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NASA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far

Joseph Romm's picture
, American Progress
  • Member since 2018
  • 1,651 items added with 368,059 views
  • Nov 12, 2010

Last month, NASA reported it was the hottest January-September on record.  That followed a terrific analysis, “July 2010 — What Global Warming Looks Like,” which noted that 2010 is “likely” to be warmest year on record.

This month continues the trend of 2010 outpacing previous years, according to NASA:

October 2010 NASA

It now seems pretty certain 2010 will outpace 1998, which currently ties for fourth hottest year in the NASA dataset (though it is technically described by NASA folks as tied for the second hottest year with 2005 and 2007).

Outpacing 2005, the hottest year on record, will be closer.  In NASA’s surface-based dataset, we are unlikely to set the record monthly temperatures for the rest of this year; last month wasn’t close to the hottest October for NASA, though it was third warmest.  We  have entered a moderate to strong La Niña, which NOAA says is “expected to last at least through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2010-11.”  That said, as you can see, the October anomaly (deviation from the 1951-1980 average) was higher than September, in spite of the La Niña.

NASA’s surface-based temperature record appears to be the most accurate, as I’ve noted many times (see Finally, the truth about the Hadley/CRU data: “The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming”).

As I discussed earlier, last month, the hottest September in UAH satellite record, puzzled Roy Spencer with its “stubborn” temperatures.  He now concedes that this year is likely to tie 1998 for the hottest year in the UAH satellite record (see “January-to-October tied for hottest in satellite record“).

For what it’s worth, here’s the latest UAH data, which, at least until it’s ‘adjusted’, shows what appears to be the warmest early November on record:

UAH 11-10+

Finally, it bears repeating that the record warmth we are seeing this year is all the more powerful evidence of human-caused warming “because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” as a recent must-read NASA paper noted:

It is just hard to stop the march of human caused global warming — other than by sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Geoffrey Styles's picture
Geoffrey Styles on Nov 12, 2010

This practice of breathlessly reporting the warmest year-so-far–especially when the increment over the “2nd warmest of 131 years” is only 0.03°C–is precisely what opened the door to that nonsense about global cooling a few years ago.  It’s clear from Hansen’s “technically described by NASA folks as tied for the second hottest year with 2005 and 2007” comment that the deltas separating these years are beyond the accuracy of the measurements, which means that the 0.03° separating 2010 and 2005 must be, as well. Climate change matters not because one year is warmer or cooler than another, but because of the long-term, decade by decade warming trend. 

Stephen Gloor's picture
Stephen Gloor on Nov 13, 2010

Geoffrey Styles – “This practice of breathlessly reporting the warmest year-so-far ……”

Not really as it really sticks it to the “it hasn’t warmed since 1998” crowd.  As well to the “its the sun” people that predicted another Maunder Minimum with the current quiet sun.

They have gone really quiet now.

The people that know have been pointing out the long term trends and saying that these matter.  Really this is more to silence the people that want to cherry-pick certain decades.

Geoffrey Styles's picture
Geoffrey Styles on Nov 13, 2010

No, Stephen, it reduces the whole exercise to a game of alternating “gotcha”, unless you think we’ll never have another unusually cool year again.   

Joseph Romm's picture
Thank Joseph for the Post!
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