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 conchygirl:
Where is Michael STL? Haven't seen him here in quite sometime. No loss since most of us are on his Ignore list.
Overdosed on KoolAid I think.
Only could talk to Gulfy(just kidding)and the other sheep.
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
Quoting NRAamy:
maybe he threw an Obama party last night...or, he's helping cb build his tunnels....
too funny!
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
edit: i'm removing this link as it appears this article was misleading. sorry about that.
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maybe he threw an Obama party last night...or, he's helping cb build his tunnels....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
Where is Michael STL? Haven't seen him here in quite sometime. No loss since most of us are on his Ignore list.
Member Since: June 11, 2008 Posts: 24 Comments: 5910
321. GulfPoet 1:16 PM PST on January 21, 2009
i can get in just fine


brown noser....

Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
Quoting theshepherd:
318 KEH
Does Michael have you banned also??? LOL

I have no idea, but he has called me a d--- denialist, so he probably does.

There are enough reasons to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, that I do not need global warming as an incentive.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
who doesn't he have banned?
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
318 KEH
Does Michael have you banned also??? LOL
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
RE:288. GulfPoet (Thanks GulfPoet)
(Background:Russian Vostok station is in East Antarctica and in 1998 yielded the deepest ice core ever recovered)

As you can see by looking at the graph, I am unable to use exact numbers, so I will be using an approximation

CO2 ppm
Highest 300ppm
Lowest 180ppm
Difference 120 ppm

Temp
Highest 3C
Lowest -9C
Difference 12 degrees

Therefore at Vostok Station (East Antarctica) for the 400,000 years before 1950, an increase of 10ppm, would correlate(roughly) to an increase of temperature of 1 degree C.

What about since 1950??
According to Wikipedia: "As of November 2007, the CO2 concentration in Earth's atmosphere was about 0.0384% by volume, or 384 parts per million by volume (ppmv)."
An increase of about 90 ppm, which if we used the data from the graph, would correlate to a 9 degree increase in the temperature at the Antartic.

However it you look at Cotillion's Post #315 (Thanks Cotillion), "Scientists say data from satellites and weather stations indicate a warming of about 0.6C over the last 50 years."

So we have an anomaly. Obviously there are many, many more factors and more at play than my post indicates. (Also I think it is fair to remind everyone that correlation does not equal cause and effect. )
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
316 Gulf
Obama can't do squat without Congress.
Dems have had Congress for the last two years. Where did that get us? Or maybe that was the design???
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
The continent of Antarctica is warming up in step with the rest of the world, according to a new analysis.

Scientists say data from satellites and weather stations indicate a warming of about 0.6C over the last 50 years.

Writing in the journal Nature, they say the trend is "difficult to explain" without the effect of rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, scientists in Antarctica say a major ice shelf is about to break away from the continent.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is said to be "hanging by a thread" from the Antarctic Peninsula, the strip of land pointing from the white continent towards the southern tip of South America.

Most of Antarctica's scientific stations are located along the peninsula, and scientists have known for many years that this portion of the continent is getting warmer.

But trends across the bulk of the continent have been much harder to discern, mainly because data from land stations is scarce.

It is somewhat insulated from the rest of the world's weather systems by winds and ocean currents that circulate around the perimeter.

In the new analysis, a team of US scientists combined data from land stations with satellite readings

"We have at least 25 years of data from satellites, and satellites have the huge advantage that they can see the whole continent," said Eric Steig from the University of Washington in Seattle.

"But the [land] stations have the advantage that they go back much further in time.

"So we combined the two; and what we found, in a nutshell, is that there is warming across the whole continent, it's stronger in winter and spring but it is there in all seasons."

They conclude that the eastern region of the continent, which is larger and colder than the western portion, is warming at 0.1C per decade, and the west at 0.17C per decade - faster than the global average.

The 2007 assessment of the global climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded: "It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic (human-induced) warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica", with the word "likely" in this context meaning "at least 66% probability".

The scientists said this study did not change that picture, with natural climatic cycles probably involved as well as elevated greenhouse gas concentrations.

"It's hard to think of any situation where increased greenhouse gases would not lead to warming in Antarctica," said Drew Shindell from Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) in New York.

"We're almost certain that greenhouse gas increases are contributing to this warming, but what's difficult is to attribute this warming and so say how much is down to natural warming and how much down to anthropogenic causes."

Last year, scientists from the UK Met Office used climate models to attribute trends at the poles, and concluded that human emissions of greenhouse gases were largely responsible for the observed warming.

Gareth Marshall from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who was not involved in the analysis, commented: "This study shows that, similar to the other six continents, Antarctica has undergone a significant warming over the past 50 years.

"The magnitude of this warming is similar to the rest of the southern hemisphere, where we believe it is likely that human activity has played some role in the temperature increase, and therefore it is also likely that this is the case regarding an Antarctic warming."

Over the last 30 years, satellites have also shown that sea ice is slowly growing in extent around Antarctica, which some observers say indicates a cooling across the continent or at least in the surrounding seas.

But Walt Meier from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, which follows ice trends at the poles, said wind patterns were probably the main reason.

"Around Antarctica, the winds play a much bigger role than they do in the Arctic," he said.

"If they're blowing northwards you can grow ice quite quickly and in contrast if they blow southwards the ice can contract quickly, whereas in the Arctic it's much more constrained (by land masses).

"So this positive trend in the Antarctic is certainly not an indication of any cooling trend."

One region that has seen spectacular losses of ice in recent years is the peninsula.

A BAS team currently on site is reporting that the Wilkins shelf, about 15,000 sq km in area, is probably about to break free.

"It really could go at any minute, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the final cracks started to appear very soon," said BAS's David Vaughan.

If it does, it will follow the course of other shelves that have made breakaways in recent years, such as the Larsen B in 2002.

Although spectacular, such events are not necessarily due to man-made climate change.

A much bigger question is whether the new analysis of Antarctic warming heralds any major melting in the West Antarctic ice sheet, which could led to big changes in sea level and global impacts.

"The vulnerability is higher than we thought, but still we face uncertainties in understanding these processes that make it very difficult to forecast when these changes would occur," said Drew Shindell.
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no early hot flashes for me, Gulf....better living through chemistry is my motto....

I think I'll check out the Army/Navy Surplus store, and see if they have a camo bikini/parka combo....

Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
Gotta luv ya gulfy
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
Quoting GulfPoet:
it would seem to some observers.. that the cherries hang as low lying fruit on both sides of the tree.
Now, dat pass da Tao test. LOL
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
Recommendation: Human civilization should prepare for both the potentiality of a peak in warming that gives cause to the rise in earths oceans and makes uninhabitable certain coastal areas. Simultaneously - preperations for a steep downward trend and protracted cooling period must also be considered.

so Gulf....do I stock up on bikinis or parkas????
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
Quoting

The good Dr.'s do themeselves no service by personalizing, internalizing, and prosalatizing.

Explain the damn science and leave the adjectives and crap slinging to us amatures.

thank you.


But, do dat pass the Tao test??? LOL
Member Since: September 11, 2008 Posts: 9 Comments: 10030
I think the following reminiscence can explain the collecting of faulty data. One very cold nite the in/out thermometer read 81f (the probe long ago fell under the massive honeysuckle mess). No possible way. But even as I watched the temp dropped rapidly to a more likely 20f. Electronic failure? No, a warm blooded denizen of suburbia must have been sitting on the probe. If I kept records that would have skewed the results!!!!
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Ludlum is great, I like Clancy too. If you like Hiaasen, I recommend Dorsey.. Hammerhead Hotel. He's a west coast version of Carl.
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By looking at that chart of rising temps it would appear the world is going to end, untill you look at the scale and realize we are taking about a range that falls under the margin of error /- 1 degree.

Put that in a scale of plus/Minus 10 degrees and it would be nearly a flat line.
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Quoting NRAamy:
dinosaur flatulance?


I'm betting that is methane - more effective than CO2.
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Gulfpoet quote - and that is all I will say today.

HA HA HA, sure... :)
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TWC feature on ,.."El Nino" Link
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dinosaur flatulance?
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
close Pat!

but I was thinking of the one from SNL...where he's El Nino....

:)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
Nash is over their whining about it being cold now!!! just imagine what he will be blogging in the winter of 2012.


anything past 12-21-2012 and it won't matter....but I'll start stocking up on polar fleece just in case....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
291. Patrap 11:22 AM PST on January 21, 2009
A three dimensional look at the El Nino of 1997/1998.

I thought you were gonna post a photo of Chris Farley....

;)



So,.. tell me why cant I get Krispy Kreme's delivered again..?"

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125551
Current El Nino Research Link

One part of our current research into the El Nino phenomenon is aimed at increasing the forecast skill of our Hybrid Coupled Model (HCM) Link of the tropical Pacific. We already use it, generally quite successfully, to make operational predictions of the tropical Pacific. But there are times when it could do a better job, and that is what we are looking into.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125551
291. Patrap 11:22 AM PST on January 21, 2009
A three dimensional look at the El Nino of 1997/1998.


I thought you were gonna post a photo of Chris Farley....

;)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
A three dimensional look at the El Nino of 1997/1998.

The El Nino of 1997/98

Pictures of how the El Nino of 1997/98 evolved Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125551
ok, so, the bouncy ball goes up, and the bouncy ball goes down, per those graphs, for atleast the past 400,000 years....

So why is everyone upset about GW?

Sorry, I don't get it....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
289. Skyepony (Mod)
If your a number junkie that sees the expanse, you realize there will be a little amount of unknown when thing are measured in passes but not through clouds & gathered history of data holes aren't gonna get filled in. So there's a + or - a tad.. all the signs point to it's changing, not just data but observed.
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Pictures of the Forecast

Updated January 5, 2009

Forecast Summary

The model is forecasting cold (La Nina) conditions for the first part of 2009 Link


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125551
286. Skyepony (Mod)
Feb 4th is the launch date of the new NOAA-N satellite. Another POES that gather..

-- Atmosphere Temperatures and Moisture Soundings
-- Sea-surface Temperatures
-- Land-surface Temperatures
-- Cloud Cover and Heights
-- Precipitable Moisture
-- Total Ozone
-- Clear Radiance
-- Incoming and Radiated Heat

Additionally, NOAA-N Prime carries an enhanced complement of microwave instruments for the generation of temperature, moisture, surface, and hydrological products in cloudy regions where visible and infrared instruments have diminished capability. NOAA-N Prime also carries search and rescue instruments that are used internationally for locating ships, aircraft, and people in distress. The use of satellites in search and rescue has been instrumental in saving more than 24,500 lives since the inception of the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system

Kat~ there ya go, your day will come with perfect data despite the clouds.

They calabrate or seperate the bad so in the end our overall #s aren't as many as they will be.

It will be interesting to see how much better the gfs & models that eat this will get.
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you're no fun....
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
that we hold off a rush to judgement on GEOENGINEERING at a minimum


does that mean no tunnels?

;)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 316 Comments: 31944
Cyclone Fanele hits west coast of Madagascar
The Associated Press
Published: January 21, 2009

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar: Officials say a cyclone has hit the west coast of Madagascar two days after another powerful storm left hundreds of people homeless on the Indian Ocean island.

Dia Styvanley Soa of the National Office for Disasters Preparedness says Cyclone Fanele made landfall at dawn Wednesday in Morondava district with rain and winds of up to 130 miles (210 kilometers) an hour.

She says authorities are still waiting for full regional damage reports.

She says a less powerful cyclone skirted Madagascar's eastern coast Monday and killed one person while leaving 27 injured and 992 homeless.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Being a PhD does not mean that you have a work ethic worth squat. Being willing to accept flawed data and cover it up with things like, 'We have software to deal with those issues.', is a dead give away that your worth ethic is less than stellar.

What we need from our PhD's is stellar...not lazy and complacent.
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279. Skyepony (Mod)
Looks like a cold spot where it should exit Madagasgar.
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278. Skyepony (Mod)
Fanele
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About JeffMasters

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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