20 February 2010
January Global Temps 4th Warmest On Record- NOAA
Posted by Dan Satterfield
The National Climate Data Center (NOAA) has released the January global temperature data. January 2010 is the 4th warmest on record globally. What is more interesting is that looking at ocean temps. alone it was the second warmest on record. Only 1998, with it’s very strong El Nino, were the oceans warmer.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the heavy snowfall events of the past 6 weeks along the Eastern Seaboard could very well be related to the fact that the atmosphere holds more water now than 40 years ago. The unusually warm oceans may very well have played a role in the record snow event in Washington. Keep in mind we are talking about climate, and not weather. You cannot ascribe any one event to climate change. You can however say if the changes we have seen would make such an event more likely.
In this case the answer seems to be a “likely yes”.
It would not surprise me to hear some people claim that a blizzard somehow nullifies 100 years of peer reviewed science. Even someone like Donald Trump expressing such ignorance is not really surprising. What IS surprising that some United States Senators, and members of Congress, people who make our laws and run the country, are that ignorant.
These people really have no excuse. They should be ashamed to hold such a high office and be so uninformed.
No matter what party they belong to.
I’ve always liked your weather forecasts and respect you as a weatherman, but I’m really disappointed in your highly political global warming views. I don’t care so much what you believe about global warming, but making out like only stupid people don’t believe in Man-made Global warming is ridiculous and wrong. This kind of arrogance is why so many people are rebelling against man-made global warming – whether it’s true or not.
Your charts and statistics are fine and should be considered fully, but denigrating the misguided “non-believer” (as was done in the comic strip and at the end of the blog) does nothing but hurt your cause.
I certainly did not wish to denigrate anyone.
The cartoon did make a very good point about how science is conveyed all too often in this country right now. Still, It was a borderline decision to post it- I tend to separate out the politics from the science in my posts.
The thing to remember is that science is science, and it does not change based on one’s poltiical beliefs. If the science doesn’t happen to fit with your political beliefs it does not make it any less true. I’m amazed at how often I get called a “Liberal, lefty etc” when I post anything on climate change.
You are my favorite meteorologist and have been since you warned us of a tornado back in 1996 that no one else saw. We were able to get to the shelter. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers…
I am certain the planet is warming. Since I am not a scientist, I have to cull through a lot of information and try to draw the best conclusion I can. I am not certain the warming is manmade or based on solar cycles or if it is a combination of both. In my reading, it seems like a lot of really smart people — scientists — disagree. So I’m keeping an open mind there.
What I don’t understand is this… A year or two ago, the people who were pushing the climate change agenda so furiously were telling us that we would have stronger, more frequent hurricanes and our winters would have less and less snow. Now this year, we are being told there is going to be more snow because there is more water vapor in the air. Further, just a day or two ago, the Decatur Daily ran an article that said we would have fewer and fewer hurricanes (but the ones we do have may well be stronger).
It is all just so confusing. Can you help us understand?
Your question goes tot he heart of why I write the wild wild science journal. It deserves a good answer. One that is better than what I will probably end up doing below!
The media in general have done a rather horrible job of covering climate science. They are used to always presenting both sides of an issue, but science is not a democracy. All scientific ideas are not equal.
Peer review is how science works and it does a good job of separating out the politics and discredited ideas from being raised over and over.
Too many times the newspapers/TV have quoted a peer reviewed study and then gone out and found someone who disagrees to get their quote. Most of the time the person who disagrees has done no climate research at all or even published anything in the journals on the subject.
This gives people the idea that scientists are divided. They are certainly not. (Search Oreskes on my blog).
Consider that of the several thousand researchers publishing climate or related science in the journals, only a small handful would tell you that the IPCC and the rest have it all wrong. Every major science body on the planet has endorsed the IPCC reports. That should tell you something.
The media (especially certain media) need to do a much better job of covering science. Unfortunately, many of the best science journalists are seeing their jobs disappear. Especially in the newspaper industry.
The BBC has done an admirable job of covering the issue and so has Andy Revkin of the NYT. There are exceptions I can think of on both, but all in all not bad. CBS is also usually good. Fox news is so bad that most researchers in the field would not even give them the courtesy of a call back to say no.
So what does the average person do??
Ask yourself, is the story a summary of peer reviewed research? If not be wary. If someone is commenting on a paper, ask yourself if they are qualified to do so. The world’s top journals publish some exc. non scientist material. The best is Nature Reports Climate Change which covers just the science in that field. It’s free and online.
I am glad to answer specific questions in this space anytime. Unfortunately I mainly get sent links to extremist blogs in answers to my posts.
The most popular online site for climate science skeptics is run by a TV weatherman who has never even spent enough time in a college classroom to get an undergraduate degree in ANY science field. The other one is run by a former political aide to a right wing senator who was the laughing stock of both sides of the aisle for his belief that climate change is a giant hoax.
That speaks volumes I think.
So, I just try and write up summaries here of the latest science with facts. I also will link to other good writing on science.
I agree that things have gotten too politicized. I think the thing that many on the right are concerned about is the Global solution to Global Warming. If the US shuts down everything they are doing tomorrow and others don’t, will it make a big impact on things? Personally it appears to me that there isn’t much we can do about it. I also think that those who legitimately and thoughtfully believe in MMGW have been done a dis-service by those who are hi-jacking it for political purporses and by some of the “doomsday” claims that have given us 10 years before we all die. I agree that the opposite of this has happened on the right.
Do you believe that there’s much we can do about Global Warming or is it something we’ll have to learn to live with?
Thanks. I appreciate and enjoy thoughtful discussion on this.
I have certainly seen some claims on both sides of the political spectrum that cannot be supported by the science. 90% on the right and about 10% on the left.
I have never seen any claim that we have 10 years to catastrophe. I would love to write a blog post about that!
Scientific facts live independently of political opinion. Something good to remember.
I really appreciate the info in your response and I see the point you are making about paying attention to the source. The talking heads on the cable news usually give no biographical background on their “experts,” so most people just “trust” them because they are on tv.