2007: Fifth warmest year on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:47 PM GMT on January 17, 2008

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The data is in, and 2007 finished as the 5th warmest year on record for the globe, according to figures released by the National Climatic Data Center. For land areas only, 2007 ranked as the warmest year on record. For the oceans, 2007 was the ninth warmest year on record. La Niña continued to strengthen at the end of the year, creating ocean surface temperatures in large areas of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific more than -3°F (-1.7°C) below average. The rapid decay of the El Niño event that rang in 2007 and subsequent development of a moderate La Niña event caused the failure of the forecast issued by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office on January 4 of 2007, predicting a a 60% chance that 2007 would be the warmest year on record. The forecasters cited the combined influence of the continuing global warming trend, and the presence of a moderate El Niño event.

Figure 1. Global temperatures (land plus ocean) for 1880-2007. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

The warmest years on record globally were 2005 and 1998, when the global average temperatures were 1.08°F and 1.04°F higher than the long-term average of 57°F. The 2007 temperature was .99°F above average. Seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001, part of a rise in temperatures of more than 1°F (0.6°C) since 1900. Within the past three decades, the rate of warming in global temperatures has been approximately three times greater than the century scale trend. All ten of the top ten warmest years for the globe have occurred since 1995. The global temperature record goes back to 1880.

Tenth warmest year on record for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., 2007 was the tenth warmest year on record. U.S. weather records go back to 1895. Six of the 10 warmest years on record for the contiguous U.S. have occurred since 1998, part of a three decade period in which mean temperatures for the contiguous U.S. have risen at a rate near 0.6°F per decade.

Figure 2. U.S. temperatures for 1895-2007. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Arctic sea ice remains near record low levels
December 2007 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the second lowest on record for the month of December, 13% below its extent in 1979 when satellite measurements began, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. December was the second straight month that a new monthly minimum Arctic sea ice record was not set, following a string of five months in a row where monthly records were set. However, the December 2007 sea ice extent was very close to the record low extent set in 2006, and the ice is much thinner than it was in 2006. This will likely cause a very early melting season and a probable return to record lows by April.

Jeff Masters

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10:05 PM EST on January 18, 2008
... Record daily maximum rainfall set at Melbourne... [FL]

A record rainfall of 0.66 inches fell on Melbourne yesterday. This
deluge breaks the old record of 0.29 set in 1955.

Vapor is looping

More rain appears to be coming. Nat'l Radar loop (Big)
Maybe some lightning too.

75. MichaelSTL
I hope that apparent pattern doesn't bear out for your area this year. ENSO affects number, size, & distribution of tornadoes. (Just an opinion;)
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
81. Skyepony (Mod)
3:11 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
Funa wind field
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80. Skyepony (Mod)
2:53 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
Michael~ By that graph the worst year (2004) was a warm neutral that spent the 2nd 1/2 in a El Nio. Had more storms hitting land than would expect for that year for the same reason. Saying there was a corilation '99 & '96 would make good years to compare to our up coming season. The recent trend to tornados toward the north & in Canada with such an early start does seem to bode bad. These lows trying in the gulf, with the shear aloft set up we keep seeing begs bad storms.
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78. atmoaggie
2:53 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
76. quasigeostropic 2:42 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
The impacts of manmade gases that interact with atmospheric gases has to have some impact.

yeah "some"....but how does anyone measure levels of Co2 with much certainty in such a complex world? Billions of it are being consumed by plants instantaneosly, and produced in tandum.

Last time I heard, Co2 makes up 1/100 of 1% of our atmosphere. There's more evidence of solar connections and vapor contributions....

Hah! love the handle!

Your average CO2 molecule will stay a gas in the atmosphere for more than 100 years allowing for the gas to be evenly distributed around the hemisphere. The only noticible change from location to location in the CO2 concentration has to do with northern or southern hemisphere growing seasons

And, yes, CO2 is about 1/100 of the atmosphere by volume, slighly more by mass.
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77. atmoaggie
2:52 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
I wish I could stick around for a lengthy discussion but, alas, I cannot.

My own 2 bits: Isn't it odd that the beginng of the increased rate of rise of the "US" and "Global" temperatures coincide exactly with the advent of the infrared spectromoter in space (the same device that began measuring the sea ice coverage over the Arctic)? I put US and global in quotes above because those measurements are not US and global before the satellites, they are the temperature of the locations at which we measure it...always changing with changing instruments. Is there a cycle? Yes. Does it suddenly change when we finally began to measure the temperature over a far larger spatial area by satellite? Yes. Do we have enough of a satellite record to be sure we aren't simply seeing a 30-year cycle in a different way? Heck NO!

The timing of it all is a little too neat and tidy for the facism that the real drivers behind the "control your energy usage for you" crowd want.

NCEP claiming and others spouting that number X is the global temperature without having a pixel for every point on the globe, but instead a couple of hundred surface measurements (some conducted by farmers to whom everything is relative and most of which were in the US) is bull dookey. Guess what...that statement applies to everything before 1980.

Do we need to make every reasonable effort to make as little an imprint as possible on the environment? Absolutely. When we go camping, we pick up the trash, but stop short of collecting the pee off of the base of that tree over there. (How do we know that our scent will not stop the deer that were going to meet from mating and making babies?) Same goes for more effecient use of our fuels and the byproducts produced. It is only reasonable to a point.
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76. quasigeostropic
9:38 PM EST on January 18, 2008
The impacts of manmade gases that interact with atmospheric gases has to have some impact.

yeah "some"....but how does anyone measure levels of Co2 with much certainty in such a complex world? Billions of it are being consumed by plants instantaneosly, and produced in tandum.

Last time I heard, Co2 makes up 1/100 of 1% of our atmosphere. There's more evidence of solar connections and vapor contributions....
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74. latitude25
9:22 PM EST on January 18, 2008
How did this get so silly from man having an effect in the environment,
to CO2 being the be all and end all for global warming?

apples and oranges

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72. Drakoen
1:57 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
Thats interesting. We will see how the event plays out. Snow forecasting is tricky.
I don't mean to sound disrespectful but the NWS called for accumulating snow in New York with the last coastal low however most of it was freezing rain.
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71. scwindsaloft
1:53 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
Drak: NWS Raleigh is calling for 3-5" of snow.

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70. Drakoen
1:30 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
My blog is updated with updated snow map.
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68. chessrascal
8:01 PM EST on January 18, 2008
Hi All!
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66. AndyD
12:34 AM GMT on January 19, 2008
I admit I am a troll here. I live in St. Petersburg, FL. I was wondering if anyone had a comment regarding Global Warming and the report that Greenland is having some of the coldest temperatures in a decade. Ice forming in all the rivers and canals. Also I read Russia has issued a warning of the brutal cold to the people living in the Siberian region. Temps were a -67 degrees. Thank you. Andy
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64. Weather456
7:47 PM AST on January 18, 2008
Dvorak IR Analysis: Tropical Cyclone Funa

Eye Temperature - off-white -20C

Eye wall Temperature - black - -69C

E # - 5.5

Eye Adjustment Factor - 0.0

Current Intensity: 5.5 0.0= CI 5.5

Dvorak Visible Analysis: Tropical Cyclone Funa

Embedded Center is 2 degrees - E 7.0

Eye Adjustment Factors

1) E number suppose to be limted to E6.0 because of large ragged eyes

2) Subtract 1.0 for ragged eyes above E5.0

Banding Features - 1/2 degree - 0.5

CI = 7.0 limited to 6.0-1.0 0.5 = CI 5.5

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63. Weather456
7:44 PM AST on January 18, 2008
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
61. latitude25
4:12 PM EST on January 18, 2008
ShenValleyFlyFish 3:28 PM EST on January 18, 2008
Saying that the data we have is meaningless

ok, I'll say it

The data we have is meaningless.

We do not have a clue what all of this means. Especially when there is absolutely no standard for taking those temps, and they are talking about 10th's and 100th's of one degree. Everyone is all over the place with it, and we do not have a clue how solar, oceans, biology, botany, orbits, you name it come into play with it.

BTW my normal body temperature is around 96.8.
101 might mean a cold to you, but a coma for me.

yes having a record of my temp is important.
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60. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:28 PM EST on January 18, 2008
Counting on mutation didn't work out to well for the dinosaurs. LOL
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59. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:04 PM EST on January 18, 2008
Saying that the data we have is meaningless is like as if I were to call my GP and say "Doc I have a temp of 101" and he were to say That's only one data point, and you are 57, Do you have a record of your daily temps for at least the last 30 yrs." When I say "No" he says: "Start keeping a record and call me back in 25 yrs."

The demand for a perfect data set is nothing but a way to procrastinate a decision. All human decisions are made with limited data.

The argument that there is insufficient data cuts both ways. If there is insufficient data to support a conclusion then it follows that there is insufficient data to support an alternative interpretation.
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58. hondaguy
2:25 PM CST on January 18, 2008
Or, we will mutate and adapt to our environment.

Even better!!!
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57. pottery
3:38 PM AST on January 18, 2008
I have to come in here Peachtree.
Historically, we have never been in this position before. Historical data is good, but cannot tell the future because so much has changed ( regardless of why ). The current weather prediction models are still heavily weighted in favour of historical data, and dont take into account recent events ( like the partial elimination of the North ice caps, the southern spread of the sahara etc etc etc ). Will the two examples above reverse themselves next year or in 50 years ? We dont know that.
It is true to say that the climate has changed recently, and that human activity is the most probable cause.
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55. hondaguy
1:32 PM CST on January 18, 2008
53. PeachTree 1:22 PM CST on January 18, 2008 huh? Ofcourse it does. History repeats itself all the time. What if a million years ago, the earth was going through the same changes we see now? What if it is normal? What if we are getting excited over a normal event? Man hasn't been around that long to know.

I concur but again i state...a million years ago the earth didnt even have a human population (according to records).

The impacts of manmade gases that ineract with atmospheric gases has to have some impact. You cannot justify that the amount of resources we currently use are equalized on a daily bases by the earth itself. The things that we do on a daily basis from the start of a car to the running of a fuel plant affect the atmosphere in some way.

You can base changes on the past, because as you said history does repeat itself. What's not repeated is the amount of people. Earth is more populated now than it ever has been so really we (scientists included) can only really guess what affect we are having based on our 200 year old records, which right now are proving that the earth is warming. 10,000 years from now, if the population is still fluroushing, is when we will need to evaluate everything.

Of course, if it's still warming then I think we'd all be baked to death!
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54. weatherbro
7:14 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Recently(January 4th, 2008) the sun just pasted from a cycle of record sunspots(phase 23) to a much less active phase 24. Ironically, more solar flare causes more radiation to escape and reach Earth's surface then with less solar storms.

Scientists predict that phase 25(due sometime between 2017-2020) may be a record for lest active sunspots. Which means we'll most likely be talking about Global Cooling.

Also note this prediction has nothing to do with the 1970's Global Cooling scare. Then' we barely knew much about sunspots and their role on climate change.
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52. hondaguy
1:02 PM CST on January 18, 2008
48. PeachTree 11:57 AM CST on January 18, 2008
yeah, so those stats are like useless. We need Prof. Peabodys WayBack machine,to go back billions of years, and get some real stats. Then, you could state the Top Ten Hottest Years on record.

Not totally useless. Yes records have only been kept since the 1800's. BUT since 1895 alone the global human population has more than doubled. Within that time the FACT is that the earth has warmed. Facts cannot be ignored.

Over 6.6 billion inhabitants stripping the world of it's resources, and using more than ever before is going to have some affect on the weather across the world. Noone can argue that the world population as a whole doesnt have any affect on the weather, because we do.

Take major metropolitan area's for example, even small cities of say 30,000. The concrete and buildings in these cities tend to keep heat at the surface, which of course rises up through to the atmostphere. Now speckle hundreds of thousands of these small "heating pads" across the globe and voila, instant warmer places. Even here in Baton Rouge the temperature 9 times outta 10 is warmer than the outskirts to the south. That's just one small example that doesnt even include burned fuels, de-forestation, and waste.

So since records have been kept the average temperature has gone up. That's proven and cannot be argued, and since it's all we have to go by, in a lot of scientists eyes global warming is happening.

Do I believe it's going to have the huge catastrophic impacts that they predict? No, I think some of the predictions are completely bogus. I do however see what the charts say, and relitave to the boom in human population...I'd say we have something to do with it.

Again that's what our figures say, and it's all we have to go by. Doesnt matter what happened in the past, this is now, and it's all we've got.
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51. pottery
2:37 PM AST on January 18, 2008
Hello . Been off here since Dec 15..
Not much to talk about here weatherwise in Trinidad, (11n 61 w ). The dry season is setting in as it should. Dry now to June, when the ITCZ and the Tropical waves start affecting things.
Not looking forward to this dry season, when the Sahara dust makes things most unpleasant and drops our visibility down to 3 miles for up to a week. Gets progressively worse each year.
Rainfall at my location for 2007 was 181.2 cm ( about 7 feet ), and the 10 yr average is 202 cm so not much change there.
The change has been in the rainfall pattern. We currently have intense, brief showers with days on hot dry weather between them, very different to the recent past which was days of rain and drizzle with mildew and mould being an issue.
The change has affected water catchment, agriculture, etc., and causes far more damage in terms of flash-floods and landslides on the hills along the North coast. Part of the reason for the change in the pattern is the Sahara dust, which is affecting the temperature as well, causing local heavy convection along the West coast of the Island ( where there are no resevoirs), during the early part of the rainy season ( June to August).
Its all interesting, and is changing fast.
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50. Snowfire
1:14 PM EST on January 18, 2008
On rainfall equivalencies:

1 inch of snow can be equivalent to anything from about 0.03 inches of rain (prime Rocky Mountain powder) to 0.2 inches (wet glop). The equivalency for sleet is higher, up to 0.6 inches.
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49. NEwxguy
5:56 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Thanks Storm good synopsis,even if it was quick.
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47. HurricaneGeek
12:54 PM EST on January 18, 2008
i think its like 4 billion?
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45. lawntonlookers
5:44 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
In response to the question on how much water in snow. It all depends on the air temperature at the time the snow is falling. If it is close to freezing, the water content will be higher than when the temperature is below zero. The link at the bottom takes you to a NOAA conversion Table.
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44. Drakoen
5:44 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
No problem. I will updating daily .
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42. Sophmom
12:29 PM EST on January 18, 2008
Thanks, Drak, especially for the graphics (over at your Southeast weather blog).
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41. Drakoen
4:48 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Hello everyone. I have started a Southeast weather blog which includes the upcoming events.

Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 31629
40. jeffB
4:38 PM GMT on January 18, 2008

Is it true that there is one inch of water in every ten inches of snow that falls?

The water content of snow is more variable than most people realize. While many snows that fall at temperatures close to 32oF and snows accompanied by strong winds do contain approximately one inch of water per ten inches of snowfall, the ratio is not generally accurate. Ten inches of fresh snow can contain as little as 0.10 inches of water up to 4 inches depending on crystal structure, wind speed, temperature, and other factors. The majority of U.S. snows fall with a water-to-snow ratio of between 0.04 and 0.10.

So, in other words, ten inches of snow can contain moisture equivalent to 0.1 to 4 inches of rain. Since the snow forecast for NC is to start as rain, it's likely that it'll be fairly dense snow for at least the first part of the event. I get the impression that they're looking at an inch or more of liquid-equivalent precipitation over a wide area of the state. I hope it pans out.
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39. NorthxCakalaky
3:31 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Sorry, I ment about the drought. Will snow dent our drought? I asked that to someone and they said not much for every inch of snow equals .1 moisture to the ground.

Is that wrong?
37. NorthxCakalaky
3:19 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Mountains and foothills should be cold enuff for all snow.(But how the low track its moisture west will be the point)
36. ncleclerc
3:11 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Weather folks are saying that not only will NC get measureable amount of snow but it is going to be really cold with a wind chill near zero.
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35. NorthxCakalaky
3:01 PM GMT on January 18, 2008
Question if anyone is online. Is every inch of snow equal to .1 moisture getting to the ground?
34. NorthxCakalaky
2:41 PM GMT on January 18, 2008

Winter Storm watches has been REISSUED again for the piedmont. Addional 2-4inches of snow on top of the snow.

Now total amounts could be over half a foot.Schools here were closed yesterday,today,monday(holiday),tuesday,(required workday,high schools were already out this week if they were excemt from their test.

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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.

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