18 January 2017

NOAA/NASA 2016 Hottest On Record- 3rd In a Row.

Posted by Dan Satterfield

h/t to Zack Labe for the plot of the NASA GISS Data.

NOAA released the animation below that illustrates how the planet has warmed over the last 130 years. They also noted:

The 12 hottest years on record have all been since 1998. The odds of that happening in a stable climate are astronomical.

The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the highest on record, 1.35 degree F above average.

The globally-averaged land surface temperature was the highest on record, 2.57 degrees F above average.

North America had its warmest year on record; South America and Africa had their second; Asia and Europe had their third, and Australia had its fifth.

The average Arctic sea ice extent for the year was 3.92 million square miles, the smallest annual average since record-keeping began in 1979.

The average Antarctic sea ice extent for the year was 4.31 million square miles, the second smallest annual average since record-keeping began in 1979.

The UAH Satellite temperature record of the lower Troposphere (bottom 8km or so) also was the hottest in its 36-year data set. Keep in mind though that the derived satellite temperatures are the least reliable data set since it requires significant adjustments to account for changing sensors on different satellites and orbital drift, which also require correction estimates.

The Arctic Sea ice continues to run at astonishingly low levels. To say that the ice extent has fallen off a cliff is not hyperbole. Look at the graphs below:


It doesn’t take long looking around the Internet to find a bevvy of ridiculous propaganda about the data above, so let’s put to bed a few of the most common myths you will see:

We are just coming out of the ice age!
We reached the warmest period after the ice age ended from about 9 to 5,000 years before present. This is called the Mid-Holocene Optimum (MHO) and was the result of increased sunlight in northern latitudes due to Earths orbit around the sun. After this, the temperature began to slowly cool and this was not reversed until the rise in greenhouse gases. We are now warmer than it was in the MHO. Even if it were warmer then, the greenhouse gases are still trapping heat, so do not fall into this logical fallacy. It’s never one or the other, it is always ALL the forcings!

It’s the sun

No, it’s not. The sun has actually been rather quiet and we would have cooled slightly if it were not for the greenhouse gases. Even if it were warming, this still does not remove the greenhouse gases which are trapping heat. Again, it is ALL the forcings.

The Data is being manipulated!

Yes, pro-wrestling is real/the Moon landing was faked, and we are being sprayed by chemtrails. Thousands of scientists are all colluding secretly to do what exactly? Psychologists call this conspiracy ideation. Also, see Gateway beliefs.

30,000 scientists signed a petition!
This is an oldie, and I did a story on this 10 years ago- HERE. There is virtually nothing in the peer-reviewed literature that calls into doubt the IPCC/NASA/NOAA/AMS/AGU/AASS statements on climate change. Every major science body on Earth agrees. If you think they’re all wrong, read a physics book before typing something on Facebook. 

It’s El Nino!

The warmest years are indeed El Nino years, but the greenhouse gases are causing successive El Nino years to be even warmer. This graphic courtesy of Climate Central shows what’s really happening; With no El Nino, this next year will probably not be as warm as 2016, but that doesn’t mean the greenhouse gases are trapping more heat. It’s ALL of the forcings!

Lastly, you should just ask yourself this simple question when you read something online about climate change; Does this person have a background in science and specifically in this field. If not, are they a science writer for a mainstream high-quality news outlet like the AP or the NY Times/Wash. Post. If not, you are probably being told what they think you want to hear. See this excellent piece on confirmation bias by one of the best science journalists out there, Chris Mooney.

Other Voices
Some good writing out there today about the NASA/NOAA announcement. You can get reliably good info from those listed below:

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters at WeatherUnderground

Jason Samenow at the Wash. Post: 

Hat tip to my friend Sean Potter at NASA for posting the summary of the NASA press conf. with the slides.

More perspective from Seth Borenstein at AP.