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2010 headed toward being hottest year on record

By Juliet Eilperin

While the year's not over yet, 2010 is on track to tie 1998 as the hottest one on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that the first eight months of 2010 tied the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record worldwide.

Among the details of NOAA's findings: this summer was the second warmest on record globally after 1998, and last month was the third warmest August on record.

The news came on the same day the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Arctic sea ice has appeared to reach its minimum extent, and has followed a 14-year trend of dipping below historic levels. The minimum ice extent--which was reached Sept. 10--was the third-lowest since satellite records began in 1979, after 2007 and 2008,

Arctic sea ice covered 1.84 million square miles on Sept. 10. During August, it covered an average of 2.3 million square miles, which is 22 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the second lowest August extent since satellite record-keeping began in 1979.

Jason Lowe, head of mitigation advice for the U.K.'s Met Office and the lead science adviser on Britain's Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change program, said the latest measurements matter not because they reflect a single year's developments but rather indicate broader climatic changes. Both ocean and land temperatures continue to rise, he noted, just as sea ice and glaciers keep shrinking.

"What we're seeing in that is a long-term, upward trend," Lowe said in an interview. "That hasn't changed."


Juliet Eilperin

 |  September 15, 2010; 4:13 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Data Analysis of Recent Warming Pattern in the Arctic

Masahiro Ohashi1) and H. L. Tanaka2)

1) Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba
2) Center for Computational Sciences, University of Tsukuba


In this study, we investigate the mechanism of the arctic warming pattern in surface air temperature (SAT) and sea ice concentrations over the last two decades in comparison with global warming since the 1970s.
According to the analysis result, it is found that the patterns of SAT and sea ice before 1989 are mostly determined by the Arctic Oscillation (AO) in winter. In contrast, arctic warming patterns after 1989 are characterized by the intensification of the Beaufort High and the reduced sea-ice concentrations in summer induced by the positive ice-albedo feedback.

It is concluded that the arctic warming before 1989 especially in winter was explained by the positive trend of the AOI. Moreover the intensified Beaufort High and the drastic decrease of the sea ice concentrations in September after 1989 were associated with the recent negative trend of the AOI. Since the decadal variation of the AO is recognized as the natural variability of the global atmosphere, it is shown that both of decadal variabilities before and after 1989 in the Arctic can be mostly explained by the natural variability of the AO not by the external response due to the human activity.

Author’s Commentary

“According to our result, the rapid warming during 1970-1990 contains a large fraction of unpredictable natural variability due to the AO. The subsequent period of 1990-2010 indicates a clear trend of the AO to be negative. The global warming has been stopped by natural variability superimposed on the gentle anthropogenic global warming. The important point is that the IPCC models have been tuned perfectly to fit the rapid warming during 1970-1990 by means of the ice-albedo feedback (anthropogenic forcing) which is not actually observed. IPCC models are justified with this wrong scientific basis and are applied to project the future global warming for 100 years in the future. Hence, we warn that the IPCC models overestimate the warming trend due to the mislead Arctic Oscillation.”

Posted by: orkneygal | September 16, 2010 8:05 AM
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