42 Link

GOES WEST Full Disk Image 21-Jan-2009 20:45 Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
413. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
GALE WARNING FOR TD 06F
===================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression SIX-F (1008 hPa) located at 15.0S 163.2W is reported as moving southwest at 10 knots.

Position GOOD

Clockwise winds 25 to 35 knots within 60 to 180 miles away from the center in the eastern semi-circle. Winds expected to ease in the next 6 hours.

AREA OF GALES MOVING WITH TD 06F.
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Whip up some El Niño pudding!Link

You have probably heard people blame "El Niño" for everything from bad weather to lost homework. Now we are going to "blame El Niño" for inspiring a delicious and colorful dessert!

recipe Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Damn, I'm closed..I should go home... back later
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410. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Seychelles Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number FIFTEEN
PERTURBATION TROPICALE, EX-FANELE (07-20082009)
4:00 AM Réunion January 22 2009
===========================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Disturbance, Ex-Fanele (1002 hPa) located at 23.8S 48.4E has 10 minute sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts of 35 knots. The disturbance is reported as moving southeast at 15 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0

Near-Gale Force Winds
======================
Clockwise circulation 25 knots and rough seas, reaching locally near Gale-Force Winds of 30 knots within the southern semi-circle

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 25.1S 49.9E - 25 knots (PERTURBATION Tropicale)
24 HRS: 26.7S 51.7E - 30 knots (DEPRESSION Tropicale)
48 HRS: 30.9S 54.9E - 25 knots (PERTURBATION Tropicale)
72 HRS: 32.8S 58.4E - (EXTRATROPICAL)

Additional Information
========================
The system has returned back at seas in the southeast of Malagasy. It seems that Fanele has a small window for some intensification with better tradewind inflow as some ridge is temporarily rebuilt southwards and 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 temporarily moderate tropical storm status. Limitant factor are cooler sea surface temperatures (no heat content south of 27S), some westerly moderate vertical wind shear that could be generated 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 perioud. Most of the available NWP models are in good agreement with the forecast track.
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Quoting KEHCharleston:
Orca, surfmom, I would not touch the above post with a mile long stick

How is Glitter?


Glitter is no longer with us.. she is helping the apple tree.
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408. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Summary
TROPICAL DEPRESSION SIX-F
9:00 AM FST January 22 2009
================================

At 21:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression Six-F (1006 hPa) located at 15.5S 161.5W is reported as moving southwest at 10 knots. Position GOOD based on infrared/visible imagery with animation, peripheral observation, and latest SSMI Pass. Sea surface temperature is around 29C.

Tropical Depression SIX lies along a monsoonal trough, under a 250 HPA diffluence region in a moderately sheared environment. Low level circulation center is exposed with pulsating convection to the east. The depression is expected to continue in a generally southwest direction then gradually move south towards cooler sea surface temperatures.

System #2
------------

At 21:00 PM UTC, Tropical Disturbance (1010 hPa) located at 12.0S 166.0W is reported as moving slowly. Position POOR based on infrared/visible imagery with animation, peripheral observation, and latest QUIKSCAT Pass. Sea surface temperature is around 29C.

Tropical Disturbance lies embedded in an active monsoonal trough, under a 250 HPA diffluent region in a moderately sheared environment. Pulsating convection has not increased much in the last 24 hours and the system remains disorganized. Low level circulation center is obscured.

Global models [US/UK/EC] has picked up Tropical Depression SIX and moves it southwest then south with little intensification.

No global models has picked up the tropical disturbance northwest of Tropical Depression SIX.

POTENTIAL FOR TD06F AND TD TO DEVELOP INTO A TROPICAL CYCLONE IN THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HOURS IS LOW.
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Orca, surfmom, I would not touch the above post with a mile long stick

How is Glitter?

MODIFIED - WAS REFERRING TO POST 403, BUT WORKS FOR THE ONE ABOVE AS WELL
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Tonight should be the last night I need to leave the water dripping. At least for the next week. Life is good.


Umm way up here in the boonies.. we just wrap the outdoor taps with a towel.. that's all you need.

I can't remember the last time I heard the word dripping in a good context?
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Tonight should be the last night I need to leave the water dripping. At least for the next week. Life is good.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting theshepherd:
Yep. Don't listen to the Canadian dude...


Hey.. I resemble that remark??
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Quoting theshepherd:
I'm a cracker not a redneck. Crackers don't live in a fantasy.


Hmmm same conversation here as over there... its got to be some kind of redneck thingie?

BTW....

Rumor has it that BF is asking for Snow..and lots of it.. she wants to go Bow hunting in Red pumps, or it might have been flip flops, I think.. not sure..I lost track.
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399Hiexpress - I haven't seen you in forever... you'd think you could be the bearer of Good News........LOL this just makes me wanna cry

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Fourteen?
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Quoting theshepherd:
Hush...I'm paying you a compliment...LOL


in all seriousness, i have difficulty with those. It drives my parents nuts... they try to compliment me and i always find a way to put myself down... don't take it personally...

LOL

you're gonna hafta be sneaky to compliment me... hee hee
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Quoting hurristat:


...sorry for boasting too much... it's hard to find things to say on topics like that w/o putting down someone... i wanna say something like "im a jerk" but then i sound desperate for attention.... aaaugh... being a teenager sucks....

modification: and the "gentlemanly response" is more due to the stupid teenager stereotypes than anything... so i try to sell myself larger than I am... so i wouldn't hold me up to the high standard you have set.
Hush...I'm paying you a compliment...LOL
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
hurristat,

The blog just gets quiet sometimes. From what others have said, it has been unusually active for winter time. Someone will throw something out for discussion before you know it.
Good time to grab a snack, get some things done, and check back in.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting theshepherd:
Nope. Taking Physics as a freshman does not vindicate you. But, your gentlemanly response does.


...sorry for boasting too much... it's hard to find things to say on topics like that w/o putting down someone... i wanna say something like "im a jerk" but then i sound desperate for attention.... aaaugh... being a teenager sucks....

modification: and the "gentlemanly response" is more due to the stupid teenager stereotypes than anything... so i try to sell myself larger than I am... so i wouldn't hold me up to the high standard you have set.
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Quoting hurristat:


I'm sorry..... I didn't mean to presume anything... like I said yesterday, everyone is encouraged to call me out on something that they feel needs to be mentioned... i hate having people feel angst or similar emotions toward me... that being said I am in no way, shape, or form, a redneck... i want to find some way to justify that I'm not a redneck without offending anyone... I guess the fact that I took Physics as a freshman in high school last year may.. i dont know... or this (by the way it's a satirical site) Uncyclopedia: IB

Modification: just saw the previous comment... and LOL the whole IB thing is annoying but it makes me in no way shape or form smarter or better than anyone else in the world... you guys are all smarter than me anyway...
Nope. Taking Physics as a freshman does not vindicate you. But, your gentlemanly response does.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Quoting hurristat:
did everyone just leave??


I am in and out
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting theshepherd:
I wasn't labeling you, amigo.
Just speaking to your response.
It's all good. LOL


we cool now? (Im cool with you...) LOL
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did everyone just leave??
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Quoting hurristat:


Just because i try to speak in a nonpartisan way and I'm being critical of one group, don't assume I'm the opposite of that group ; )
I wasn't labeling you, amigo.
Just speaking to your response.
It's all good. LOL
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10139
Quoting NRAamy:



that's a Domo...

:)


they eat your cabbage

LOL
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Quoting KEHCharleston:

I know what you mean.
My liberal friends think I am conservative.
My conservative friends think I am liberal.

Were you able to view Michel STL's blog?


Yah I was... its all about subzero temps and how it proves global warming with a bunch of stats... ok maybe the second part isnt true but it'll end up that way eventually : ) It's funny b/c there's a WU member called MichaelSTD...LOL (But they're permanently banned)
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that's a Domo...

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting hurristat:


Just because i try to speak in a nonpartisan way and I'm being critical of one group, don't assume I'm the opposite of that group ; )

I know what you mean.
My liberal friends think I am conservative.
My conservative friends think I am liberal.

Were you able to view Michael STL's blog?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
360. GulfPoet 2:25 PM PST on January 21, 2009
oh and. .... watch out for domo


excuse me?!

;)

Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
SWFL Coldfront Surf
Frozen cold leftovers this morning in the waist+ range and glassy! Penguins and polar bears get on it early as the buoy's are dropping off quickly. Another 2 tide day will hamper the swell this morning, but as I stated earlier the swell is dropping by the hour.

Booties will be mandatory and if you have a hood or any gloves I would suggest using them. Gulf Temp 59 This is out of my league-- there's not a wetsuit in the world that would keep me warm -- can't imagine it even hitting my face!!I wouldn't even go look at the waves... But I bet they were pretty.

Work at the Polo Barn wasn't too bad -- almost felt warmer out East of I75. So far so good-- --no colic... Great workout on the track - horses had a nice warm-up and easy canter - this weather seems to really agree with them. They're wearing heavy blankets at night. Had a feeling & being here I figured we were going to see some real cold temps., this winter, I did not clip our horses coats... so they have quite a thick furry winter coat. A new hay bale --they're handling the cold better then me.
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Quoting KEHCharleston:
hurristat

I am sorry, I do not remember - Where do you live?

MODIFIED - ANSWERED IN THE ABOVE POST


Actually, I live within a fifteen minute drive of Dr. Masters.
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Quoting theshepherd:
Time will tell. Of course the Dems in Congress will respond more readily. That's called politics. And I'm sure one of the first things to pop up will be line item veto that was denied to predecessors. Heaven forbid Dem pork get squashed.
I see a Civics lesson coming. LOL


Just because i try to speak in a nonpartisan way and I'm being critical of one group, don't assume I'm the opposite of that group ; )
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hurristat

I am sorry, I do not remember - Where do you live?

MODIFIED - ANSWERED IN THE ABOVE POST
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting surfmom:


I appreciate the beauty -- truly-- but my physical self just can't deal w/the cold... I suffer. It hurts my skin... and I've tried... I'm bred for the tropics.


lived in Michigan my whole life (which hasn't been very long) and I love it... one of the safest places in the country with regards to natural disasters.
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Quoting theshepherd:
We don't know, amigo.
70 of us can't get on his blog. Go scout that out for us. Surely you haven't dissed him yet. LOL


I'm not banned... not to my knowledge... i'll go check and report back...
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Hurristat: If Fanele can prevent from going extratropical it probably can, since Eric is reporting near 35-40 knot sustained winds but is losing all its tropical characteristics to be called a tropical storm.


thanks... i was wondering if it had any chance... to me it seemed unlikely.
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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.