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NOAA: Global December-February Temperature Warmest on Record

16 March 2007

Lohemdecfebpg
Dec-Feb land and ocean surface mean temperature anomalies. Click to enlarge.

The December 2006-February 2007 global average temperature was the warmest since 1880—(1.30°F/0.72°C above the 20th century mean)—according to scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The global December-February land-surface temperature was the warmest on record, while the ocean-surface temperature tied for second warmest in the 128-year period of record, approximately 0.1°F (0.06°C) cooler than the record established during the very strong El Niño episode of 1997-1998.

During the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a rate near 0.11º F (0.06º C) per decade, but the rate of increase has been three times larger since 1976, or 0.32ºF (0.18ºC) per decade, with some of the largest temperature increases occurring in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

Temperatures in the US for the winter season were slightly above average—33.6°F (0.9°C), compared to the 20th century average of 33.0°F (0.6°C).

Statewide temperatures were warmer than average from Florida to Maine and from Michigan to Montana. Cooler-than-average temperatures occurred in the southern Plains and areas of the Southwest.

February was 1.8°F (0.9°C) below the 20th century average of 34.7°F (1.5°C), placing it in the top third coldest Februarys in the 113-year record for the contiguous US. Thirty-six states in the eastern two-thirds of the nation were cooler than average, while Texas and the eleven states of the West were near average to warmer-than-average.

Phd200702_pg
Palmer drought index. Click to enlarge.

Winter precipitation was above average from the Upper Midwest to New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana. Winter was drier than average from the Deep South to Kentucky, the Mid-Atlantic, and along the Northeast Seaboard states. Much of the West was also drier than average. For February, precipitation was below average in the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest regions.

At the end of February, water-year precipitation in Los Angeles was the lowest on record, less than 25% of normal. According to the US Drought Monitor, 25% of the continental US was in moderate-to-exceptional drought at the end of February. The most severe conditions were in southwest Texas, northern Minnesota, Wyoming and the western High Plains.

March 16, 2007 in Climate Change | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

It's all coincidental. We should wait for a few decades until we have enough data to prove with 99.99bar% certainty that humans are significantly impacting the climate. Everything up to that is pure speculation and should be treated as such.

It's been, dry, dry, dry here in San Diego. Second driest on record. The only dryer winter was five years ago. March is supposed to be wet. Hell, El Nino is supposed to be wet. This year? Nope!


yesplease - Are you being sarcastic?

I really doubt that anything we could do now is far too late. The human race is headed for extinction.

Mayyyye... Or maybe I'm being a turnip? The world may never know. :D

Ah christ, there's supposed to be a b in there.

The climate is definately changing, but I remain unconvinced that us humans are to take full responsibility for it.

What I am questioning about this story is that this is now the hottest since 1880. Does this mean that it has never been hotter since the records have been kept in 1880, or that 1880 was still hotter. If the latter is correct, what happened in 1880, or before, to be so hot, considering that no so called global warming/CO2 emmitting was taking place yet in 1880? And also, if so, could we not be in another cycle that was happening at that earlier date?

There are severalmain things pushing temps higher.

1 Global warming due to man... this includes such things as cities roadways railways farmland homes blahb;ah blah all gathering more heat from the sun then natural areas do. Also of course all the nleep we spew.. and all the haaze hat cant burn off during the day.. mostly water vapor from fossil fuels mixed with vrud from other sources..

2 Natural climate change.. its been known for quite some time that the last 520 years was COOLER then and far far milder then the weather before it and the end of that 520 tear span is 1012// or 2016 forget wich anyway the incan calender ends on that day.

3 It is haranteed that there are sevderalkey forces pushing climate change and warmer temps that we will never know because thats how things work we never know everything. Least not till afterward as in prolly 2200 or so.

Mark A you should ask those questions over at realclimate whether there are climate scientists that can answer you.

wintermane: You sound like you have some intelligent comments to make. Unfortunately, your poor spelling and grammer make them extremely difficult and painful to read. Please create your comments in a word processor or other program that has a spelling check, then cut and paste them here to gcc. No offense, but that way your comments will be taken more seriously.

MarkA,

The deniers and objectors define how humans are causing the problem. By sitting on the fence, you contribute to an intellectual climate that avoids doing anything. Even if we discover that humans aren't the total cause, but a proximate one, we should still stop pushing the rock over the cliff! My question is this: if it were an easy problem to solve, would you be as 'unsure?' I don't think so. I think people's reluctance to face this issue is directly related to the difficulty of solving it. This stance pretty much defines the logical fallacy of "argument from consequence."

Lucas,

Your stance as well prevents action. By claiming there is nothing we can do anyway, you are essentially taking the same position as the deniers. It's an easy out.

These denials represent fatal flaws in human psychology. None of us may be alive to face the worst of climate change, but that doesn't mean our kids and grandkids won't.

The technologies we are developing to fight warming will also make our lives better in other ways. Even the carbon caps and taxes which stir such ambivalence will eventually be seen as a watershed like the abolition of slavery. Except this time our slavery is to the use of cheap, dirty fuels.


BlackSun - You mean as in Cop Out???

I'm doing my part. Now if we could get the 5,999,999,999 others to fall in line - today - we might start to turn things around in time.

What are the odds ?

_El Nino turned into La Nina, and if the trend lasts deep into the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season, bad news is on the horizon for the Eastern Seaboard/Gulf. Hurricane seasons under Pacific La Nina conditions generate more numerous, and intense tropical cyclones.
_Another set of hurricane induced energy disruptions (US/Mexico Gulf Coast, not to mention crude/refined products shipped via ULCCs through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea) could spell for >$3.50/ga. gasoline/diesel for a while.

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences."

Winston Churchill

Lucas, I'm sure you are doing your part, or you most likely wouldn't be commenting here. But even allowing intellectually that it is too late gives people one more excuse for doing nothing.

This is according to “corrected” weather stations data. Satellite measurements (corrected too, but to lesser extend) are way less dramatic.

For the last compiled weather stations data from Hadley Center for Climate Change + from Goddar Institute for Space Studies and National Climate Data Center look at the graph 7 on page 19 at the link below (150 years)

For satellite measured global temperatures from Global Hydrology and Climate Center look at graph 6 on page 18 (28 years).

Note the difference.

All sources are pier-reviewed published scientific articles officially incorporated into last IPCC report. Link:

http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/Independent%20Summary5.pdf

For comparison (very impressive) of weather stations temperatures for US and Global up to 2000 (before series of last “corrections) by James Hansen at al from Goddar… take a look here:

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_07/

For weather stations (two reconstructions), satellite, and sonde balloons data from 1978 to 1999 on one convenient to comparison graph take a look at Fig 10 here:

http://www.john-daly.com/cause/cause.htm

Note the difference.

Sorry my eyes are getting very bad these days so until I can afford the operations my spelling and grammar will suck even worse then ever. The good news is im getting the hang of ms magnifier and can sorta spell check myself again.

By holdimg off on kyoto like changes the us gave china time to come to grips with its massive expansions and the need for clean tech and start developing that tech. It also saved us a ton of money and pissed off the french so double bonus points!

It didnt realy effect if we will have climate change and itlikely didnt effect how bad things will get. If anything the fact we likely kept a few bliion tons of co2 production in the us likely saved a few billion more tons from china as china is alot less effiecent at producing things then the us is.

Some just dont like the fact that people like Bush might actauly be right in that this civilization CANT change quickly and thus HAS to also prep for what will happen as a result of not being able to change in time. If we ever had time to begin with wich is HIGHLY unlikely.

What it boils down to is, even if there is a slight chance that we are contributing to Global Warming and we are on a path of destruction, we have to try and do something. Do anything to buy time until we know for certain. Has anyone noticed the anti Global Warming slogans starting to pop up. I have seen several on the major networks so far.
To sit and wait for the current Bush administration is just stupid. If you have children or grandchildren, take a look at them and think, do you trust their future with Bush?

As I climbed the PG&E trail to the top of the trail, I looked at the San Francisco bay that is quite a distance from me. I noticed all that shore line is at sea level, and in 30 to 40 years, they will be all under possibly 10 feet of water.

The hard reality is perhaps it would take a second Katrina, or even a third, before we would seriously control green house warming.

The way I see it, whether or not humans are responsible for climate change, any reduction in Carbon emissions ultimately results in reduction of our use of fossil fuels. It generally seems to be the case that any energy source that is 'green' is also more likely to be renewable.

Humans might not be killing our planet, but we're certainly killing our economy with our oil addiction. I don't fully agree with the whole climate change thing myself. But I think we should all embrace Carbon emission reductions, since it will ultimately result in a move toward a renewable energy economy where we're not being held to ransom by those with oil reserves.

Well I've got to give it to you Andrey that Hansen link is very interesting (not for the same reasons you're thinking though, I suspect).

It kinda offers another reason as to why the grass roots acceptance of Global Warming is so weak in the USA, compared to say Europe.

Over here in Australia's fragile environment the masses have only started taking notice now that the record "drought" is starting to hurt us.

Let's hope Mother Nature continues to be gentle on the worlds most powerful economy while the message is still slowly sinking in.

Shaun:

Do not jump into conclusions too fast. Hansen already corrected US temperature for last 120 years and erased previous graph from official archives. Like it gonna help in the age of Internet. Comparison between two graphs is here (top and bottom graphs , left and right are the same):

http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?paged=4

Note that in first edition the hottest years were 1932, 1940, 1954, and 1988. 1998 is not averaged. In later edition Hansen made the hottest year 2000, 1999, 1998, than 1988 equal 1932, 1940 and 1954. Note how changed distribution of peaks around 0.5 horizontal line.

Now take a look how Hansen modified his data to be presented in the latest Summary for Policymaking by IPCC, page 18, look for North America. Note how year 2000 in now towering above all others:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_02_07_climatereport.pdf

Note also that Europe is not very different from N.America. S.America, Asia, Africa are way more dramatic for a reason: weather stations net and historical measurements are so fragmented, that allow for any distortion at will. This is the reason why IPCC do not use satellite measurement data, available for all Earth from 1978, and prefere weather station data.

There is other precious data set, one of the best and the longest regional temperature record. It is uninterrupted temperature records from 1780 to 2005 from city stations of central Europe: Vienna, Hohenpessenberg, Basel-Zurich, De Bilt, Uccle:

http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/europe.htm

Urban heat effect, ruining other stations data, is minimal for these stations, because from the very beginning they were in the centers of cities (that’s why the scale is relative, not absolute). Nothing nearly as dramatic as in IPCC “graphs”.

Have a nice weekend.

Richard...

RE: "Humans may not be killing our planet..."

This is a concept I really have hard time swallowing. The whole thing that we are "killing our planet". Are we really killing the planet or just ourselves??? We can spew all the GHG... blow up all nukes... contaminate our rivers, streams, and oceans... burn all the trees... and kill all the animals. I'm sure the planet will still go on, just not in a way we'd like it to. As long as water can be contained on the planet... life will exsist. Just not humans and the lifestyle we've come accustomed to. Give the Earth a couple of million years and I'm sure it can filter out all the ill effects.

The real problem is that our society has deemed it our right to pursue happiness regardless of consequence. We are killing ourselves for a lifestyle of convienence and greed.

Did anyone see the movie Rapa Nui ?
What happened to the Pascua island could happen to the earth if the population keeps growing rapidly.

Andrey.

Your comments regarding Hansen are of some interest. Have you floated this by realclimate.org to see if they can explain this?

Kevin:

Good, appropriate quote.

It is unfortunate that too many of us don't realize (yet) that we are going through a very quick climate change.

Smokers did the same for 50+ years before they realized that smoking = lung cancers. For many it was too late.

Time has come to switch to PHEVs & BEVs, to remove GHG + capture & convert CO2 from coal fired power generation plants.

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