Friday, February 21, 2014

January Was World's Fourth Warmest, Despite Chill In U.S. Media Centers

The people who spent the last month or so whining that the cold weather in January was "proof" that global warming doesn't exist got some, well, tepid water thrown in their face yesterday by news from the National Climate Data Center.
This map from the NCDC shows that although the eastern
United States, part of Siberia and eastern Europe were
cold in January, 2014, most of the rest of the world was warm.  

Their monthly global temperature analysis for January came out, and the Data Center determined that on a global basis, January, 2014 was the four warmest on record and the hottest January since 2007.

The Climate Data Center's revelation was no surprise to people who watch these things, as most months have been scoring in the Top 10 warmest globally.

As we in the eastern United States shivered in the opening weeks of 2014, we watched much of the world bake, or at least bask in relative warmth.

Each of the past nine months, on a global basis, scored in the Top 10 hottest on record.

It was mostly climate change "experts" like Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz who basically said the U.S. cold wave in January indicated global warming was a crock.

So, for the record, again: If where you live gets a cold wave that  doesn't prove that global warming is a hoax. Conversely, if you have one heat wave where you live, that doesn't in and of itself prove global warming is happening.

You have to look at all of the Earth, and you have to watch long term trends over many years and decades to understand whether the world is warming, and at what pace that is happening.

By the way, based on National Climate Center Data, if you are under the age of 29, you have never seen a month when the global average temperature was below normal. (The last time we had a chillier than normal month was February, 1985)

The pace of global warming, at least on land surfaces on Earth, has slowed over the past 10 years, but hasn't "paused" as some people suggest.

The reason for the slowdown in the pace at which the world is warming, at least as felt in places where people actually live, is poorly understood.

Maybe the effects of carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere might not be as strong as some thought. Or some other natural factor is slowing the warming, at least temporarily. It might be the oceans are collecting the extra heat for some reason. Some scientists said last month increased trade winds in the Pacific Ocean might have blunted the pace of the warming

When there's an El Nino, a period of warming in the eastern Pacific, the pace of global warming increases. When there's an El Nina, the pace of the warming slows.  We've had a lot of cooling El Ninas recently.

There are indications an El Nino might start later this year.  If that happens, it will be interesting to see if things get hotter faster on a global basis, or the slower pace of the warming continues as it has in recent years.

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