After Hours

Gallery: 2010 hottest year in recorded history

Need some proof of climate change? Check out the graph above. NASA has released data which shows that 2010 was tied 2005 for the hottest average temperature over a year - despite a cold spell in December and strong cooling La Nina conditions in the Pacific in the second half of the year. 

NASA scientists believe the immediate cause of the temperature rise is the melting of the Arctic icecap which "acts as a blanket" covering the warmer ocean below it. The average temperature in December in regions of northeast Canada were 18 degrees higher than normal in 2010.

31 comments
yobtaf
yobtaf

Whether your believe man is the cause or not. Or that global warming even exists. I think that most people would agree that pollution in it's various forms is bad for the the environment and is a major cause of sickness and death. Taking action is good for us, the planet and possibly create jobs. Good stewardship of the planet is responsible behavior.

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

There are plenty of ways to reduce pollution and the general public will help, as seen by the recycling movement. But do we really need to import fruit from China. We grow this locally. The local market has been decimated. Coffee from Africa etc etc. Its all about labour costs and the global money market. We can reduce these types of trans actions.On top of spreading diseases its really crazy. Except for the major players who do so.

tkeller
tkeller

We like to move stuff around a lot. It does seem ridiculous. The recycling movement is a step in the right direction. But it falls far short of what is needed. Why? Because it depends on the voluntary support of concerned citizens. Sadly, the only way to make substantive changes are for nations and governments to push for the changes. Yep, that means mandating. It stinks, but without mandating changes, it all remains voluntary. And it just too easy to keep being wasteful. It is human nature. To get really big things done, we always end up making regulations, enforcing the regulations, and punishing offenders. And everyone (myself included) will piss and moan about it. But in the long run, it gets done. Doing this is hard. Very hard. Even harder is getting the rest of this planet to do the same thing. [edit to correct spelling]

Roger Bamforth
Roger Bamforth

Here's some science to consider: 1) There is a vast amount of evidence that the earth is warming, http://www.skepticalscience.com/evidence-for-global-warming.htm gives 10 different indicators that the world is warming. Actually, it doesn't matter what the weather is like or how hot or cold the atmosphere is because all the heat is going into the oceans http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=4 2) The troposphere (lower atmosphere) is warming and the stratosphere (upper atmosphere) is cooling. The only thing that can explain this is a greenhouse effect, trapping the heat in the lower atmosphere. http://www.skepticalscience.com/its-not-us-basic.htm http://www.skepticalscience.com/Stratospheric_Cooling.html 3) We know the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2 because satellite measurements show the radiation from Earth being absorbed at exactly the wavelengths that CO2 absorbs radiation. http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm 4) And we know the extra CO2 is man-made because CO2 from burning fossil fuels has a different C12/C13 ratio to naturally occurring CO2 so we can measure how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is from burning fossil fuels. http://www.skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions-intermediate.htm In short climate change is real, happening now and is man-made. See the links for further links to the actual scientific papers this is based on.

Architect
Architect

The nice thing about the 'Skeptical Science' web site is that it posts all the "Peer Reviewed" scientific studies that support their conclusions. All of the 'Climate Skeptic' web sites post plenty of opinions with no "Peer Reviewed" scientific studies to back them up.

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

Not peer reviewed? Read here > http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/ Review these and see what answers you get...

Roger Bamforth
Roger Bamforth

that someone who is paid by Philip Morris and surprise, surprise, doesn't believe passive smoking causes cancer and who is also paid by Exxon is hardly likely to be a reliable source of information on climate change. Just read his Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Milloy and anyway junkscience.com hasn't been updated since 2007, whatever it says is four years out of date.

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

CO2 is breathed out by you and me. and billions of animals on this planet. Its also released by volcanic activity. Its natural. What is the least natural is the way we perceive it. I would suggest that scientific evidence in weather research hasnt come up with any computer that can actually predict the weather for one day, let alone the climate in a 100 years. In Australia top scientist have quit, been gagged and admonished or stood down because of not following governement policy on climate. Thats not just some bozo who didnt believe in climate change. If theyre arguing amongst themselves its obvious, to even a layman, that they dont have a clue. It may be youre also amongst the unwashed in that class. Use some common sense. The sky aint falling. Its the dollars signs.

tkeller
tkeller

Natural yes. That is not the issue. The whole world is full of natural things that are fine in balance, but too much of something can cause problems. CO2 and the greenhouse effect are fairly well understood phenomena. So the release of huge amounts of trapped CO2 (from burning plant matter or oil) will very likely have an effect. Another concern is what effect a warming ocean would have on trapped methane ices. A mass release of methane gas would probably be a bad thing, as methane is much more potent greenhouse gas. But then again, methane is 'natural'. Weather and climate are two different subjects. Climatologist are not trying to predict next year's weather. Their concern is the long term trend of warming or cooling, and how we may be influencing that. On a planetary scale, even small changes in overall temps can have huge changes in the local weather patterns (actually, that would make local weather forecasting that much more difficult and imprecise). It is natural for the Earth to undergo long term cyclical climate changes. It's been doing it all along. The problem is, we may be pushing things along to cause a change we really don't want to live in. We like the climate we're in right now. We should try to ensure it doesn't end too soon.

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

Maybe if Al Gore didnt have the finger in the pie of this organisation I would feel easier. But Gore's truths have been so widely discussed and dismissed by many of opposite views, that any statistics coming from vested interests like NASA must be taken with a pinch of salt. Especially as the cause is still a theory and must possibly need the Pope's and Mohammeds approval. Its not yet the end of the world...I hope its the end of global warming, climate change and the dang extra taxes which as usual are being mispent on bad governement and scientists...who think they can see into the future. It cant be done!

tkeller
tkeller

If I'm on a runaway train headed for a broken bridge, I bet my powers of prognostication are sufficient to see into the future a wee bit. The question is; what to do about the situation? As to the climate change "controversy"; it is inconceivable to me that the vast number of scientists from a wide range of disciplines that all keep coming up with similar conclusions could all be wrong. Or that they are all allied in some devious conspiracy. But who knows? Maybe they are. We live on a world whose climate is currently nicely suited to our existence. This is somewhat of an anomaly. Historically, the climate tends to be very different from what we bask in today. The majority of credible science indicates we are in a warm period between glaciations. The risk we face is accelerating a warming trend enough to cause a disruption in our climate that *might* lead to excessive warming that *might* lead to a trigger of the next glaciation. Either way is bad for us. So what do we do? OPTIONS: A. Do nothing. Deny it all and say it's "natural". Life will go on. B. Do something. Start working to reduce the possibility of people being the cause of climate change. CONSEQUENCES: 1. A was correct. We have no worries, and all will be well and we can go on with doing whatever we want to. Yippee! 2. A was wrong. We blew it. The climate takes a decidedly unhospitable shift. We (or our descendants) are screwed. Bummer! 3. B was correct. We start working to minimize and correct our actions. With effort, and yes, expense, we reduce or eliminate our climate change habits. The world is saved. Yahoo! 4. B was wrong. We got all worked up for nothing, and spent huge sums of time and cash converting energy sources, updating manufacturing processes and recycling. CONCLUSIONS: Choosing option "A" is a HUGE gamble. Upside is we can go on doing what we do now. Easy enough. Downside? Could possibly be betting our very existence if we lose. Risk analysis would say that is bad. Choosing option "B". Expensive. Disruptive. And if it works, we will always be second-guessing ourselves about "did we really need to do all that?" BUT, even if it wasn't really necessary (IE, "B" was wrong), we end up with a cleaner, greener home. And with a booming, vibrant panoply of new industries and jobs. Risk analysis says that is better. CHOICES: Sit back and take the all or nothing gamble? Or step up and invest in the future? For our future, I say it is foolish to take the chance and do nothing. That is akin to driving without insurance. If given the choice, I bet a lot of people would gladly drive without insurance - that's why it is mandated to carry insurance. Save a bit of money and hope nothing happens. We know that fossil fuels will eventually be depleted. We know that our "throw-away" society is incredibly wasteful. We know that soiling our own nest is wrong. We know that, eventually, climate change or not, we really should correct these things. But change is hard, and we are naturally resistant to change. But it makes the most sense, economically and environmentally, to make changes. Why not invest in our future, and start aggressively doing so now? That's my take on the issue.

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

I agree, to a point. We have a large body of water in the pacific which is polluted to hell.(Plastics for hundreds of miles) We have exports going in, where we are able to grow food ourselves. We have unnessary air transport polluting the upper atmosphere. We have large corporations controlling their income, doing their level best to avoid resposibility and having governemnt clout to do so (BP Exon Mining corporations) Carbon isnt the problem. Its alternative energy sources and investment needed for that.

tkeller
tkeller

Good points. You can say carbon isn't THE problem, but I would say it IS A problem. But, as you point out, it is not the only one. Planetary Climatology may be a relatively new field, but there are a lot of good, highly intelligent people whose research leads them to believe we have a problem. Not to mention the scads of seemingly unrelated fields where data also points to similar conclusions. But even with the growing mountain of evidence, all it takes is one contrary data point to bring out the naysayers with the argument that, essentially, if "this data point does not support climate change then the whole theory must be wrong". Or if a researcher makes an error, or worse, falsifies data, then that too are grounds for invalidating the whole theory. Time for Scientific Method 101. I fear that we'll spend so much time arguing and debating this, that we will come to that "tipping point" where we no longer have the option to try and right the ship.

Teako
Teako

The Pope or Mohammeds approval is totally without merit. where do you get that garbage. By the way, hte vast majority ofclimate scientist agree in principle with Al Gore. Becasue a very small minority of self-procliamed climate scientist disagree is of very lttle interet to me. They have little evidence to support their assertions and many have be totally debunked. Just because 1% of the people disagree does not mean they deserve 50% of the atttention.

Jonno-the-First
Jonno-the-First

You dont get tongue in cheek humor nor do you get the right numbers. The percentage of people who think global warming man made is 1 percent. Its natural and nothing can be done about it. But political interference, fired up by corporations who make money out of the hype are there ready to gather the profits from their doomsday theories. Of course believers are there to believe this crap. Nature will sort it. Google Junk Science. you wil lget the drift...

dwdino
dwdino

a few degree since 1930? Really? And yet, we are experiencing one of the coldest winters in a decade. Such a small variance over decades and we are concerned? I wonder how much of that is simply from the greater quantity of heat we humans generate now vs. then. More population, more heated homes, more factories. The multiplier of heating elements in the world might impact a few degrees. Also note the sudden change since 1970 - about the time the "save the planet" march began. Seems like that focus may have caused more harm.

Teako
Teako

What you are talking about is weather as opposed to climate. Weather changes daily; climate changes takes decades to see and sometime centuries to correct. Single year events ar virtually meaningless when it comes to climate changes. apparently you do not understand science or statistics.

dwdino
dwdino

Weather is the micro that sums to climate as the macro. So, while this report is claiming the rise in climate, I am presenting the finite view of the opposing weather. Each "meaningless" event adds to the data set used to define the change for a given year as a point for the larger set. "...centuries to correct." Do we have any data reaching far enough to even consider such?

jfuglestad
jfuglestad

This is a subject that should not be flippantly included on a site that is purported to be dedicated to computer technology. The Climate change debate, including whether 2010 "was the hottest year on record", is too complex of a subject to reduce to a series of debatable graphs which utilize questionable data. I recommend this site as a starting point to understand the climate change debate and the questionable assertion of "2010 hottest year in recorded history". http://wattsupwiththat.com/

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

can you recommend a web site that can explain how two TR members, both in Alaska, both of whom joined in mid-2005, both happen to post their first ever comments on the same day, less than half an hour apart, on the same topic, recommending the same web site?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

supersymmetric string theory to the rescue... which surprisingly, is not about g-strings and globular objects...

marct
marct

Saw a report that the difference is a few 0.01s of degrees. After seeing some of the monitoring station locations, I have little respect for the data.

Teako
Teako

Every graph I have seen of the raw dat show a chage on the order of +0.8 degree centgrate or 1.4 degree Faenheit. That is a bit larger than your "few 0.01s" and certainly more than a single report that you haven't inked to.

apaintz
apaintz

I heard it reported, that July 2010 was the hottest Month of Weather yet recorded. The scarey part was, it was reported on July 25, 2010! So the Data was realized One Week befor the end of the Month.

Teako
Teako

Care to post your source for that information.

chaynes33
chaynes33

What I don't see is a comparison of the wold wide volcanic activity which warms the oceans. What is also missing is the sun spot activity. I think then, when all are compared, a broader picture will emerge. The earth, as we know it, has been through many cooling & heating cycles as far back as we can get data for. Just my thoughts.

alaskamjb
alaskamjb

Instead of listening to professionals who have a personal conclusion then build their data to fit that conclusion. Use your brain to decide for yourself. A "Theory" is based on data and has a way to disprove. Galileo, Einstein, and others knew this. Today, climate science says the earth is warming. A decade ago the idea was hot/dry earth/rising sea levels. Now hot/cold, wet/dry, rising/dropping sea levels all point to Global warming. Where is the method to disprove this Theory? Arm yourself with knowledge to draw your own conclusions about data adjustments, urban heat islands, and polluted temperature data. wattsupwiththat.com is a good starting point for that education to begin.

Teako
Teako

There are many more credible websites out there, most of which diagree with you.

Reality-based
Reality-based

The answers that chaynes seeks are not that hard to get. See for instance: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/apr/21/iceland-volcano-climate-sceptics http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/19/eyjafjallajokull-volcano-climate-carbon-emissions Volcanoes generally cool the atmosphere down by spewing up a reflective particle layer. Spewing up an artificial reflective layer has been suggested as a geoengineering solution to global warming. I haven't seen any scientific claims that volcanoes per se warm the oceans. As for the sunspots, we are coming out of a "solar minimum". See here: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20100601_TemperaturePaper.pdf