Thursday, January 14, 2010

Severe winter storms in Europe don't tell us about GLOBAL climate change

(interesting article in Media Matters that caught my eye. Everyone is tempted to look out the window and assume the weather floating over their heads has global implications. It's hard - even for meteorologists - to keep a true, global perspective. That's why climate scientists exist - to look at the big, long-term picture. Maybe I'm nuts, but I still believe the vast majority of climatologists who continue to believe that GLOBAL temperatures are warming steadily over time. No vast conspiracy theories - if the planet was truly cooling you couldn't possibly keep 3,000 to 5,000 climate scientists quiet, all towing the line, all "covering up" the truth).

While some of Northern Hemisphere is seeing cold winter storms this year, many parts of globe experiencing temperatures "above normal." In a January 7 blog post, The Christian Science Monitor noted that "[s]ome parts of Northern New Zealand are sweltering in record breaking heat this week. And oddly enough, so are some places in Bulgaria, where a hot spot over the Black Sea has warmed one town to a pleasant 72 degrees. Not bad for a city at the same latitude as Portland, Maine." The Christian Science Monitor also noted, "On Christmas Day, the Australian Weather Bureau reported that Central Pacific Ocean temperatures are now at their warmest in more than a decade. For Australia itself, 2009 was a scorcher, the second hottest year on record after 2005." The U.K. Met Office Hadley Center similarly noted in a January 6 press release that "it is not cold everywhere in the world. North-east America, Canada, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and south-west Asia have all seen temperatures above normal -- in many places by more than 5 C, and in parts of northern Canada, by more than 10°C."

Met Office: Climate change "has to be looked at in a global context and over longer periods of time." The Met Office said in its January 6 press release that "current cold weather in the UK is part of the normal regional variations that take place in the winter season. It doesn't tell us anything about climate change, which has to be looked at in a global context and over longer periods of time."

Globally, 2009 among warmest years on record. A January 5 U.K. Independent article reported: "The Met Office's Barry Gromett said December and January's cold weather was 'within the bounds of natural variability' within a global trend of rising temperatures -- in which 2009 is set to be the fifth warmest year on record." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has similarly stated that 2009 "will likely finish as the fourth, fifth, or sixth warmest year on record." NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) further noted that based on global surface temperature data through November, 2009 is the fourth warmest year on record.

WMO: "2000-2009, The Warmest Decade." In a December 8, 2009, press release, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that "[t]he decade of the 2000s (2000-2009) was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s (1990-1999), which in turn was warmer than the 1980s (1980-1989)." On December 8, 2009, NOAA also stated that according to a preliminary analysis by the National Climatic Data Center, "[t]he 2000--2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.96 degree F above the 20th century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.65 degree F." Bloomberg further reported on December 8, 2009, that "[o]f the 10 hottest years on record, nine occurred in the 2000s, according to the Met Office, which said it expected temperatures to keep rising as a result of greenhouse-gas emissions." The article further noted that "[g]lobal temperatures are expressed by the Met Office as an 'anomaly' from the long-term average. The 2000s were about 0.4 of a degree warmer than the 1961 to 1990 average, eclipsing the record 0.23-degree temperature anomaly of the 1990s, it said."

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