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Hot? Another Record Year

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, January 14th, 2011 - 18 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, science - Tags:

To all those deniers who claimed the record cold in January & February in parts of the Northern Hemisphere (and again in December in Britain) proved global warming was a hoax…  In fact globally 2010 equalled 2005 as hottest year ever overall, being 0.62C warmer than the twentieth century average (~14C globally).  Deniers looked away from a 2 month heatwave across Russia, and in fact land temperatures were the highest ever, a full degree higher.  The sea was 0.49 degrees warmer, the third highest ever.

In fact now 9 of the hottest 10 years are now since 2000.  The outlier?  The third hottest year was way back in 1998.  The data disproves unequivocally claims that climate warming ended in 2005, another straw some deniers grasp at.

Last year was also the wettest on record, and with the  third least Arctic ice (after 2007 & 2008).

Now we just need some action, rather than the collapse of Cancun and National’s gutting of the ETS, to leave us paying the polluters.

Old xkcd, playing devil’s advocate:

18 comments on “Hot? Another Record Year ”

  1. Blighty 1

    The Queensland floods are being attributed to climate change and they’ve got big floods in Brazil too right now. In the South of Brazil that is. Amazonia remains in drought.

    One of the tipping points, when the gradually worsening situation suddenly becomes catastrophic will be if the Amazon burns.

    It will be important to see if the cold winter in Western Europe is linked to weakening of the Gulf Stream too.

    • Bunji 1.1

      It is one of the ironies of climate change that it is predicted global warming will cause Britain to get colder. Poor things. The Gulf Stream turns off and… oh, look Scotland / northern England are at the same latitude as Norway… that’s why it’s so cold…

    • Bill 1.2

      The cold winter (wasn’t there a post on this?) is due to the loss of ice allowing heat transfer from the ocean to air and the resulting higher pressure pushing circum polar winds to the south. Nothing to do with the Gulf Stream.

    • Deadly_NZ 1.3

      Yep if the Amazon burns look out then the shite will have really hit the fan. They dont call them the lungs of the planet for nothing.

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        Phytoplankton in the sea produce more oxygen than the Amazon jungle does. Which is another reason why rising sea temperatures / ocean acidification is a bad thing.

    • infused 1.4

      Yeah because those floods didn’t happen over a 100 years ago right?

  2. Puddleglum 2

    This study may be of interest in the latest issue of Psychological Science. Sadly, it’s beyond the paywall.

    It’s also sad that ‘less dire warnings’ are recommended since, while that might make the public more receptive to policy changes it provides politicians with less incentive to promote those policies (especially given the focus on economic growth).

    I can hear it now (in fact, I DO hear it now): ‘We need to balance responses to climate change with the need for economic prosperity…”. It’s that ‘win-win’, ‘have your cake and eat it too’ attitude again.

    Nevertheless, the study at least makes a suggestion as to why scepticism is increasing in some places.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      It’s not scepticism that’s increasing but outright denial.

      • Puddleglum 2.1.1

        Very likely.

        So perhaps it’s the “I’m sick of hearing about it so it must be total BS” attitude/reasoning.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Still, no one can tell me what NZ life would look like at 20% less energy (oil/electricity/gas) consumed per capita. What life would look like in a static state, zero growth economy, even as our population keeps growing.

      And why would any ordinary person invest relevance in a concept as ephemeral as invisible gases in the atmosphere doing bad things and whether or not one day is hotter than the one three years ago.

      I can hold an intangible metaphysical concept in my head as good as the next guy. Doesn’t mean that everyone can, or wants to.

      *Devil’s advocate

  3. RedLogix 3

    That 2010, along with 2005, is the hottest in the instrumental record is not surprising. What is surprising that is has occurred during the deepest and most protracted solar minimum for over 50 years.

    I’d say that this page is ‘chilling’ but thats the wrong metaphor.

    Look carefully. Inevitably the solar cycle will peak again, and then we will see a whole new raft of records being set in what for our civilisation will be wholly uncharted territory.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Actually it appears that sunspot activity since 1950 has been unusually high. In the ~14,000 years for which they can approximate sunspot activity, the levels seen since 1950 are only present for 10% of the total time period.

      The long term trend is that sunspot cycles should get weaker than they have recently been and periods like the ‘maunder minimum’ (corresponding with the ‘little ice age’) are probably more the norm over geological timescales. Of course this doesn’t help us in the short term.

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    Many people fail to recognise that it is not simply a matter of the average air temperature or the average land temperature being higher than in the past. What is really important is the temperature of the oceans, and particularly the deep oceans. We don’t have a lot of data for them, but the suspicion is that much of the excess heat that has been trapped over recent times has been slowly heating the massive heat sink of deep ocean waters.

    Another often ignored factor is the melting of sea ice and glaciers. Huge amounts of energy have gone into converting ice at 0oC into water at 0oC (the latent heat of phase change), which would otherwise have shown up as increased temperature.

    The really big one that is hardly ever mentioned is Global Dimming -the reduction in solar energy reaching the Earth because of reflection high in the atmosphere by aerosols generated by industrial activity. It could well be that the reduction in industrial activity that inevitably follows on from peak oil will result in clearer skies and more solar radiation reching the Earth, i.e. a sudden surge in warming.

    Interestingly, the sea ice cover for the Arctic in Decemeber 2010 was the lowest since satellite observations have been made.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      “It could well be that the reduction in industrial activity that inevitably follows on from peak oil will result in clearer skies and more solar radiation reching the Earth, i.e. a sudden surge in warming.”

      Unlikely, unless the economy completely falls to pieces on a global scale. Peak oil is a liquid fuels crises, not an energy crisis. Lack of liquid fuels will result in alternatives being used instead, such as coal to liquids (already happening on a large scale) and the Canadian tar sands. Coal is generally much dirtier than oil, and may result in more pollution in the upper atmosphere (see also: China). I guess there could be a significant difference in where the pollution is created/ends up, though – coal to liquid plants out in the wop wops making lots of pollution, while there would be less pollution arising from transportation in cities, or from reduced air travel.

      Having said that, though, in the days after 9-11 when all planes were grounded across the US, there was a significant drop in the amount of cloud cover. So maybe curtailing worldwide air travel by just 50% could make a significant difference in albedo.

  5. Macro 5

    I reckon it’s getting colder – coz when I was in the supermarket the other day it was bloody freezin when I was gettin my marge!
    And it’s all a commie plot.
    And it can all be explained relatively see – coz the thermo thingies in the satalights get smaller coz they are going so fast whizzing round the earth and they read different! I only just figured this out like, and those science fellas don’t know any betta.

  6. johnm 6


    “We’ve built a new Earth,it’s not as nice as the old one;It’s the greatest mistake humans have ever made,one that we will pay for literally forever.We live on a new Planet.What happens next is up to us.” Bill McKibben
    Refer Bill McKibben’s website: For a guide to living on a fundamentally altered planet!
    “Imagine we live on a planet. Not our cozy, taken-for-granted earth, but a planet, a real one, with darkpoles and belching volcanoes and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat. An inhospitable place. It’s a different place. A different planet. It needs a new name.”


    What are my personal thoughts? To cope with Climate Change and Peak Oil I think we need to retreat stop and reverse growth of the economy and population and learn to be as localised and self-sufficient as possible consult Robert Atack and others for more details including http://www.postcarbon.org This course of action only works with a more equal and cooperative society not a competitive individualistic one where all strive for advantage over others!

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