NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer

It’s raining today….but we’ve already had the hottest 6 months ever recorded- read the bottom of this post about the “Frankenstorms” that have begun to hit the US….

We’re getting a dramatic taste of the kind of weather we are on course to bequeath to our grandchildren,” says Tom Peterson, Chief Scientist for NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

from Climate Progress:

July 10, 2010

Jan-Jun 2010

Following fast on the heels of the hottest Jan-May — and spring — in the temperature record, it’s also the hottest Jan-June on record in the NASA dataset [click on figure to enlarge].

It’s 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 notes.

[For daily updates on climate science, politics, and solutions, click here.]

Software engineer (and former machinist mate in the US Navy) Timothy Chase put together a spreadsheet using the data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (click here).  In NASA’s dataset, the 12-month running average temperature record was actually just barely set in March — and then easily set in April and topped out in May.

It still seems likely that 2010 will be the hottest year on record, but NOAA now predicts that “La Niña conditions are likely to develop during July – August 2010.”  If the La Niña comes fast and deep (as in 1998 and 2007), that could make it a close call in the NASA dataset — and even more so in the satellite record, which is much more sensitive to ENSO ( El Niño Southern oscillation).

GISS nino

Blue curve: 12-month running-mean global temperature.   Note correlation with Nino index (red = El Nino, blue = La Nina).   Large volcanoes (green) have a cooling effect for ~2 years.  Source: Global Surface Temperature Change,” by James Hansen et al., June 2010.

Interestingly, June was tied for the third hottest on record for NASA, but was essentially tied for the hottest June in the RSS satellite record (and second hottest in the constantly tweaked UAH satellite dataset).

Although I’m sure it’s just another coincidence, but Rutgers University’s Global Snow Lab again reports a record low snow cover in the entire northern hemisphere for the month of June (what appears to be a long term trend):

Rutgers snow 6-10

Other coincidences include New daily high temperature records beat new cold records by nearly 5 to 1 in June:

And of course, meteorologist Jeff Masters reported on June 26 records are being set globally:

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks….  The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C–110.8°F–set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

We’ve now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia’s hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan….  This week’s heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

And we’ve just had the 500-year deluges in Oklahoma City and China and Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge.

There still are lots of different ways to write about it, lots of different climate scientist interview to put it in context (see here) — and lots of different ways for media to dance around the subject [see “How hot is it? So hot that even the Washington Post mentions climate change (though not what causes it):  A survey of media coverage of the monster heat wave”].


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