2006: sixth warmest year on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:36 PM GMT on December 15, 2006

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The planet's high fever abated only slightly in 2006 compared to 2005, according to preliminary figures issued by the National Climatic Data Center on Thursday. Following the warmest year on record for the globe in 2005, the annual global temperature for 2006 is expected to be sixth warmest since record keeping began in 1880. The annual averaged global temperature was 0.52�C (+0.94�F) above normal, just 0.09�C below the record set in 2005. Very little of the globe was cooler than normal in 2006--only Siberia had temperatures more than 1� C cooler than average (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Temperature departures from normal for 2006, based on preliminary data from the National Climatic Data Center.

U.S. Temperatures
The 2006 annual average temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) will likely be 2�F (1.1�C) above the 20th Century mean, which would make 2006 the third warmest year on record. Only 1998 and 1934 were warmer than 2006. Three months in 2006 (January, April and July) were either the warmest or second warmest on record. Only September and October were cooler than average. A quick look at the jet stream pattern for the remainder of 2006, as forecast by the GFS model, reveals a continuation of the abnormal warmth we've seen over most of the U.S. this month. There will be very few regions of the country experiencing a white Christmas this year.

European temperatures
The Meteorlogical Office of England announced yesterday that 2006 was the warmest year in England since record keeping began in 1659. The years 1990 and 1999 shared the record, previously. The weather this Fall has been the warmest ever recorded over most of western Europe. One UK newspaper trumpeted the headline yesterday, "The hottest year since 1659 spells global doom". I don't agree that the hottest year ever in one small country is evidence that global doom is approaching. However, the statistics of what has happened globally the past 30 years speak volumes. Including 2006, six of the seven warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the ten warmest years have occurred since 1995. The global average surface temperature has risen between 0.6�C and 0.7�C (1.1 - 1.3� F) since the start of the 20th Century, and the rate of increase since 1976 has been approximately three times faster than the mean for the past 100 years. If the rate of warming since 1976 (Figure 2)--0.55�C in 30 years--is sustained the remainder of this century, the Earth will be a full 2�C warmer in 2100 than it was in 1990. This amount of warming would be tremendously costly to society and highly damaging to many ecosystems.


Figure 2. Temperature departures from normal for 1880-2006. Source: National Climatic Data Center.

The globe is undeniably warming at rapid rate, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if 2007 surpasses the global temperature record set in 2005, since we are entering 2007 with a moderate El Ni�o event on our hands. El Ni�o conditions add a tremendous amount of heat to the Earth's surface, and the current El Ni�o--which is expected to last at least until May--should drive up global temperatures significantly. Global doom is not at hand, but the predictions by our best climate scientists of a 1.4 to 5.8�C increase in global temperatures between 1990 and 2100 are quite believable and need to be taken seriously.

Next week, I plan to talk about the not-so-cheerful study published in Geophysical Research Letters this week titled, Future abrupt reductions in the summer Arctic sea ice. A sudden and complete disintegration of the North Polar ice cap could happen by 2040, according to some computer model calculations.

Jeff Masters

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247. BahaHurican
8:58 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Looking at that sat pic, things are not good for Phillipines . . .

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20733
246. LowerCal
6:30 PM PST on December 16, 2006
There is nothing about glaciation on that chart! That seems misleading to me.

One side of that chart names magnetic field reversal events and the other side shows VADM. VADM is virtual axial dipole moment - a measurement of magnetic field.

Magnetic and magnetic ... nothing about glaciation.
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245. BigBake
2:01 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
Skye

I was not inferring "flips", but in fact periods of weak magnetic fields. Also it was one of many factors I have pointed out driving the warming bus. Also I hate to break it to you but 750,000 years ago an interglacial period did occur. Right now, the earth is in an interglacial period (in between ice ages) that began about 11,000 years ago, and as expected, this is also a time when the estimated solar activity appears to be high.
At least twelve magnetic reversals can be linked to glaciation during the last three million years alone.
A magnetic reversal about three million years ago marked the onset of glaciation. A magnetic reversal about two million years ago marked the onset of glaciation. And yet another reversal about one million years ago (780,000 years ago) marked the onset of glaciation.
The Jaramillo magnetic reversal marked the onset of glaciation, as did the Brunhes magnetic reversal.
The Biwa I, Biwa II, Biwa III, and Blake (at the end Eemian) magnetic reversals coincided with glaciation, and so did the Lake Mungo, Mono Lake, and Gothenburg magnetic reversals (or excursions).


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/9f/Brunhes_geomagnetism_western_US.png/482px-Brunhes_geomagnetism_western_US.png

Might want to do some more research there SKYE!
244. hurricane23
8:52 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Pottery i hope there wrong too...But overall conditions in front of this TD are actually quite favorable and possible strengthing seems likely.Overall symmetry has become much better over the past couple of hours with improved banding features and deep convection now developing near the LLC.

Here is an Infrared view from NRL...


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243. pottery
9:43 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Good night all. I'm out............
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
242. pottery
9:36 PM AST on December 16, 2006
23 I just hope the models are wrong. Those people dont need another storm..........
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241. hurricane23
8:35 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Winds are currently at 20kts with 96W...


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240. pottery
9:33 PM AST on December 16, 2006
CORRECTION>>>>>>23 % are under 18 !!!!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
239. HurryKaneKata
1:30 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
is there any info I can find about possible snowfall on December 25 in Iowa?
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238. pottery
9:28 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Ok, i see where you are coming from, and share that sentiment. The poulation here has doubled in 50 yrs, and 23 % are under 25.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
237. hurricane23
8:28 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Movement with 96W is mostly westward at a pretty good clip.

IR LOOP OF 96W
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236. bappit
1:27 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
But, yeah, global warming is a real issue, and if we can start to deal with that then maybe we can get onto the really hard problems, too.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
235. bappit
1:25 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
I get depressed watching all the suburbs going up around me, and my county is growing only the third fastest in Texas.

I get depressed thinking the U.S. has 300 million people and I remember when we reached 200 million.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
234. pottery
9:22 PM AST on December 16, 2006
OK , I will......
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
233. bappit
1:20 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
See Thomas Malthus.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
232. pottery
9:13 PM AST on December 16, 2006
.......debate over global warming is academic etc. You have to explain that to me please.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
231. ryang
9:13 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Bye all.Party at my blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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230. Patrap
7:12 PM CST on December 16, 2006
Dallas VS Falcons on...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125613
229. bappit
1:02 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
People who resent authority figures will reject global warming.

Other people reject global warming because they are in control and want business as usual to continue because--well, obviously--life's been good for them.

Those two camps make strange bedfellows.

Others, I think Crichton is one, just see an opportunity to make money. The owners of this web site could potentially fall in this category, but I see no real issue there. Just so it is duly noted.

My own disclaimer: I resent authority figures and go the route that there are so many people that the debate over global warming is academic in the long run.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
228. Patrap
7:11 PM CST on December 16, 2006
well put indeed.a good read
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125613
227. pottery
9:10 PM AST on December 16, 2006
.....so sorry, Bappit.
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226. pottery
9:08 PM AST on December 16, 2006
..well put, Babbit.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
225. Frozencanuck
1:03 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
thank you all but its been rather pleasant here in Southern Ontario. The temps have been very reasonable with highs between 40 and 50F with bouts of rain every now and then. That is thanks to our wonderful friends down in the Gulf region. The cold and snow seems to be centered in the Western provinces and States. I really feel bad for those poor folks in Washington state and hopefully it will be the last for awhile.
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224. ryang
9:02 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Yeah BRRR.
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223. bappit
12:55 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
Beaucoup good article Patrap. I emailed it to a Michael Crichton State of Fear fan I know. Of course, he likes that book just because it tries to justify contradicting the experts.

Interesting how the glacier article tackles Crichton. Ironically, the machinery that Crichton asserts is being used to create a state of fear is being used to obfuscate the global warming issue. This reminds me of a spy novel where you don't know who is really on what side of an issue or what the issue (agenda) really is.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
222. pottery
8:59 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Canada.bbrrrrrr. Shivers. Do well my friend. Good luck to you
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
221. Skyepony (Mod)
12:57 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
The earth's magnetic field flips every 5,ooo to 50,ooo,ooo years. Average every 250,000 years but with no real cycle on a time scale. It hasn't flipped in 750,000 years, so naturally some say we are overdue & with the weaking of the field & recent roaming of the Magnetic North Pole as well as some satalite info ( grace mostly) it looks like we could be in for one, could be a few centuries. NOVA did a decent show on it not long ago.

The sun on the other hand flips every 11 years like clockwork. It flips at solar sunspot maximum of each sunspot cycle. Last flipped in 2001, the last maximum, the next maximum is 2012. We are pretty much in the minimun of the sun cycle right now.

credit NASA

Back to earth, since it hasn't flipped here in 750,000 years it is imposible to tie it to the glacier cycle, as Big bake was trying to do. & Notice there Bigbake how well the temps follow the amount of CO2. & notice on the very right in now time where CO2 is compared to times past.
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220. ryang
8:56 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Right now i am in st.lucia.I am going to canada to study.
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219. pottery
8:54 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Ryang, I gather you are leaving. Where are you going ?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
218. ryang
8:53 PM AST on December 16, 2006
WHATS UP!!!!!!!!!!!
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217. ryang
8:52 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Hi Pottery.
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216. pottery
8:49 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Ryang, hi....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
215. ryang
8:46 PM AST on December 16, 2006
I know 23.
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214. hurricane23
7:45 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Its been extremely active for those folks with typhoon after typhoon threating the area.

Right now 96W is steadly becoming better organized with improving banding features and with low windshear ahead this system should continue to become better organized.Models right now take 96W on a path that would once again threaten the Philippines.

LARGE VISIBLE LOOP OF 96W
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213. bappit
12:25 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
This is the Wikipedia entry on Mars' magnetosphere:

Evidence indicates that in Mars' distant past, it may have had a strong enough magnetosphere to deflect the solar wind coming from the Sun. However, about 4 billion years ago Mars' planetary dynamo ceased, leaving only remnants of the planetary magnetic field to be frozen into magnetically susceptible minerals. Over time, most of this material was reprocessed through various geological events leaving only sections of the ancient southern highlands with remnant magnetic fields. Because of this, the solar wind interacts directly with the Martian ionosphere and thus the Martian atmosphere has been slowly stripped off into space, although the exact amount lost remains uncertain. Both Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express have detected ionised atmospheric particles trailing off into space behind Mars.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
212. BahaHurican
7:27 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Here's what JMA has to say about the TD headed towards the Philippines:

Tropical Depression
Issued at 21:00 UTC 16 Dec 2006RSMC TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY
NAME TD

ANALYSIS
PSTN 162100UTC 09.5N 142.9E POOR
MOVE W 16KT
PRES 1006HPA
MXWD 030KT

FORECAST
24HF 172100UTC 10.7N 138.8E 150NM 70%
MOVE W 10KT
PRES 1000HPA
MXWD 035KT
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20733
211. pottery
8:07 PM AST on December 16, 2006
Patrap , thanks for the link to tropical glacier research. Good one........
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
210. bappit
12:17 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
Man, Patrap, that was a crazy day. You couldn't get to NO for a while and they had two feet of snow in Victoria, Texas.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
209. bappit
12:17 AM GMT on December 17, 2006
Did someone say the fission reactions that heat the earth's core which allows the earth's rotation to generate the magnetic field is weakening? Ouch! That's what happened to Mars!

Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5561
208. Patrap
5:55 PM CST on December 16, 2006
Thanks canuck..I had a white xmas in New Orleans in 04.Dec25th
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125613
207. Frozencanuck
11:43 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
Patrap love your graphics....Read this morning that anyone east of Alberta could end up with a green Christmas. Pray tell me this is not true. Don't mind it for a couple of days...
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206. Skyepony (Mod)
11:31 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
BigBake~ your graph would say more to me if it didn't end more than 20 years ago. The 10 warmest years have been in the last 11 years & rapid warming didn't really start til the last 9 years before your graph ends. What little of your graph that does show those 9 years the temp line is steeper then the sunspot line.
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205. BigBake
11:35 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
Captain

First: That graph came from NOAA.

Second:
The Earth's magnetic field provides protection from the intense Solar radiation. The gradual reduction in the intensity of the Earth's magnetic field results in an increase in the level of harmful radiation at the oceans surface and thus reducing bio-mass of oceans' surface plankton trough a process of sterilisation by irradiation. Result of this is reduced uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Increased solar output increases SSTs as represented in the previuos graph. We know warmer oceans absorb less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So a warmer Earth has more of the so-called greenhouse gases. The oceans are the largest CO2 sink, they represent nearly 80% of the absorbtion of CO2.
204. LowerCal
2:58 PM PST on December 16, 2006
The slow pace and sharp left turn at the end do not bode well for rainfall totals.
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202. captainktainer
5:12 PM EST on December 16, 2006
Odd on how that lines up perfectly with that global temperature map. Significant drop in magnetic field from 1980 to current and significant increase in average temperatures from 1980 to current. Lets put one more thing into perspective.........

First: Where did you get that graph?

Second, the magnetic field and global warming have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Nothing at all. They can't: the earth's magnetic field is driven by internal forces unconnected to the carbon cycle or the heat cycle, while global warming has only two components: external radiation and greenhouse gases.

Virtually all of the world's climatologists agree: the vast majority of global climate change is now anthropogenic, and hand-waving about sunspots does not change the fact that CO2 levels are at their highest and that the change that has been observed agrees with the models that place blame on humans.
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201. snowboy
9:53 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
ZRR, I can't believe that post of yours. Just look at the first image Dr. Masters posted - that is the deviation from normal of temperatures PLANETWIDE in 2006. Not seeing a lot of blue areas on there, are you? It has been like that year after year since the mid-1990s. I will eat my shorts when your period of cooling comes, just send me an e-mail. In the meantime I'll continue to put my trust in all of the world's pre-eminent atmospheric scientists, who are all predicting warming..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
200. Patrap
9:44 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
The topic is lenghty to say the least.I enjoy discussing the Ice alone.Cause we losing so much reflectivity,..the process could go critical..much sooner than the masses know.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125613
199. Patrap
9:41 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
The trends are disturbing.Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125613
198. BigBake
9:27 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
Satellite measurements show the Earth's magnetic field is weakening quite rapidly. Using the International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) data set, the magnetic field at the equator in open ocean has declined 1.7 percent in intensity since 1980, a decline from 34,824 to 34,246 nanoTesla (nT). In contrast, the entire decline over the period from 1900 to 1980 was 2.8 percent. The dramatic decline in Earths magnetic field strength has led many to believe that the Earth may soon encounter a magnetic pole reversal.

Odd on how that lines up perfectly with that global temperature map. Significant drop in magnetic field from 1980 to current and significant increase in average temperatures from 1980 to current. Lets put one more thing into perspective.........


http://www.research.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/images/sunclimate_3b.gif

Odd once again that those two components line up........Hmmmmm guess we will need tunnels in space to send the solar output away from us............
197. Patrap
8:48 PM GMT on December 16, 2006
6
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125613

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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.