2000s: hottest decade on record; dangerous blizzard pounds Midwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:33 PM GMT on December 09, 2009

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The end of the decade is upon us, and this decade was the warmest decade on record, according to NOAA and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The decade of the 2000s was 0.17°C (0.31°F) warmer than the 1990s, according to NOAA. The "official" scientific assessments on climate change, the IPCC reports, have been predicting that Earth's temperature rise should average about 0.19°C per decade, due to human-caused global warming. Thus, the warming over the past decade is about 10% below predictions--well within the uncertainties that natural variation in the climate can bring. Of course, one can look at shorter time periods and say that no warming is occurring. The hottest year on record globally was 1998, according to the UK's HadCRUT3 data set, and was 2005, according to the data sets maintained by NASA and NOAA. It is apparent from the plot of global temperature anomalies (Figure 1) that the global temperature rise has flattened out since 2005. One can correctly say that global temperatures have not increased since 2005. However, climate is measured on time scales of decades, so it is incorrect to say that the climate has not warmed since 2005. It is meaningless to any statement about climate on any time scale less than ten years. Thirty years is better, since the atmosphere has natural multi-decadal oscillations, and the solar cycle of 11 years is also important. Global average temperature oscillates 0.1°C between the maximum and minimum of the solar cycle, and we are currently in an unusually long minimum.


Figure 1. Change in global surface temperature anomaly as computed by NOAA (NCDC Dataset), NASA (GISS data set) and combined Hadley Center and Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (UK) (HadCRUT3 data set). Uncertainty in the HadCRUT3 data is shown in gray. Image credit: WMO.

Mass front-page climate change editorial published in 45 countries
An unprecedented joint editorial urging action on climate change appeared in 56 newspapers in 45 countries yesterday. Many of the papers carried the editorial on the front page. The editorial began: "Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted.". According to Editor & Publisher, the editorial was published in 20 languages including Chinese, Arabic and Russian. The text was drafted by the UK newspaper, The Guardian, in conjunction with editors from more than 20 of the papers involved. A number of U.S. papers supported the project and agreed with everything in the editorial, but only one--the Miami Herald--was brave enough to publish it.

Posts on the hacked climate scientists' emails
If you haven't read my posts on the hacked email affair, my attitude on the matter can best be summed up by a highly amusing political cartoon by Houston Chronicle cartoonist Nick Anderson. While an investigation is needed into whether the scientific data involved was properly withheld from other scientists, there is nothing in the hacked emails that affects the validity of any of the published peer-reviewed science on climate change. "Climategate" is a manufactured scandal designed to take attention away from the scientific consensus that human-caused global warming is responsible for most of the observed warming in recent decades, and that this warming will increase dramatically in coming decades. My posts on the affair:

Don't shoot the messenger
Embattled UK climate scientist steps down
The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy
Is more CO2 beneficial for Earth's ecosystems?

Ricky Rood in Copenhagen
Our Climate Change expert, Dr. Ricky Rood, is in Copenhagen for the COP15 climate change summit. Check out his blog over the next two weeks to hear an insider's view of what's going on.

Major winter storm blasts the Plains and Western U.S.
It's a bad day to be in Iowa, unless you happen to be a polar bear. I'll back up that startling claim with some hard data: at 4:35 am CST, Carroll, Iowa reported heavy snow, sustained winds of 38 mph, gusting to 48, visibility 350 yards, a temperature of 9°F, and a windchill of -17°F. The mighty storm responsible was centered over Lake Michigan this morning, and is bringing blizzard conditions to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Michigan. The storm has brought very high winds to large portion of the country. Sustained winds of 53 mph, gusting to 77 mph were reported in Ruidiso, New Mexico yesterday afternoon, and hurricane-force wind gusts were reported in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas yesterday. A peak gust of 105 mph was reported in Texas' Guadeloupe Mountains. Heavy rain from the storm has also brought localized flooding to California, Arizona, and Louisiana.

Some snow amounts from the storm so far (with distances in miles from the city included, where appropriate):

...ARIZONA...
FLAGSTAFF 7.8 SSW 30.4
JACOB LAKE 24.0
WILLIAMS 0.4 SW 20.0
GRAND CANYON SOUTH RIM 18.0

...CALIFORNIA...
KIRKWOOD SKI AREA 48.0
ALPINE MEADOWS 45.0
SODA SPRINGS 40.0
KINGVALE 1.3 WSW 37.0
NORTHSTAR 36.0
CISCO 5 ENE 35.0
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE 8 SSW 31.0
MAMMOTH LAKES 14.0

...COLORADO...
PAGOSA SPRINGS 9.1 NNW 33.0
CARBONDALE 8.2 S 24.8
CRESTED BUTTE 6.2 N 24.5
DURANGO 24.0
BAYFIELD 7 N 23.5
DOLORES 22 NE 23.0
GREELEY 2.3 SE 22.0
PAGOSA SPRINGS 3 SE 22.0

...IDAHO...
WESTON 4.0
POCATELLO AIRPORT 3.7
BOISE 6.7 SE 3.5

...KANSAS...
MARYSVILLE 14.0
LINCOLN 5 NE 12.0
CONCORDIA 5 SSE 11.0
HAYS 13 WNW 9.0
SALINA 8.0
ABILENE 5 SSW 7.0
MANHATTAN 7.0

...NEBRASKA...
TECUMSEH 13.5
ORD 12.0
OMAHA 3 N 8.6
KEARNEY 8.0
INDIANOLA 6.0

...NEW MEXICO...
LAS VEGAS 8.4 NW 8.0
SANTA FE 3.3 NE 5.5
TAOS PUEBLO 2.8 NW 5.2
GALLUP 8.1 NNW 4.8

...NEVADA...
HEAVENLY VALLEY 34.0
MT ROSE SKI AREA 23.0
CARSON CITY 1.3 NW 18.0
RENO 7.1 N 13.7
SUN VALLEY 0.9 N 10.5

...SOUTH DAKOTA...
SIOUX FALLS 6.0

...UTAH...
VERDUE 8 WNW 25.0
SPRINGDELL 23.0
ORDERVILLE 19.0
SPRINGVILLE 10.0

...WYOMING...
SAND LAKE 11.0
DIVIDE PEAK 9.0
LARAMIE 27.3 WSW 6.0
CHEYENNE 26.7 NE 4.3

Next post
I'll have a new post Thursday; there's a lot going on.

Jeff Masters

Snow in Angels Camp. (Isolino)
Woke up this morning to snow. We don't get snow in Angels Camp very often. It made for some difficult driving.
Snow in Angels Camp.
Frost (thebige)
More frost on our car. This photo wasn't cropped or edited.
Frost

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Quoting hurricanejunky:


LOL! That's a good one! For now I'm getting onboard selling the new Ping golf clubs. "You can beat Tiger with these" is the marketing slogan. People are flocking to buy them.
The way I heard it was "Ping Golf clubs are so incredible that the woman are beating Tiger with them"!
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Actually a 1032 mb high did just fine as a source for cold air in the great southern snowstorm of Feb 1973:

Link (check weather maps on Feb 10th)


MSLP:


500mb geopotential heights:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormChaser81:


or it would be one hec of a ride.


Yeah, the guy who wanted me to go is into speed sailing
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
492. N3EG
Quoting Grothar:


Where do you think we came from the Bahamas??? Greenland was not green when the first Viking settlers landed. There was a warming period where part of the south coast had minimul trees and grazing land. The rest was still 85% glacier. They named it Greenland so others would colonize and follow. Please go back and read what you can on Greenland before making such a statement. Vikings couldn't adapt to the cold! What a statement! You want to come to visit my family in Northern Norway. Indeed!!!

I have a friend named Erik who sleeps with his windows open in the winter. His story is that the Vikings left Iceland because it was too hot.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:


I am glad you did not! With winds like that, you'd be swimming back to shore!!


yeah! Instead I stayed in my dorm most of the day and Skyped with my friend Heidi form Switzerland and enjoyed a very fun day on the blog (:
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting Bordonaro:


I am glad you did not! With winds like that, you'd be swimming back to shore!!


or it would be one hec of a ride.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting tornadodude:
Oh btw, I did not go sailing in case anyone was wondering :P

Reports for me from the storm:

Snow: 1/2 inch
wind: peak, 54mph
Pressure: minimum, 982mb, 28.97in
Temp: max, 46 at 1 a.m. today, minimum, 20, now


I am glad you did not! With winds like that, you'd be swimming back to shore!!
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting hurricanejunky:


LOL! That's a good one! For now I'm getting onboard selling the new Ping golf clubs. "You can beat Tiger with these" is the marketing slogan. People are flocking to buy them.
And you can beat a suburban with them too!
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Oh btw, I did not go sailing in case anyone was wondering :P

Reports for me from the storm:

Snow: 1/2 inch
wind: peak, 54mph
Pressure: minimum, 982mb, 28.97in
Temp: max, 46 at 1 a.m. today, minimum, 20, now
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting HurricaneNewbie:
67 here in Atlanta. Forecast is 31 in the morning. YIKES


Which brings up a point that always confuses me. How come one day you can be standing outside and just "feel" the heat coming from the sun, and the next day went the temp drops 30 or so degrees, the heat from the sun seems to have gone. Now I understand that the temperature affecting me has changed (duh) but not why I no longer need to get out of the sun to avoid the heat.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:

I like this one for T-advection with the barbs included: http://twister.sbs.ohio-state.edu/surface/tadvection.gif
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting CaneWarning:

Did you see he was changing his name to Cheetah Woods?


LOL! I have the feeling poor ol' Tiger will be the butt of many jokes for years to come.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Quoting eyesontheweather:
Or plan "B" would be to sell flyers showing where "Tiger" used to live


LOL! That's a good one! For now I'm getting onboard selling the new Ping golf clubs. "You can beat Tiger with these" is the marketing slogan. People are flocking to buy them.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
work calls...BBL
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Quoting tornadodude:


21 here right now, windchill 4. supposed to be 10 tonight, windchill down to -10 :)


Yum, time to get the barrel fire going and the brew flowing.
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
Quoting HurricaneNewbie:
67 here in Atlanta. Forecast is 31 in the morning. YIKES


21 here right now, windchill 4. supposed to be 10 tonight, windchill down to -10 :)
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting CaneWarning:


Now wait a second, I have a flight into NC for that weekend... Should I cancel my plans?

I will be driving to Dallas on that Friday...I dunno about changing any plans based on 9 days out. We'll see.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting vcastle61:
Thank you for saying the warmest "recorded"; many news sites are saying the warmest "ever", which we know to be incorrect. What, about 1700 years ago the average temperature was 10 degrees F warmer, Greenland was green, and the Vikings were colonizing it. Interestingly, the Inuit told the Vikings that the cold would return, but the Vikings did not learn how to live in the cold, and now there are just the Inuit...

Sorry...I just get so tired of everyone acting like this is the hottest it has ever been...


I just had to answer this one. Being a Viking you are going to say my ancestors never learned to live in the cold!!! Where do you think we came from the Bahamas??? Greenland was not green when the first Viking settlers landed. There was a warming period where part of the south coast had minimul trees and grazing land. The rest was still 85% glacier. They named it Greenland so others would colonize and follow. Please go back and read what you can on Greenland before making such a statement. Besides, the people who met the early Vikings were called the Dorset. Inuit refers to the indigenous people of the Arctic and roughly means "the people"; a term to which many native peoples in primitive cultures refer to themselves. The Thule culture replaced the Dorset and the remaining indigenous peoples are the descendents of that culture. Vikings couldn't adapt to the cold! What a statement! You want to come to visit my family in Northern Norway. Indeed!!!
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26558
Quoting pearlandaggie:
469. no, i was actually pretty good at dodgeball! i had a strong arm :)

i know you were just kidding :)

Well I still was horrible! LOL. I was so small. I could dodge good but couldnt throw!
ok BYE!!
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
455. that's not true...there are many stars in that movie including Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Yoda!

Wise-guy -- you speak w/tongue deep in cheek.
Okay, I've got Netflix...price is right.

BBL. Really, this time. Another day gone; at least you all keep me out of the manufactured American mass-consumption & emotional acquisition of consumer-goods industry conspiracy!
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Quoting eyesontheweather:
Or plan be would be to sell flyers showing where "Tiger" used to live

Did you see he was changing his name to Cheetah Woods?
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
469. no, i was actually pretty good at dodgeball! i had a strong arm :) i never said i was the fat, OUT kid! LOL

i know you were just kidding :)
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Quoting pearlandaggie:


not funny...i WAS the fat kid in dodgeball! LOL

Then why you laughing! hehe. It was just a jk, all in good fun. I sucked at dodgeball too, lol.
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468. xcool
atmoaggie gfs keeping show snow .
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


LOL! So true. Maybe someday we can make money off of our celebrity native Floridian status. I won't hold my breath though.
Or plan "B" would be to sell flyers showing where "Tiger" used to live
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
67 here in Atlanta. Forecast is 31 in the morning. YIKES
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Quoting alaina1085:
K guys im out like a fat kid in dodgeball. Be nice to each other!


not funny...i WAS the fat kid in dodgeball! LOL
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K guys im out like a fat kid in dodgeball. Be nice to each other!
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Quoting CaneWarning:


Yeah, people are always like, well where are you from before you moved to Florida?


LOL! So true. Maybe someday we can make money off of our celebrity native Floridian status. I won't hold my breath though.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
455. that's not true...there are many stars in that movie including Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Yoda!

(yes, i know that wasn't the intent of your post! LOL)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I screwed that up so bad, I'll post it again.

Quoting alaina1085:

Ughhh WOW!
"Im dreaming of a white Christmas!"

That is valid for Sat, Dec 19, 6 pm CDT.

OOPS! Fri, Dec 18, 6pm CST.

*smack - forehead meet palm*
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting alaina1085:

You crampin my style :p
Nah I just remember Xcool posting a GFS run yesterday that had us having snow on Christmas eve. Guess I shoulda checked the date! DUR...

I want my OWN snow anyway! lol jk.


I'm sure I will have plenty to share before too long haha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting atmoaggie:

That is valid for Sat, Dec 19, 6 pm CDT.

You crampin my style :p
Nah I just remember Xcool posting a GFS run yesterday that had us having snow on Christmas eve. Guess I shoulda checked the date! DUR...
Quoting tornadodude:


oh fun, I have some snow here, not too willing to share :P




I want my OWN snow anyway! lol jk.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

That is valid for Sat, Dec 19, 6 pm CDT.


Now wait a second, I have a flight into NC for that weekend... Should I cancel my plans?
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting presslord:
junky...also...in 30 years you'll have it to yourself...cause they're all moving here...Canada's biggest export seems to be Canadians...


Great...less population density is always a good thing!
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Quoting pearlandaggie:
415. why are you labeling me a "separatist"? LOL...despite rumor, i do NOT resemble a character out of The Phantom Menace! :)

DANG, I haven't seen that one! Should I? I mean, there's 1-star movies, and then there's ONE-STAR movies!!
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Quoting xcool:


Wow. Again.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting CaneWarning:


I don't think you are nice.


LOL! Thanks.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26558
450. xcool



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Quoting PcolaDan:


Do I really want to know about this? ;)


OHHHHH, then you haven't seen 332(c).
I've been pushing it on people all day.
I've obviously got a problem, & I'm blaming it on CC/AGW -- ALL sides.
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Quoting alaina1085:

Hey, Im good. Just got back from school and about to leave for work.


oh fun, I have some snow here, not too willing to share :P



Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting alaina1085:

Ughhh WOW!
"Im dreaming of a white Christmas!"

That is valid for Sat, Dec 19, 6 pm CDT.

OOPS! Fri, Dec 18, 6pm CST.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Certainly looks like a white Christmas for the Carolina's N.&S., maybe Georgia.IMO
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Quoting CaneWarning:


Plus Florida will be submerged. We'll have to go somewhere!


You're right. Almost forgot about that...
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899

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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.