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2012 Likely to Reach Record High Global Temperature, according to NASA

October 4, 2010; 8:52 AM ET

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) just posted a recap of the summer of 2010. Along with that, they also made some predictions about the global temperatures for 2011 and 2012.

As many of you already know, the summer of 2010 was the 4th warmest on record, according to GISS records, which date back to 1880. The summer of 2009 was the second warmest.

According to GISS, the reason 2010 was a bit cooler than 2009 was the recent transition to a moderate La Nina.

GISS also points out that Antarctica was unusually cold for the winter months of 2010, while the winter of 2009 was relatively mild. Antarctic temperature anomalies fluctuate chaotically from year to year, so this is not unusual according to GISS.

Other key statements from the NASA GISS press release..........

...the temperature anomaly in one place in one season has limited relevance to global trends. Unfortunately it is common for the public to take the most recent local seasonal temperature anomaly as indicative of long-term climate trends.

This does not mean that local anomalies are unrelated to global trends, but it is necessary to look at statistics.

8 of the last 10 summers were warmer than the 1951-1980 mean in the United States and Japan, and 10 of 10 in Europe. So if you are perceptive and old enough, you should be able to notice a trend toward warmer seasons.


The above map provides an indication of the likely effect of the current cooling trend on the rank of the 2010 calendar year temperature anomaly. The maps compare January-August temperature anomalies for 2010, 2005 (the warmest year in the GISS analysis), and 1998 (one of the warmest years in the GISS analysis, the temperature being boosted by the "El Nino of the century"). 2010 is clearly the warmest of these years for the first eight months. However,the above map shows that the monthly anomalies in 2010 have declined steadily over the past five months as the Pacific Ocean moved into the La Niña phase. The last four months of 2005 (green line) were unusually warm, so it is not possible to say yet whether 2005 or 2010 will be the warmest calendar year in the GISS analysis. It is likely that the 2005 and 2010 calendar year means will turn out to be sufficiently close that it will be difficult to say which year was warmer.


Projections of trends over the next few years are possible based on the following considerations: (1) the planet is out of energy balance by at least several tenths of one W/m2 due to the rapid increase of greenhouse gases during the past few decades, as confirmed by measurements of changing ocean heat content, (2) inertia of energy systems that assures continuing growth of atmospheric CO2 by about 2 ppm per year for the next few years, (3) expectation that the solar irradiance will climb out of the recent long-lasting solar minimum, as shown in Figure 5, (4) model projections suggesting that the current La Niña may bottom out near the end of 2010. Given the dominant effect of El Niño-La Niña on short-term temperature change and the usual lag of a few months between the Nino index and its effect on global temperature, it is unlikely that 2011 will reach a new global record temperature.

In contrast, it is likely that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature.

Given the association of extreme weather and climate events with rising global temperature, the expectation of new record high temperatures in 2012 also suggests that the frequency and magnitude of extreme events could reach a high level in 2012.


I wonder if they also watched a certain recent Hollywood disaster movie or a particular calendar in regards to the above underlined statement. Brett.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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