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Posts Tagged ‘NOAA

North India 2014, much dust, more heat, late rain

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NOAA_CPC_panels_201405_25_to_31

The sweltering of North India, aggravated by manic urbanisation, just as manic use of personal automobiles, the steady thinning of tree canopies, and small businesses forced to buy diesel generators – in the tens of thousands, each emitting hot fumes that further trap already heated layers of sooty air – is an annual pre-monsoon epic that no-one has the energy to write.

This panel of four maps shows us where India baked during the last week of 2014 May (and now, Delhi has experienced a record its residents did not want). The high temperature belts (top left map), 40-45 Celsius, covered most of central and north-western India (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Gangetic Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi). Minimum temperatures (top right), 20-15 Celsius, are seen in two pockets – south interior Karnataka and in the North-East over Manipur and Mizoram.

These temperature maps may be read with the rainfall for the same period, 2014 May 25-31, to correlate particularly the temperature anomalies (how much higher or lower the normal maxima and minima have departed) with where it has rained. The rainfall map (lower left) shows rain having fallen over south Karnataka, but also north West Bengal and eastern Bihar, coastal Odisha and southern Haryana. These appear to relate to a group of anomalies (lower right): the first being interior Tamil Nadu, north-eastern Karnataka and adjacent Andhra Pradesh; the second being eastern Uttar Pradesh and adjacent Bihar. [You can get the four maps in this zip file.]

Read these from top left - 21, 22 and 23 June. Lower row - 24, 25 and 26 June. The green shading is the rain-bearing cloud cover. After 20 June the peninsula will have rain in most meteorological zone but North and north-west India will still await the monsoon system.

Read these from top left – 21, 22 and 23 June. Lower row – 24, 25 and 26 June. The green shading is the rain-bearing cloud cover. After 20 June the peninsula will have rain in most meteorological zone but North and north-west India will still await the monsoon system.

What these don’t show, but which the longer range forecast Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune, Maharashtra) has on record, is that monsoon 2014 will not touch northern India until the fourth week of June. Rain-bearing cloud and wind systems will cover, in this forecast, peninsular India by around the 16th or 17th of June, but it will be another week before they deliver some relief to the cemented and asphalted surfaces of the National Capital Territory and its parched surroundings.

These very helpful maps are used by the Pune-based met researchers as part of their monsoon monitoring and forecasting partnership with several international climatoloigcal research institutes, chief amongst them the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the USA through its Climate Prediction Centre.

The Tropmet – as the Pune group is usually called – has bequeathed to us a definition (perhaps for this season only, subject to revision when climate change asserts itself) of monsoon rain that is in part scientific and in part geographic, which I think is a good sign (the Indian Meteorological Department will disagree, but we know better). The faster Tropmet decides to communicate in language appreciated, and understood, by Bharatiya citizens, the more said citizens will find an interest in correcting the misconceptions of scientists.

Tropmet says: “Rainfall within the summer monsoon season is mainly punctuated by the northward propagating monsoon intraseasonal oscillations (MISOs) with timescales of 30-60 days that manifests as spells of heavy rainfall and periods of quiescent rainfall, instead of a continuous deluge.” In the Konkan, we like our continuous deluge and the old-timers would have sixteen names for different sorts of deluge (and an equally rich chest of monsoon nouns for other sorts of rain).

Arctic report card 2012

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The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has emphasised the “dramatic impact of persistent warming in the Arctic”, a region that many earth science institutes and networks have said witnessed numerous record-setting melting events in 2012.

The introduction to the ‘report card’ itself – this is run by the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through its Climate Program Office, Arctic Research Program – said that the Arctic region continued to break records in 2012. Among these records broken is the loss of summer sea ice, spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet. “This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade.” said the Arctic Report Card 2012.

The report has mentioned with particular concern:

1. Record low snow extent and low sea ice extent occurred in June and September, respectively.
2. Growing season length is increasing along with tundra greenness and above-ground biomass. Below the tundra, record high permafrost temperatures occurred in northernmost Alaska.
3. Duration of melting was the longest observed yet on the Greenland ice sheet, and a rare, nearly ice sheet-wide melt event occurred in July.
4. Massive phytoplankton blooms below summer sea ice suggest previous estimates of ocean primary productivity might be ten times too low.
5. Arctic fox is close to extinction in Fennoscandia and vulnerable to further changes in the lemming cycle and the encroaching Red fox.
6. Severe weather events included extreme cold and snowfall in Eurasia, and two major storms with deep central pressure and strong winds offshore of western and northern Alaska.

Written by makanaka

January 6, 2013 at 21:11

We are stifled by growth greed, our air reeks of carbon dioxide

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An image from the Atlas of Health and Climate, a joint publication by the World Meteorological Organization and the World Health Organization: “Human health is profoundly affected by weather and climate. Extreme weather events kill tens of thousands of people every year and undermine the physical and psychological health of millions. Droughts directly affect nutrition and the incidence of diseases associated with malnutrition. Floods and cyclones can trigger outbreaks of infectious diseases and damage hospitals and other health infrastructure, overwhelming health services just when they are needed most.”

The World Meteorological Organization has said that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011. Between 1990 and 2011 there was a 30% increase in what the climate scientists call “radiative forcing” – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases.

Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, according to the WMO’s 2011 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere as CO2, most of this from fossil fuel combustion.

Our stifling (and that of the flora and fauna with which we share our Earth, and who are victims as much as we are) is taking place because about half of this CO2 remains in the atmosphere (the rest gets absorbed by the oceans and biospheres, usually forests – which are being cut down at a fearsome rate – around the world).

Do they learn and listen? Not at all, as this report in The Guardian has just explained. More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research by the World Resources Institute has revealed. The huge planned expansion comes despite warnings – such as this one from the WMO – that the planet’s fast-rising carbon emissions must peak within a few years if runaway climate change is to be avoided. Coal plants are the most polluting of all power stations and the World Resources Institute identified 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India. The capacity of the new plants add up to 1,400GW to global greenhouse gas emissions. India is planning 455 new plants compared to 363 in China.

“These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on earth,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “Future emissions will only compound the situation.”

This eighth WMO-Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Annual Bulletin reports on the atmospheric burdens and rates of change of the most important long-lived greenhouse gases (very unhelpfully acronymed as ‘LLGHGs’, which is rivalled perhaps in unwieldiness by ‘LULUCF’). These are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC-12 and CFC-11.

Radiative forcing, relative to 1750, of all the long-lived greenhouse gases. The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), which is indexed to 1 for the year 1990, is shown on the right axis. Chart: NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division

The three greenhouse gases we are most familiar with – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4)and nitrous oxide (N2O) – are closely linked to anthropogenic activities, and interact strongly with the biosphere and the oceans.

Predicting the evolution of the atmospheric content of greenhouse gases requires an understanding of their many sources, sinks and chemical transformations in the atmosphere. There we are helped by the NOAA’s (the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Annual Greenhouse Gas Indexin 2011 this index was 1.30, representing an increase in total radiative forcing by all long-lived greenhouse gases of 30% since 1990 and of 1.2% from 2010 to 2011. Read that again – more than one per cent from 2010 to 2011! What do the G20 governments and multinationals do not understand by these numbers? Are we to believe that the same people who design complex financial derivatives don’t get climate change math?

Written by makanaka

November 21, 2012 at 21:02

How warm-hot-wet was 2012 September where you live?

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Land-ocean temperature anomalies in 2012 September. Map: NOAA-NCDC

Wondering what global warming has to do with violent rainstorms, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and other enormous destructive and very wet (and cold) weather phenomena you may have experienced in 2012 September? Here is an answer, provided by the ever-watchful (and woefully under-appreciated) National Climatic Data Center of the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In its ‘State of the Climate’, global analysis for 2012 September, the NOAA-NCDC has said:

(1) The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2012 tied with 2005 as the warmest September on record, at 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F). Records began in 1880.
(2) The globally-averaged land surface temperature for September 2012 was the third warmest September on record, at 1.02°C (1.84°F) above average. The globally-averaged ocean surface temperature tied with 1997 as the second warmest September on record, at 0.54°C (0.97°F) above average.
(3) The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January–September 2012 was the eighth warmest such period on record, at 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average.

This was the third warmest September over land in the Northern Hemisphere and fourth warmest in the Southern Hemisphere. In the higher northern latitudes, parts of east central Russia observed record warmth, as did parts of Venezuela, French Guiana, and northern Brazil closer to the tropics. Nearly all of South America was much warmer than average as were western Australia and central to eastern Europe. Far eastern Russia, a few regions in southern Africa, and parts of China were cooler than average.

Major significant climate anomalies and events in 2012 September. Map: NOAA-NCDC

Moreover, this was the second warmest summer (June–August) for Hungary since national records began in 1900; Australia experienced its third warmest September since records began in 1950, with the nationally-averaged maximum temperature 1.94°C (3.49°F) above the 1961–1990 average; in Argentina the monthly-averaged daily, maximum, and minimum temperatures were all above normal (and remember both Australia and Argentina are both wheat producers and exporters); Japan observed record warmth during September, the greatest warmth was observed across northern Japan (regions of Hokkaido and Tohuko), which was 3.7°C (6.7°F) above average; in Britain, the average September temperature was 0.7°C (1.3°F) below the 1981–2010 average and was the coolest September for the region since 1994 (that’s certainly linked to the Arctic sea ice melting at a record rate this year).

Written by makanaka

November 2, 2012 at 15:46

What ails the South Asian monsoon?

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Rainfall in India’s meteorological sub-divisions for the 2012 monsoon. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has finally admitted that this year will be a drought, as it has forecast rainfall for August and September as “below normal”. Map: IMD

This set of images helps explain the worrying 2012 monsoon season in South Asia and why drought conditions are emerging in more districts with every passing week.

We are coming up to the eight-week mark of the 2012 monsoon (taking the 04-06 June date as the ‘normal’ for the monsoon to become active over south-west India, after which the climatological system slowly advances over the peninsula and up into northern India).

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has not helped, by maintaining a scientific detachment between forecasting science and the dire situation of farmers and consumers. With emergency drought programmes new being rolled out in many states (more than a month late), the IMD’s refusal to speak plainly to those who need the information the most is unpardonable.

Worse, the Department on its website and its communications walls off its forecasting behind a very unfriendly science interface (see this commentary for a detailed explanation), and appears oblivious about its responsibilities to those for whom it exists – the citizens of India who are waiting for rain.

This set of images (strips below, you can click on the images for the full-size versions) describes what the IMD ought to be disseminating (but stubbornly refuses to). These are 24, 48, 72 and 96 hour regional forecasts for South Asia of accumulated precipitation and temperature extremes.

Day 1 – 02 Aug 2012

Day 2 – 03 Aug 2012

Day 3 – 04 Aug 2012

Day 4 – 05 Aug 2012

The four regions you see in the panels are Peninsular India and Sri Lanka, Western India and Pakistan, Northern & Central India and Nepal, and Eastern India and Bangladesh. These are from the monsoon forecasting sub-site of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies – of the Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES) – which processes and synthesises data from the NOAA/NCEP, which is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, the US government agency), National Centers for Environmental Prediction. These regional weather forecasts are presented as a running four-day ensemble of images showing daily forecasts of 2-metre temperature minima and maxima and accumulated precipitation covering the four sub-regions.

Climate change truth wallops USA hard

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These records are based on the historical daily observations archived in NCDC’s Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations, and as such are subject to change. The Period of Record (POR) represents the number of years with a minimum of 50% data completeness. All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years. Map: NOAA-NCDC

On 2012 June 28 in the USA, 205 high temperature records were broken and 74 were tied, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

An intense heat wave broke records in more than a dozen states on Friday, and spawned one of the most damaging severe thunderstorm events seen in years. At least 3 million Americans, mainly in areas from Indiana Southeast to Virginia, were facing the prospect of another day of triple-digit heat heat.

From Atlanta to Baltimore, temperatures approached or exceeded triple digits. Atlanta set a record with a high of 105 degrees, while the temperature hit 99 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just outside the nation’s capital.

There were numerous daily, monthly, and all-time record high temperatures established on Friday. In total, there were 276 record daily high temperatures set or tied on Friday, along with 70 record warm overnight low temperature records. There were also 96 monthly record high temperatures, and 37 all-time high temperature records set or tied.

For the year-to-date, warm temperature records are outpacing cold temperature records by a ration of 7-to-1. Since January 1 there have been 21,402 daily high temperature records set, compared to just 3,338 daily records for cold high temperatures, according to a database maintained by the National Climatic Data Center.

In a long-term trend that demonstrates the effects of a warming climate, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-to-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm. According to a 2009 study, if the climate were not warming, this ratio would be expected to be even.

Written by makanaka

July 4, 2012 at 10:47

A warming northern hemisphere opens year 2012

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Climatic Data Center global climate anomalies map for 2011 November.

The US agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has through its National Climatic Data Center which monitor climate, released the 2011 November temperatures, temperature anomalies and precipitation report. This report and the accompanying charts continue the long set of readings and observations on global warming and climate change.

According to the UK Met Office, November 2011 was the second warmest November on record for the United Kingdom, Behind 1994, at 2.9°C (5.2°F) above normal. Provisionally, Scotland recorded its warmest November on record.

In Asia, China reported its third warmest November since national records began in 1951, according to the Beijing Climate Center. It was the warmest November on record in 12 provinces and second warmest in four provinces.

Cooler-than-average regions around the globe included Alaska, western Canada, much of Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan, and southwestern Russia. Alaska reported its sixth coolest November on record.

Here are the significant highlights:

* The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for November 2011 was the 12th warmest on record at 13.35°C (55.81°F), which is 0.45°C (0.81°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.0°F). The margin of error associated with this temperature is +/- 0.07°C (0.13°F).
* Separately, the global land surface temperature was 0.61°C (1.10°F) above the 20th century average of 5.9°C (42.6°F), making this the 16th warmest November on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.11°C (0.20°F). Warmer-than-average conditions occurred across central and eastern North America, Northern and Western Europe, northern Russia, most of China and the Middle East, southeastern Australia, and southern South America. Cooler-than-average regions included Alaska, western Canada, much of Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan, and southwestern Russia.
* The November global ocean surface temperature was 0.39°C (0.70°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), making it the 12th warmest November on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.04°C (0.07°F). The warmth was most pronounced across the north central and northwest Pacific, the Labrador Sea, and portions of the mid-latitude Southern oceans..
* The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the September – November period was 0.52°C (0.94°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F), making it the 12th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.09°C (0.16°F.
* The September – November worldwide land surface temperature was 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average, the seventh warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.17°C (0.31°F).
* The global ocean surface temperature for September – November was 0.39°C (0.70°F) above the 20th century average and was the 12th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.04°C (0.07°F).
* The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January – November period was 0.52°C (0.94°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.2°F), making it the 11th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.09°C (0.16°F).
* The January – November worldwide land surface temperature was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average — the seventh warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.20°C (0.36°F).
* The global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 0.41°C (0.74°F) above the 20th century average and was the 11th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.04°C (0.07°F).
* La Niña conditions continued during November 2011. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, La Niña is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011/12.
* The average Arctic sea ice extent during November was 11.5 percent below average, ranking as the third smallest November extent since satellite records began in 1979. The extent was 1.3 million square kilometers (502,000 square miles) below average. This marks the 18th consecutive November and 126th consecutive month with below-average Arctic sea ice extent.
* On the opposite pole, the November Antarctic monthly average extent was 0.5 percent below the 1979–2000 average, the 11th smallest on record. This is the first November since 2002 with below-average Antarctic ice extent.
* Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was much-above average during November with the fourth largest November snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record. Both the North American and Eurasian land areas had above-average snow cover extents.
* Much of Europe experienced extreme dryness during November. Both Germany and Austria reported their driest Novembers on record. Much-wetter-than-normal conditions occurred across parts of South Asia and northeast Africa.

Written by makanaka

January 1, 2012 at 12:13

USA climate, the newer, higher, normals

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In July 2011, the US National National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center updated the Climate Normals for the USA.These are three-decade averages of weather observations, including temperature. The new annual normal temperatures for the United States reflect a warming world.

July Maximums, 1981–2010 compared to 1971–2000 image

Following procedures set by the World Meteorological Organization, normals shift each decade, rather than each year. As of July 2011, the climate normals span 1981–2010, dropping the 1970s, which were unusually cool. Last year, the normals included 1971–2000, leaving out the warmest decade on record (2001–2010).

NASA’s Earth Observatory has provided maps which show the differences between the old normals and the new normals. The top image shows July maximum temperatures, and the lower image shows the January minimum temperatures.

Positive temperature changes appear in orange and red, and negative temperature changes appear in blue.

January Minimums, 1981–2010 compared to 1971–2000 image

On average, the contiguous United States experiences the lowest temperatures on January nights, and the highest temperatures on July days. Both January minimum temperatures and July maximum temperatures changed, but not by equal amounts.

Parts of the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley, and the Northeast experienced slightly cooler July maximums from 1981–2010 compared to 1971–2000 (top map).

A much more striking difference, however, appears in the January minimums (lower map). Nighttime temperatures in January were higher everywhere except the Southeast. Warmer nights were especially pronounced in the northern plains through the northern Rocky Mountains—several degrees warmer in some places.

Comparing average temperatures year round, every state experienced warmer temperatures in 1981–2010 compared to 1971–2000.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released the 1981-2010 Normals on July 1, 2011. Climate Normals are the latest three-decade averages of climatological variables, including temperature and precipitation. This new product replaces the 1971-2000 Normals product. Additional Normals products; such as frost/freeze dates, growing degree days, population-weighting heating and cooling degree days, and climate division and gridded normals; will be provided in a supplemental release by the end of 2011.

Although warmer temperatures can have benefits, they pose hazards to some plants. For instance, higher nighttime temperatures enable some pests—such as the pine bark beetle and wooly adelgid—to thrive in places where they previously froze.

What are Normals? – In the strictest sense, a “normal” of a particular variable (e.g., temperature) is defined as the 30-year average. For example, the minimum temperature normal in January for a station in Chicago, Illinois, would be computed by taking the average of the 30 January values of monthly-averaged minimum temperatures from 1981 to 2010. Each of the 30 monthly values was in turn derived from averaging the daily observations of minimum temperature for the station. In practice, however, much more goes into NCDC’s Normals product than simple 30-year averages. Procedures are put in place to deal with missing and suspect data values. In addition, Normals include quantities other than averages such as degree days, probabilities, standard deviations, etc. Normals are a large suite of data products that provide users with many tools to understand typical climate conditions for thousands of locations across the United States.

What are Normals used for? – Meteorologists and climatologists regularly use Normals for placing recent climate conditions into a historical context. NOAA’s Normals are commonly seen on local weather news segments for comparisons with the day’s weather conditions. In addition to weather and climate comparisons, Normals are utilized in seemingly countless applications across a variety of sectors. These include: regulation of power companies, energy load forecasting, crop selection and planting times, construction planning, building design, and many others.

The National Climatic Data Center compiles climate normals from observations from thousands of stations in the National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Program, as well as stations staffed by professionals within the NWS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Land-sea data show this year’s June-August the 2nd warmest ever

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August 2010 Land Surface Temperature. Anomalies in degrees Celsius. Image: August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

August 2010 Land Surface Temperature. Anomalies in degrees Celsius. Image: August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is available. The analysis has said that the combined global land and ocean surface temperature during June-August 2010 was 16.2°C (61.3°F), which is 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F).

This has caused the second warmest June-August on record, behind 1998. Warmer-than-average temperatures were present across most of the world’s land surface, with the warmest anomalies observed across eastern Europe, the eastern half of the contiguous US, and parts of eastern Canada, and eastern Asia.

However, cooler-than-average conditions were present across parts of central Russia and southern South America. Overall, the worldwide land-only surface temperature ranked as the warmest on record, surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.08°C (0.14°F). The June-August 2010 worldwide land-only surface temperature was 1.00°C (1.80°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F).

August 2010 Blended Land and Sea Surface. Temperature Anomalies in degrees Celsius. Image: August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

August 2010 Blended Land and Sea Surface. Temperature Anomalies in degrees Celsius. Image: August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Meanwhile, the worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.51°C (0.92°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), resulting in the fifth warmest such period on record. The Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific oceans had warmer-than-average conditions, while the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and along the North and South American Pacific coast, experienced cooler-than-average conditions associated with a developing La Niña.

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for August 2010 was the third warmest on record at 16.2°C (61.2°F), which is 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F). August 1998 is the warmest August on record and 2009 is the second warmest.
  • The August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F)—the second warmest August on record, behind 1998.
  • June–August 2010 Precipitation Anomalies in Millimeters. Image: August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    June–August 2010 Precipitation Anomalies in Millimeters. Image: August 2010 global analysis of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.4°F) and tied with 1997 as the sixth warmest August on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June–August 2010 was the second warmest on record, behind 1998, at 16.2°C (61.3°F), which is 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F).
  • The June–August worldwide land surface temperature was 1.00°C (1.80°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F)—the warmest June–August on record, surpassing the previous June–August record anomaly of 0.92°C (1.66°F) set in 1998.
  • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.51°C (0.92°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F) and was the fifth warmest June–August on record.
  • For January–August 2010, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature of 14.7°C (58.5°F) tied with 1998 as the warmest January–August period on record. This value is 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average.

Warmer-than-average temperatures were observed across much of the world’s land surface during August 2010, with the warmest anomalies observed across the eastern half of the contiguous United States, eastern Canada, much of Europe, northwestern Africa, and parts of Asia. However, cooler-than-average temperatures were present across southern South America, central Russia, and most of Australia. When averaging the global land surface temperatures, the worldwide land surface temperature for August 2010 ranked as the second warmest on record, behind 1998. August 2010 temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F).

Why we’ll overshoot the 1.5°C goal

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“Overshooting any temperature goal would generate risks of triggering feedback accelerations, such as the enhanced release of carbon from the thawing of soils that are currently frozen, or causing large-scale and potentially dangerous impacts that could be difficult to reverse, such as a loss of species, inundation of some land areas, or extensive bleaching of corals. More research is needed into the likelihood of triggering feedbacks or irreversible impacts, such as large rises in sea level, during temporary overshooting of a 1.5°C goal.”

So says a new report, ‘Mitigating climate change through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions: is it possible to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C?’, which aims to inform negotiations at the United Nations climate change conference, taking place in Bonn, Germany, between 2 and 6 August 2010.

Global average temperature has already risen by about 0.8°C since the end of the 19th century. The report concludes: “Even if global emissions fall from 47 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent in 2010 to 40 billion tonnes in 2020, and are then reduced to zero immediately afterwards, we estimate that there would be a maximum probability of less than 50 per cent of avoiding global warming of more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level”.

The report is jointly published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, and the Met Office Hadley Centre.

Scientific evidence that our world is warming was released in the ‘2009 State of the Climate’ report, issued by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The report draws on data from 10 key climate indicators that all point to that same finding — the world is warming.

The 10 indicators of temperature have been compiled by the Met Office Hadley Centre, drawing on the work of more than 100 scientists from more than 20 institutions. They provide, in a one place, a snapshot of our world and spell out a single conclusion that the climate is unequivocally warming. Relying on data from multiple sources, each indicator proved consistent with a warming world.

Seven indicators are rising and three are declining.
Rising indicators
1. Air temperature over land
2. Sea-surface temperature
3. Marine air temperature
4. Sea-level
5. Ocean heat
6. Humidity
7. Tropospheric temperature in the ‘active-weather’ layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface

Declining indicators
1. Arctic sea-ice
2. Glaciers
3. Spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere

Dr Peter Stott, Met Office Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution and contributor to the report says: “Despite the variability caused by short-term changes, the analysis conducted for this report illustrates why we are so confident the world is warming.”