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Met Office: Current Decade Already Hottest On Record
9 December 2009
by Jack Rosebro
|Decadal temperature variations, based on instrumental readings, from long-term average, 1850-2009 Source: Met Office UK. Click to enlarge.|
The United Kingdom’s Met (Meteorological) Office announced that the 2000-2009 decade “has been, by far, the warmest decade on the instrumental record”, and that 2009 is on track to become the fifth warmest year in the past 160 years, continuing the warming trend that has accelerated since the 1970s. 2009 has also been warmer than 2008, due in part to El Niño conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The Met Office also released data from more than 1,500 climate and weather station temperature records, making up about 30% of the HadCRUT record of global land surface temperature records.
The Met Office is currently negotiating with national meteorological and hydrological services that maintain the stations, and plan to release the remaining records as soon as they are legally able to do so. “As soon as possible, we will also publish the specific computer code that aggregates the individual station temperatures into the global land temperature record,” they announced.
|Locations of climate and weather station used in global climate data analysis. Source: Met Office UK. Click to enlarge.|
Separately, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) yesterday announced that 2009 is on track to become another record warming year, with a preliminary warming trend of 0.44 °C above the long-term average of 14.0 °C. “We are in a warming trend, we have no doubt about that,” said Michel Jarraud, WMO secretary general, at a press conference in Copenhagen. Although 2009 looks to be the fifth hottest year, Jarraud warned that “in large parts of southern Asia and of central Africa, it is likely to be the warmest ever on record.”
WMO findings are based on climate data from worldwide networks of land-based climate and weather stations, sea-based ships and buoys, and satellites. The data is collected by national meteorological and hydrological services representing 189 countries, as well as several collaborating research institutions.
Aggregate data is continuously fed to three separate global climate data and analysis centers. Each data center independently develops and maintains a global climate dataset on a monthly basis, using its own peer-reviewed methodologies. WMO global temperature analyses are based on all three complementary datasets, which can be compared to one another.
|Comparison of land surface temperature trends, as analyzed by HadCRUT, NCDC/NOAA, and GISS/NASA climate data models, using land, ocean, and satellite-based records. Source: WMO. Click to enlarge.|
The datasets are maintained by:
Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office in conjunction with the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
US National Climatic Data Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Final updates and figures for 2009 will be published in March 2010 in the annual WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate.
NOAA: Global Surface Temperatures in 2009 Well Above Long Term Average
Separately, preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center found that global surface temperatures for 2009 will be well above the long-term average, while the annual temperature for the contiguous United States will likely be above the long-term average. The analysis is based on global records, which began in 1880 and US records beginning in 1895. Among the NCDC’s findings were:
Global land and ocean annual surface temperatures through October are the fifth warmest on record, at 1.01 °F (0.56 °C) above the long-term average.
NOAA scientists project 2009 will be one of the 10 warmest years of the global surface temperature record, and likely finish as the fourth, fifth or sixth warmest year on record.
The 2000 – 2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.96 °F (0.53 °C) above the 20th century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.65 °F (0.36 °C).
Ocean surface temperatures (through October) were the sixth warmest on record, at 0.85 °F (0.47 °C) above the 20th century average.
Land surface temperatures through October were the fifth warmest on record, at 1.44 °F (0.8 °C) above the 20th century average.
Arctic sea ice extent reached its third smallest annual minimum on record behind 2007 and 2008. The past five years have produced the lowest sea ice extents on record.
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