The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is claiming that 2010 is the hottest year on record.
USA Today trumpeted: “World sizzles to record for the year” — a headline picked up by many major media outlets. Jay Lawrimore, climate analysis chief at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, said:
It’s part of an overall trend. Global temperatures have been rising for the last 100-plus years. Much of the increase is due to increases in greenhouse gases.
There are many things wrong with this statement. First, the most obvious, eh, problem: the year was only half over at the time.
If your horse leads halfway through the race, do you get to collect your winnings? If the price of a barrel of oil is $100.00, will that be the price at the end of December? If the day starts sunny and dry, does that mean it won’t rain in the afternoon?
He strongly implies that this year’s warmth is consistent with the theory that greenhouse gases from humans burning fossil fuels makes the earth warmer: it’s our fault.
Consistent. The sun moving from east to west across the sky is consistent with the theory that the Sun orbits the Earth. Something being consistent with something else is proof of nothing, and not worth stating.
It’s true, 2010 got off to a warm start. Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says the first six months of this year were the second warmest since the satellite-measured temperature era began in 1979, and satellite-measured temperature is more accurate than temperature measured at weather stations on Earth. Weather stations on the Earth’s surface are subject to modifying influences, such as cities growing around thermometers that were once rural 50 to 100 years ago. As the cities grow around the thermometers, the long-term temperature trend slowly rises. The buildings, roads, and other paved surfaces add heat to the local climate, corrupting any long-term trend.
Also — changes in the types of thermometers used and changes in their location can corrupt long-term accuracy. Satellite-measured temperatures do not suffer these significant problems and are therefore more reliable.
The warmth of the first half of this year is from being the leftover heat generated by this past winter’s El Nino. The warm Pacific waters of El Nino heat the entire planet. The warmest year in the last 30 was in 1998, a year that featured a record large and record warm El Nino.
But what about the remainder of 2010? Will it continue to be the “hottest ever”? More than likely, no. A La Nina is developing in the Pacific — the cooler sister of El Nino. La Nina will refrigerate the planet during the second half of the year. By the end of the year it is likely that 2010 will be nowhere near the “hottest ever,” because of La Nina’s chilly personality.
Other troubling statements have been coming from NOAA, which makes me wonder if this agency might be following the same path as NASA.
Also from Jay Lawrimore, regarding this past winter’s record snows in the middle Atlantic states:
Heavy snow, like the record snows that crippled Baltimore and Washington last winter, is likely to increase because storms are moving north.
This is a baffling statement coming from someone in charge of a large government agency, supposedly educated about the ways of weather. If the storms are moving farther north, the warm air to the south of the low-pressure system would bring rain to the mid-Atlantic region — not record snow. This should be clear to a college freshman studying meteorology. Furthermore, the reality is that the storms did not move farther north last winter: they went south! Examination of the storm tracks of last winter’s storms shows that they tracked much further south than in previous winters. The paths the storms took actually greatly resembled the storm tracks of the 60s and 70s. The record snows in the mid-Atlantic region were a direct result of a more southerly storm track, not northerly.
Most of New England had below average snowfall last winter because the storms never got that far north!
Another rather remarkable statement from NOAA:
Also the Great Lakes aren’t freezing as early or as much. As cold outbreaks occur, cold air goes over the Great Lakes, picks up moisture, and dumps on the Northeast.
Any meteorologist knows that as cold air moves over the Great Lakes, the moisture that is picked up is immediately dumped on the local area — lake effect snow. None of it ever influences snowfall in Baltimore, Washington, or any other city or town removed from the Great Lakes area. Moisture from the Great Lakes had no effect on the coastal storms that buried the mid-Atlantic states in record snow last winter, or any other winter. This knowledge is so fundamental that it make one wonder if the statements coming from NOAA are based on politics rather than science.
And by the way: Lake Erie froze over last winter. For the first time in 14 years.
It is no secret that NOAA and NASA have been “adjusting” global temperature records towards the warmer side. Detailed and meticulous studies by meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts have revealed that these agencies have systematically worked to cool the warmer temperatures of the past and warm the temperatures of more recent times. The result of these changes to the temperature database is to make any current trend in temperature look warmer — more alarming.
It’s easy to have “the hottest year ever” when you’ve adjusted the recent temperatures up and the past temperatures down. This is the true cause of “man-made global warming.”
So far 2010 has been warm, but the developing La Nina should have a significant chilling effect on the remaining months. Don’t bet the ranch, or any other property, on 2010 being the hottest year ever.