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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184. BahaHurican
6:07 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
Hmmm. . . getting some thunder / lightning with this band of storms. Wish I could get the local radar page to work . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
183. BahaHurican
5:20 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
Currently here we're having light rain, overcast skies, an a wind from the east about 5-7 knots max. Ambient temperature has dropped a good bit since yesterday, too. It feels like winter out there today. ON Friday it felt like April or early May - too hot.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
182. BahaHurican
5:06 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
Afternoon, everybody.

Glad to see we got some kiwis onboard. Welcome, Dave and sk8er.

I did some cursory looking around at the North Island topography after noting the potential approach of Funa to the area, and I can see where landslides and flooding could be serious in the area. I'd forgotten about the multiple volcanic cones on the North Island, and had been thinking about the South Island as "the one with the mountains".

Sure hope you guys fare well, regardless of the tropical or extra-tropical nature of the storm.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
180. Cavin Rawlins
3:25 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION....

Upper level ridging and mid-upper level dry air dominates the Caribbean Basin, thereby, deep shower activity remains absent and fair weather is the dominant pattern. Trades are 20 knots south of the subtropical ridge, driving shallow cloudiness and passing showers over the Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean to meet the frontal boundary. These trades are also producing 7-8 ft seas across most parts and 13 ft seas along the Colombian coast where the pressure gradient is tightest.

by W456
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
179. HIEXPRESS
3:14 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
On this page:
http://australiasevereweather.com/cyclones/2004/summ0403.htm
Scroll down & revisit the unofficially named South Atlantic tropical cyclone Catarina in 2004. Could it happen again? Sure. When?
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
178. Cavin Rawlins
2:41 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
GM,

....SYNOPSIS....

GULF OF MEXICO/NORTHWEST ATLANTIC OCEAN WEST OF 50W....

A cold front is pushing across the Northwest Caribbean and Western Atlantic from the Gulf of Honduras to beyond 30N/75W. Upper level moisture...in the form of multilayered cloudiness...flows from the Mexican Mainland across the Gulf of Mexico and parts Southeast United States within 200 nmi behind the frontal boundary. The associated high-pressure system is established 1035 mb over the Upper Mississippi Valley, producing fair weather, northerly-northeasterly gale force winds and 7-14 ft seas over the Gulf of Mexico with storm force winds over the Isthmus and Gulf of Tehuantepec. Cold air stratocumulus is found downstream over the Gulf south of 27N.

A frontal boundary goes from Western Cuba across the Northern Bahamas and along 28N/75W 33N/70W. Light to moderate shower activity is within 120 nmi either side of the front. Ahead of the front, fair weather dominates with small stratocumulus cells seen rotating around the Central Atlantic ridge...east of 65W.

by W456
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
177. lawntonlookers
2:32 PM GMT on January 20, 2008
Good Morning:

Just syopped in to see what was going on. Got those down under, stay safe and out of harms wat. Funa looks pretty good. Here in the NE USA we are having a cold snap. Have a good day
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
176. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:20 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
TCWC Wellington

Hurricane Warning re-issued by RSMC Nadi

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Funa [965 hPa] located near 29.0S 171.5E is reported moving southwest at 20 knots. Maximum 10 minute sustained wind near the center is 70 knots

Hurricane-Force Winds within 20 miles from center

Storm-Force Winds within 180 miles from center southern semi-circle
and 60 miles from center northern semi-circle

Gale-Force Winds within 300 miles from center southern semi-circle
and 180 miles from the center northern semi-circle
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45319
175. Jedkins
5:58 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
power lines fried while I was at work here! Had no idea there were all those tornado warnings around me! I live in central pinnelas, most wicked thunderstorms in a while around here, had to be gusting at least 65, went whiteout, coudn't see anyting till the powerlines came down annd threw sparks everywhere! The building was shaking from the force of the wind I couldn't believe my eyes.
174. kiwisk8er
5:52 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Yay Tropical cyclone Funa is coming to visit. Can't wait for some rain to lower the fire risk.
173. DaveInNZ
4:30 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Hi P451,

Whist I agree that Funa is fading as a tropical storm, it is still possible for extra-tropical storms to reintensify as baroclinic systems and cause incredible damage in the NZ area.

Check out this link to a story about what Cyclone Giselle did in April 1968 - Wind gust up to 275km/h in the Wellington area, the Wahine ferry sank in Wellington harbour at the cost of 51 lives, and lots of flooding and wind damage up and down the country.

Also, this link to the same website shows what happened with Cyclone Bola in 1988, no deaths but a lot of flood damage to the Gisborne area that got up to 900mm (36 inches) of rain in 3 days, in an area that normally gets that amount of rain in an entire year.

Yes the SSTs in our area mean that any cyclones that do pass our way struggle to maintain their tropical characteristics, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be treated with any less caution.

David.
171. BajaALemt
3:34 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Welcome, David.....and thanks for sharing your observations
Member Since: September 25, 2007 Posts: 53 Comments: 8533
170. DaveInNZ
3:28 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Hi all,

This is my first post here, but I have been lurking here for a few years now as I have an avid interest in tropical cyclones, I always find Dr Masters' posts very informative and I have learned a lot from them.

I live in Auckland, NZ, and yes Funa is bearing down on us. The winds are starting to pick up and the sky is going grey. However by the satelite photos it is looking a lot less potent now than it was 24 hours ago (extra-tropical transition is well underway), and no major warnings have been issued yet by the met service. If you dig around at www.metservice.co.nz at this stage they expect the strongest winds and heaviest rains to stay offshore west of the North Island, however they are keeping a very close eye on the storm just in case it does take a more southerly course than expected, in which case it's gonna get real rough round here over the next couple of days.

David.
169. listenerVT
3:23 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Cyclone warning for Norfolk Island
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/20/2142389.htm
Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5506
168. BajaALemt
3:13 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Thanks for the post, Doc
Member Since: September 25, 2007 Posts: 53 Comments: 8533
167. BahaHurican
2:03 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Wow. Funa looks like it may give Auckland, NZ a real scare . . .

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
166. BahaHurican
1:59 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Looks like Sebring and the Titusville area are in for it now.

Doesn't look like much is making it to the lake, though.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
165. BahaHurican
1:53 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Looks like the worst of the storms are now running along a SW-NE line to the NW of Sebring, FL. The Melbourne area looks to get slammed later tonight . . .

Is this line supposed to dip down past the tip of Florida tomorrow or Monday?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
164. dearmas
1:51 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
yeah it sucked. It's sommething that the kids look forward to every yr. We did see some sun a for a few sec today lol
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
163. BahaHurican
1:47 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
We had a similar problem this year for Junkanoo. Usually it's so dry here that cancellations are almost unheard of. I think Junkanoo has been postponed or cut short due to weather less than 5 times in the last 50 or so years . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
162. dearmas
1:43 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
I have lived in Tampa all my life and the Parade has NEVER been canceled or stoped
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
161. dearmas
1:41 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
I know, I misspelled that too lol. They did have the parade but stopped it early due to the weather and also canceled the fireworks show until tomorrow night. The weather got realllllly bad, wind was wow. long day
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
160. BahaHurican
1:41 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Is it supposed to be Gasparilla?

Something about pirates? Link
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
159. BahaHurican
1:38 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
dearmas,

u misspelled misspelled, too.

LOL

Don't they cancel the parade if the weather is bad?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22150
158. dearmas
1:29 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Think I miss spelled that.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
157. dearmas
1:29 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Any one here from tampa brave like me go to the gasparall parade?
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
156. dearmas
1:28 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Hi all from Tampa
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 121
155. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
1:14 AM GMT on January 20, 2008
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Wellington, New Zealand

TROPICAL CYCLONE FUNA
27.4S 173.6E - 80 knots 950 hPa

Hurricane Warnin
--------------------------
At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Funa [950 hPa] located near 27.4S 173.6E is reported moving south-southwest at 20 knots. Maximum 10 minute sustained wind near the center is 80 knots

Hurricane-Force Winds within 30 miles from center

Storm-Force Winds within 120 miles from center

Gale-Force Winds within 360 miles from center southwest semi-circle
and 180 miles from the center northwest semi-circle
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 51 Comments: 45319
150. nash28
11:52 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Hold on JP!
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
148. nash28
11:50 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Training going on now in Apollo Beach. Had a downburst about 15 minutes ago.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
147. nash28
11:46 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Not over yet for Tampa...

Plenty of strong cells training in from the SW.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
146. CybrTeddy
11:45 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Was Just slammed, big time in Florida Here, Lots of Rain, and Low dipping Clouds.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24044
144. TampaSpin
11:23 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Nash it looks like a possble vortex just south of McDill AFB.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
143. nash28
11:21 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Vortex right offshore of Apollo Beach....
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
142. TampaSpin
11:21 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Possible vortex in the mouth of Tampa Bay.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
141. TampaSpin
11:19 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Radar loop Link
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
140. TampaSpin
11:15 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
yep i see it Nash be careful.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
139. HIEXPRESS
11:15 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
I see it now.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
138. nash28
11:13 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Very strong signature approaching my area in Apollo Beach now.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
137. TampaSpin
11:12 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
West Central Hillsborough needs to look out. Possible hooker coming in the area.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
136. nash28
11:09 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
Several tornado warnings in the Tampa area.

There are a couple of water spouts heading towards me now.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
135. TampaSpin
11:08 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
looks like a vortex is just off shore St. Pete area...
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
134. HIEXPRESS
11:07 PM GMT on January 19, 2008
I saw a tornado watch, & some severe thunderstorm warnings, but I did not yet see a tornado warning. Anybody see one in Florida?
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156

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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.