Notice Anything Different?

The planet is warming at a startling pace, just over the course of the lifetime of a 30 year old we’ve seen the above temperature jump. In planetary terms this is the fastest temperature increase since the asteroid strike the wiped out the Dinosaurs. Sometimes an image like this can take the place of ten thousand words. We need to cut carbon and we need to do it now. Via the fantastic team at Treehugger.

-To stay in the loop join our Facebook page grab the RSS feed or join us on Twitter @ElectroVelocity –

Enter your email address for free daily updates – Never miss a story!

Powered by FeedBurner

Via Earth Observatory @ NASA

The world is getting warmer. Whether the cause is human activity or natural variability, thermometer readings all around the world have risen steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8°Celsius (1.4°Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.

The maps above show temperature anomalies, or changes, for 2000-2009 (top) and 1970-1979. The maps do not depict absolute temperature, but how much warmer or colder a region is compared to the norm for that same region from 1951-1980. That period was chosen largely because the U.S. National Weather Service uses a three-decade period to define “normal” or average temperature. The GISS temperature analysis effort began around 1980, so the most recent 30 years were 1951-1980. It is also a period when many of today’s adults grew up, so it is a common reference that many people can remember.

To conduct its analysis, GISS uses publicly available data from 6,300 meteorological stations around the world; ship-based and satellite observations of sea surface temperature; and Antarctic research station measurements. These three data sets are loaded into a computer analysis program—available for public download from the GISS web site—that calculates trends in temperature anomalies relative to the average temperature for the same month during 1951-1980.

The objective, according to GISS scientists, is to provide an estimate of temperature change that can be compared with predictions of global climate change in response to atmospheric carbon dioxide, aerosols, and changes in solar activity.

The temperatures we experience locally and in short periods can fluctuate significantly due to predictable cyclical events (night and day, summer and winter) and hard-to-predict wind and precipitation patterns. But the global temperature mainly depends on how much energy the planet receives from the Sun and how much it radiates back into space—quantities that change very little. The amount of energy emitted by the Earth depends significantly on the chemical composition of the atmosphere, particularly the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks


34 Comments

Stephen A.

Sorry, but warming globally has stopped in the past decade. Using varying years to measure the changes may ‘trick’ us into believing otherwise, but frankly, the game has been shown to be a fraud. Long-term trends (caused by solar activity and other NATURAL patterns established over billions of years, not in the last 100) show a cooling, not a warming, pattern.

John Russell

No, it hasn’t been cooling since 1998. Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn’t the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What’s more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.

Though humans love record-breakers, they don’t, on their own, tell us a much about trends — and it’s trends that matter when monitoring Climate Change. Trends only appear by looking at all the data, globally, and taking into account other variables — like the effects of the El Nino ocean current or sunspot activity — not by cherry-picking single points.

There’s also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called ‘thermal mass’) — tend to give a much more ‘steady’ indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there’s no signs of it slowing any time soon.

Based on the global surface record compiled by the Hadley Centre and the global UAH satellite record there has been warming over the past decade.
http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3vgl.txt
http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

Plotting the two temperature records for the last 10 years shows that:
· The surface record showed a linear increase of 0.062 degrees C per decade
· The satellite record showed a linear increase of 0.059 degrees C per decade

barry schwarz

“A simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1 °C per decade.”

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/2.html

barry schwarz

@ Stephen A – You didn’t quote any actual scientific studies in your assertations, because there aren’t any.

We’ve lost 27% of global glaciers since 1996 and 14% of the Arctic ice cap since 1995. How do you explain that? Is ice in on your hair-brained conspiracy? Oil companies have funded the significant studies that magically show no warming, all impartial studies show a solid warming trend over the past 150 years.

Open your eyes.

Michael Bayliss

The question of global warming stopping is often raised in the light of a recent weather event – a big snowfall or drought breaking rain. Global warming is entirely compatible with these events; after all they are just weather. For climate change, it is the long term trends that are important; measured over decades or more, and those long term trends show that the globe is still, unfortunately, warming. Read more – http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm

The question of global warming stopping is often raised in the light of a recent weather event – a big snowfall or drought breaking rain. Global warming is entirely compatible with these events; after all they are just weather. For climate change, it is the long term trends that are important; measured over decades or more, and those long term trends show that the globe is still, unfortunately, warming. Read more – http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm

No, it hasn’t been cooling since 1998. Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn’t the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What’s more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010. Though humans love record-breakers, they don’t, on their own, tell us a much about trends — and it’s trends that matter when monitoring Climate Change. Trends only appear by looking at all the data, globally, and taking into account other variables — like the effects of the El Nino ocean current or sunspot activity — not by cherry-picking single points. There’s also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called ‘thermal mass’) — tend to give a much more ‘steady’ indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there’s no signs of it slowing any time soon.

Based on the global surface record compiled by the Hadley Centre and the global UAH satellite record there has been warming over the past decade. http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3vgl.txt http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2 Plotting the two temperature records for the last 10 years shows that: · The surface record showed a linear increase of 0.062 degrees C per decade · The satellite record showed a linear increase of 0.059 degrees C per decade

It’s actually quite simple. Go to http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ and download the document “Global-mean monthly, seasonal, and annual means, 1880-present, updated through most recent month”.
Draw your own graph. I made this from it: http://cl.ly/1q0k2o1G0t2e0V0Z0k1n

The blue line is data from the GISS; the red is an exponential moving average with alpha=0.05 (hence why it takes a few months to look realistic).

The overall best-fit straight-line gradient is equivalent to 0.07 Cº per year across the whole period. You can see for yourselves the decades where the increase rate has been above-average.

1998-2001 were indeed a drop – but look how insignificant to the overall picture!


Leave a Comment

Best Green Blogs