Sunday, December 12, 2010

NASA stunner: Warmest November on record, 2010 Meteorological Year Warmest as well

November 2010 was the warmest November on record according to NASA temperature data. While this might not seem surprising for a year that has already seen record warm months, Novembers record comes in the midst of a moderately strong La Nina, (a short term climate variation that causes a temporary cooling of temperatures worldwide due to the effect of cooler sea temperatures in the pacific) and during a prolonged minimum of the solar cycle.

Here's the NASA November temperature anomaly map:

Colours a how much the temperature was above (or below) the 1951-1980 average. The map clearly shows the La Nina (blue/ cooler than normal sea temperatures in the tropical pacific) as well as the cold temperatures in the UK that have been getting so much attention. Turns out though that this is totally negated by warmer than normal temperatures pretty much everywhere else, especially in and around the Arctic.

"According to NASA climatologist and Goddard director James Hansen, the main driver for the increased warmth was the Arctic, where temperatures in Hudson Bay were "10˚C above normal" for November. That month, Hansen says, "sea ice was absent while normally that [body of water] is covered by sea ice." Water devoid of ice absorbs much more solar radiation than water covered with ice, which reflects much of the radiation back toward space."
Unlike the calendar year, the Meteorological Year runs from Dec to Nov. With the Nov 2010 data now in 2010 is the warmest in the 130 year record at 0.65 dC above the long term average, surpassing the last record of 0.62 set in 2005. It now looks almost certain the 2010 calendar year will also set a record. Whether the 2010 record is enough above 2005 to be statistically significant remains to be seen, but it certainly reinforces the trend of rising global temperatures.

Here's the NASA map for the 2010 Meteorological Year temperature anomalies.

Again this is temperatures compared to the 1951-1980 average. Note: NASA make all of this data publically available and you can view temperatures graphs and create you own maps etc here.

Update: some commentary from NASA can be found here.

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