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 CaneWarning:


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


You're right. Almost forgot about that...
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Quoting tornadodude:


hey there,

how you doing?

Hey, Im good. Just got back from school and about to leave for work.
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Quoting presslord:
Pcola...that billboard is priceless


Now waiting for Orca to pop in. LOL
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415. why are you labeling me a "separatist"? LOL...despite rumor, i do NOT resemble a character out of The Phantom Menace! :)
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Quoting atmoaggie:

No. It IS 850mb temps and the blue line is that stretches from Brownsville to Cape Hattaras.

If that verified, I would expect some more snow for nearly all of the TX coast and parts of LA. And a lot of wind given the depth of the low in the gulf and the strength of the high in the upper plains.


You all enjoy that! I just hope we stay warm here.
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Quoting trinigal:


If you're interested in limes, we can talk the social scene in Trinidad.


Do I really want to know about this? ;)

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Quoting alaina1085:

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


hey there,

how you doing?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting StormChaser81:


I lived in Florida my whole life, your not looking hard enough, Floridians can be found in cool places usually under a tree or in the woods, if your really lucky you might find artifacts which might include Off spray, sun screen and bottle of some kind of alcohol.


LOL!
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Pcola...that billboard is priceless
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Quoting CaneWarning:


Is that freezing line south of Tampa??? OMG it's going to snow here! LOL

No. It IS 850mb temps and the blue line is that stretches from Brownsville to Cape Hattaras.

If that verified, I would expect some more snow for nearly all of the TX coast and parts of LA. And a lot of wind given the depth of the low in the gulf and the strength of the high in the upper plains.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting hurricanejunky:


Yes, us native Floridians (AKA crackers) are becoming rare. It's funny how many people here ask me where I'm from and I tell them Florida and they act so surprised.


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


Actually, Cane, I am not as nice as some people think. I am not exactly a franco-phile. Sometimes I deliberately pretend not to speak French which drives them crazy. They are very protective of their language. I like to play with peoples heads sometimes; breaks the monotony.


LOL! You cruel man!
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Hmmm. Wow.



Freezing line? Meet copious amounts of precip.

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


Some scientists went to places where the glaciers had retreated and found traces of plant life (including tree stumps.)

Link:

http://www.livescience.com/environment/071030-tree-stumps.html

So the glaciers retreat is not "unprecedented".
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I think the EPA should include dihydrogen monoxide as a pollutant. If breathed it can lead to death.
Shoot me later
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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...
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Quoting trinigal:


Just moved to Florida and have only met two people who were born here. Seems like most people I meet are from the Caribbean, California or the Northeast.


Yes, us native Floridians (AKA crackers) are becoming rare. It's funny how many people here ask me where I'm from and I tell them Florida and they act so surprised.
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Just Stick with the weather, we all know how unpredictable it can be at times. You cannot prove a single thing as an absolute fact about climate change. I can tell you the climate is much different than it was here last summer and know that is a fact, even though we had a cooler than normal summer this year where I live. 50265.
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Quoting Drakoen:


No that's the 10C line.


Thank goodness I read that wrong.
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You'd need a massive 1050-1060 ridge
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting presslord:
Canada's always a pretty easy target...




Bob and Doug McKenzie
img src="" alt="" />
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


I'm with you. Canada is appealing too but again, the cold. I am a native Floridian. There is NO way I'd be able to live in Canada.
Just wait about 30 years. It'll warm up!


Plus Florida will be submerged. We'll have to go somewhere!
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Freezing line cant go that far south with a high pressure ridge of only 1038MB
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting PcolaDan:
What other country can we talk about? :)



I'm married to an Irish-American, poster boy for "I survived Catholic School" (barely).
But that would require a LONG book...scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll...NRAamy screaming...not worth it if I don't get paid.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting CaneWarning:


Is that freezing line south of Tampa??? OMG it's going to snow here! LOL


No that's the 10C line.
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Quoting presslord:
Canada's always a pretty easy target...
n I say we pick one on the other side of the flat
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Quoting CaneWarning:


If you look at it, the quality of life in America is actually far behind that of several countries in Europe. I'd move to Switzerland in a heartbeat if it wasn't so darn cold!


I'm with you. Canada is appealing too but again, the cold. I am a native Floridian. There is NO way I'd be able to live in Canada.
Just wait about 30 years. It'll warm up!
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Quoting CaneWarning:


I'm a native Floridian. I'm a rarity.


Hehe. I get my chops busted when I say that is a rarity...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting atmoaggie:
Hmmm. Wow.



Freezing line? Meet copious amounts of precip.


Is that freezing line south of Tampa??? OMG it's going to snow here! LOL
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
LMAO @ 332!


Addictive, isn't it?
But then, we both love "A Christmas Story" and "Tommy Boy"...I never thought I'd have so much in common with a separatist Aggie.

Gosh does that make us elitist, part of the bourgoisie, bourgeosie...I give up...or "bottom feeders"?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 32 Comments: 1918
Quoting trinigal:


Just moved to Florida and have only met two people who were born here. Seems like most people I meet are from the Caribbean, California or the Northeast.


I lived in Florida my whole life, your not looking hard enough, Floridians can be found in cool places usually under a tree or in the woods, if your really lucky you might find artifacts which might include Off spray, sun screen and bottle of some kind of alcohol.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
What other country can we talk about? :)



If you're interested in limes, we can talk the social scene in Trinidad.
Member Since: August 31, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 171
Quoting Grothar:


Actually, Cane, I am not as nice as some people think. I am not exactly a franco-phile. Sometimes I deliberately pretend not to speak French which drives them crazy. They are very protective of their language. I like to play with peoples heads sometimes; breaks the monotony.


I don't think you are nice.
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Hmmm. Wow.



Freezing line? Meet copious amounts of precip.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
"Natural years-long or deacades-long atmospheric patterns such as El Niño/La Niña, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, etc, have large impacts on the global temperature that can temporarily mask the long-term warming from CO2. In particular, we had La Niña conditions during much of 2007, 2008, and 2009 that cooled global surface temperatures, plus we've been at solar minimum the past few years."

So it's POSSIBLE, then, that these long-term, natural cycles may have been responsible for a portion of the earth's warming?

When you consider that GISS only shows about a .6 to .8 degree rise above "normal" (using a 30-year old averaging period), how much of this warming can be attributed to the natural cycles?
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Quoting trinigal:


Just moved to Florida and have only met two people who were born here. Seems like most people I meet are from the Caribbean, California or the Northeast.


I'm a native Floridian. I'm a rarity.
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
395. fair enough. i misunderstood the post. i apologize.


No problem.
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we tried the secession thing here...didn't work out so well...
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Quoting CaneWarning:


I've been to France many times, and I must say, that most people there are pleasant. Sure, I did run into a few who said "Speak French or leave" but then again, I'm sure there are a few Americans who would tell them to speak English or leave when they visit us here.


Actually, Cane, I am not as nice as some people think. I am not exactly a franco-phile. Sometimes I deliberately pretend not to speak French which drives them crazy. They are very protective of their language. I like to play with peoples heads sometimes; breaks the monotony.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26558
Quoting CaneWarning:


Thanks goodness for that. lol


Just moved to Florida and have only met two people who were born here. Seems like most people I meet are from the Caribbean, California or the Northeast.
Member Since: August 31, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 171
Quoting CaneWarning:


Thanks goodness for that. lol


No doubt. Texas and Alaska are the two talking of secession. Hmmmm...the new south?
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402. the use of the word "target" cracks me up! LOL
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Canada's always a pretty easy target...
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What other country can we talk about? :)

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Quoting hurricanejunky:


Oh come now. I meant for better or worse as far as the state of our country. This country has its moments, you must admit. We certainly don't conduct ourselves like we should alot of the time. I wasn't inferring that we shouldn't be here. BTW, there are actually other countries in the world that are suitable for living and raising children and the citizens of many of those countries are in fact happy. Good Lord, the word twisting continues...settle down terminator.


If you look at it, the quality of life in America is actually far behind that of several countries in Europe. I'd move to Switzerland in a heartbeat if it wasn't so darn cold!
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Quoting atmoaggie:

If it starts to rain chickens, you are welcome outlaw whatever you think might be causing that.


Would it involve you and a B-52?
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395. fair enough. i misunderstood the post. i apologize.
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Loboman and MercedesBenzCarLegs gettin' with it in Weather Chat! LOL
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Quoting pearlandaggie:


i'm sorry...i've tried to keep my mouth shut on this, but i can't believe that an American would possibly consider the world worse for our existence. i can think of no other place i'd rather live and raise my family.


Oh come now. I meant for better or worse as far as the state of our country. This country has its moments, you must admit. We certainly don't conduct ourselves like we should alot of the time. I wasn't inferring that we shouldn't be here. BTW, there are actually other countries in the world that are suitable for living and raising children and the citizens of many of those countries are in fact happy. Good Lord, the word twisting continues...settle down terminator.
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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.