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NASA Says 2010 Tied For Warmest Year On Record

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the try-the-sunscreen-it's-delicious dept.

Earth 554

An anonymous reader writes "It may not seem like it, but 2010 has tied 2005 as the warmest year since people have been keeping records, according to data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. That difference is so small that it puts them in a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880." Adds jamie: "This was the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average — 0.62 +/- 0.07 C above, to be precise. It was the wettest year on record too, according to the Global Historical Climatology Network."

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Not so frosty piss (2, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869346)

Let the flamewar begin!

Re:Not so frosty piss (1)

altoz (653655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869444)

are you implying there will be a war due to global warming?

Re:Not so frosty piss (0)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869768)

Or due to being pissed on by hyper-chilled urine. Take your pick, I'm not sure which one is worse -_-;;

Re:Not so frosty piss (-1, Troll)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869914)

It's not called "global warming" anymore. Didn't you get the memo? It's "climate change" that way they're always right! ;)

Re:Not so frosty piss (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869648)

Not much to flame about since I stopped reading TFA as soon as I saw "James Hansen" mentioned as the source.

Re:Not so frosty piss (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869912)

Agreed...

The analysis produced at GISS is compiled from weather data from more than 1,000 meteorological stations around the world, satellite observations of sea surface temperature and Antarctic research station measurements.

Since we have more than 1,000 met stations in our state alone it sounds like there's been some cherry-picking going on here.

"Since people have been keeping records" (0)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869368)

So that's the most recent 1.3% of the time that's passed since the end of the last ice age.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869426)

We have reliable proxy data for much earlier than 1880.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (0)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869562)

Yeah and when life was the most abundant on earth, it was between 4-7C warmer and the CO2 was in the 20 times as much as today. Reliable doesn't mean anyone makes sense still.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869638)

And most of the places people like living were under water. See any problems with that?

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (3, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869848)

Nah, we just need to craft and install cybernetic gills! Hail the return of the age of Atlanteans!

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (3, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869952)

The places were most people like living are at or near sea level. That is why there are so many sunken civilizations.

If the water level was 15 meters higher, guess where people would like to live. I will give you a hint as to how to find out: Figure out what land will be at or near sea level.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

GreyFlcn (963950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870026)

Not really.

Human civilizations only really started forming about 10,000 years ago.

Which is less than 1 iceage cycle.

And things weren't dramatically different over atleast the last 8 iceages.

We'd have to go back billions of years for that.

Since as is, we're already 1/3rd higher in CO2 than it's been in 8 iceage cycles.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5314592.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (5, Insightful)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869644)

No one is saying or has ever said that higher temperatures and levels of CO2 are bad for life in general. They are bad for how humans currently have their civilizations arranged.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (0)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869962)

No one is saying or has ever said that higher temperatures and levels of CO2 are bad for life in general.

Did you miss the environmentalists trumpeting the demise of thousands of species due to global warming?

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869970)

What makes humans more important than the rest of the ecosystem?

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869994)

We do.. and we are.
To behave otherwise is to invite extinction.

No problem (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869968)

Yeah and when life was the most abundant on earth, it was between 4-7C warmer and the CO2 was in the 20 times as much as today.

Agreed, life will adapt. Even we can probably adjust to hotter climates in a few hundred thousand years if the cull rate is high enough (but of course not too high.) Of course, there's a limit to how hot mammals can tolerate and still produce viable sperm but evolution has done wonders in the past.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870024)

Which period are you referring to? Serious question.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869824)

We have reliable proxy data for much earlier than 1880.

No we don't.
Anything taken that far back was using vastly different equipment and methodology.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869920)

You might want to read what "proxy data" means before posting again.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869602)

So that's the most recent 1.3% of the time that's passed since the end of the last ice age.

So it's a bit premature; so what? The good news is that it seems to be warming. Soon, we'll be able to grow citrus in more northern climates, grapes in England, and start growing more wheat in Siberia. If this "warming trend" continues, it is great news for everyone.

The extra warmth means we'll have longer growing seasons, and Earth will be able to support a larger human population. Since more humans means more productivity and more wealth, this increase in warm temperatures will bring with it a new Utopian age.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869658)

Too bad about all that land we will lose to the sea though.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869854)

12-14,000 years ago, while there were glaciers in the middle of North America, Europe and parts of Asia, the coastlines were 100-300 miles further out and there was a migration path from Asia to North America and likely land routes between what is now Yemen and Ethiopia, as well as many routes between islands in Indonesia.

Humans lost a ton of land then too and we survived and did well as a species.

Here in Alaska they are talking about how by 2050 the Mat-Su valley will be prime Hard Winter and Spring Wheat country.

Re:"Since people have been keeping records" (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869964)

There were far fewer people, and exactly 0 cities. Sure, humans will survive, but civilisation as we know it certainly won't. It's a lot easier for nomadic folks to just move than it is for modern humans to relocate their stubborn infrastructure. I don't know how you can seriously compare 2011 with 12-14,000 years ago.

Decadal count is more important (4, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869406)

NASA also put out a piece comparing different findings by different organizations, [nasa.gov] explaining the differences and why they aren't a big deal. The articles also states that year-to-year measures aren't particularly useful - not only are 2010 and 2005 very close, but the next six are also very similar to each other - but looking at it decade by decade (i.e. a larger sample size) gives far more meaning:

On that time scale, the three records are unequivocal: the last decade has been the warmest on record. “It’s not particularly important whether 2010, 2005, or 1998 was the hottest year on record,” said Hansen. "It is the underlying trend that is important."

Re:Decadal count is more important (0, Troll)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869516)

The trend is flat since 1998.

Re:Decadal count is more important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869668)

The trend is flat since 1998.

And the trend is warming since 2am this morning. What is the significance of 1998? Is there some explanation for what changed (did we successfully end global warming that year and then forgot about it?), or is the "trend" since then just variation in the bigger picture (an upward trend)? On a decade scale, the trend is upward.

Re:Decadal count is more important (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869692)

And Generalissismo Francisco Franco is still dead. Your point?

Re:Decadal count is more important (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869896)

And Generalissismo Francisco Franco is still dead. Your point?

The point is, it's getting hot in here.

Re:Decadal count is more important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869876)

Obligatory - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-F8EO3qOVk [youtube.com]

Re:Decadal count is more important (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869984)

The trend is flat since 1998.

No it's not. 1998 was an outlier, as anyone with more than half a brain can tell by looking at the data. By definition, trends do not rely on outliers.

Re:Decadal count is more important (2)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869626)

Are averages even the best measure?

Sure, so we're getting more energy from the sun. Which means more heat, which makes air rise, and suck in cold air from the polar regions.

Thus, we have the polar regions rapidly heating up in not-so-statistically-insignificant terms of 5 - 10 degrees. And record unseasonably cold and hot flashes in the temperate regions in between.

There must be some measure other than an averaged thermometer readings that is actually meaningful in this context. Insert joke about hospital with a bunch of people with fevers and a bunch of dead people with an average temperature of 96.6F

"And it's a tragedy we can't" -- Trenberth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869420)

So, anyone got any leads on where all this heat is going? If the global average atmospheric temperature is the highest on record, surely that energy must be showing up somewhere? Or is this just showing the pointlessness of this particular measure of climate?

I mean, it'd be pretty silly if we had 100 years straight of 1 deg C temperature gains with no detectable change in weather or climate. That would tell us we're not measuring something relevant.

Re:"And it's a tragedy we can't" -- Trenberth (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869540)

Where is the heat going???! The point is not enough of it *IS* going.

No detectable change in weather or climate? Where the fuck are you living? Not Australia right now for a start.

Re:"And it's a tragedy we can't" -- Trenberth (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869858)

Weather and climate are not the same thing. It's stupid to even bring them up in the same sentence.

urbanization (1)

andoman2000 (1755610) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869422)

Couldn't have anything to do with the urbanization that occurred between 1880 and 2011 could it?

Re:urbanization (4, Insightful)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869742)

Couldn't have anything to do with the urbanization that occurred between 1880 and 2011 could it?

If by "urbanization" you mean "unprecedented emission of greenhouse gases combined with massive deforestation" then yes, that's pretty well supported by theory and observation. If by "urbanization" you mean "the false rumor that the presence of concrete magically makes thermometers in the ocean and in space register higher temperatures" then no, it couldn't

Skimpy data (-1, Troll)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869430)

Notable lack of numbers on any specific years. Probably because they've written a trend line for where the temperature should be to make the claim that every decade has been warmer-- when we know that this is a lie, and temperatures have not risen since 1998. Either that, or they were mistaken two years ago when they said that other factors like reduced solar activity were counteracting the expected warming.

Re:Skimpy data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869526)

it's skimpy data because you're not reading the actual study, you're reading an article that's talking about the study. say what you want about whether there should have been a link to those numbers or if they should have been given, but you can't expect every article that's focusing on a specific point of the study to include every single data point from the study as well. That would be extremely ridiculous. Don't fault an article for not giving you unnecessary details. It's an article about a study, not the study itself. I'm unsure about the actual study, but given that they're comparing recorded data and not extrapolated data, I'm fairly certain your accusations don't hold water.

Re:Skimpy data (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869664)

I keep seeing people saying that temperatures have not risen since 1998, but nobody ever cites any real data to back up that assertion. Care to step up?

Re:Skimpy data (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869674)

I think your tinfoil hat is on too tight.

Re:Skimpy data (2)

neonv (803374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869850)

The data from NASA is located here http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20110112/ [nasa.gov] .

The global average temperature went down from 2005 to 2008. It has gone up from 2008 to 2010. The nature of the data over the last hundred years shows an upward trend.

There are important questions that I wish everyone would consider when reading this. They are,

Is the cause is man made? (Consider volcanoes as a major CO2 source, sun energy output, etc)

Is the change significant?

Is the change preventable? (this is related to environmental factors that we have little control over, such as sun energy output)

What major sources of energy can we make available to replace oil and coal? One way or another, we have to answer this question eventually. Remember that we use close to the energy that the sun delivers to the Earth, so the combination of solar, hydro, bio fuel, and other sun energy sources will not be enough.

These questions are rarely answered, and will lead to a solution better than just using electric cars (which don't solve any problems since most power plants use coal).

Re:Skimpy data (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870028)

It's a lot easier to effect carbon-capture in power stations than it is to do so in cars. Regardless of whether it's man or nature that's heating the Earth, clearly it's in our best interests, and the interests of future generations, to try to do all we can at minimising it. We can't stop volcanoes from erupting, but we sure as hell can curb our emissions as a species.

In Cities where records are kept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869432)

Warmest on record where they keep the thermometers over blacktop as well. LOL Where is global warming when we need it. Snow in every state except Florida.

Re:In Cities where records are kept (2)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869790)

Warmest on record where they keep the thermometers over blacktop as well. LOL Where is global warming when we need it. Snow in every state except Florida.

And the summer was ridiculously hot, yes. Anyone who thinks that global warming means that temperatures will become uniformly higher, or less chaotic, is either dreaming or trolling.

Prepare yourself. Global warming actually means stronger hurricanes, drier dry spells, bigger floods, and more chaotic weather all around.

Utter utter rubbish (-1, Troll)

jbb999 (758019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869458)

Luckily few people without some kind of vested interest in this believes a word of this any more.
Frankly you'd have to be a special kind of stupid to after so many years and no evidence whatsoever.

I fully expect to be sitting here in my house in the year 2030 shivering in the snow being told that it's the 50th consecutive hottest year on record
(And that's why we have to pay more tax again....)

Sorry but no... Just no

Re:Utter utter rubbish (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869548)

Your house is not the world. Sometimes it snows over your house, but that doesn't mean it's snowing over my house. It might even be sunny over my house.

Frankly you'd have to be a special kind of stupid to claim that global temperature averages aren't on the increase. That it's all our fault and we're all going to die? I'm still waiting to be convinced.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869686)

Humans have had an undeniable impact on the global environment -- there is really no point in questioning that anymore. As for dying, well, nobody is claiming that our doom is near at hand, just that things are going to get a lot different and that we should be prepared for it, and perhaps taking steps to slow or halt the rate at which we emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We are already over the edge; it is a question of whether or not we want to worsen things for ourselves (or at least make things change more significantly than they are already destined to change).

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869884)

Beavers have had an undeniable impact on the global environment -- there is really no point in questioning that anymore. As for dying, well, nobody is claiming that our doom is near at hand, just that things are going to get a lot different and that we should be prepared for it, and perhaps taking steps to slow or halt the rate at which we beaver about. We are already over the edge; it is a question of whether or not we want to worsen things for ourselves (or at least make things change more significantly than they are already destined to change).

Also, bees, termites, algae, wrens, jellyfish, rats, trees, etc.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869928)

None of them have had as profound an effect as human beings.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (2)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869696)

Whether it's our fault or not, greenhouse-gas caused or not, doesn't matter as much. The more important question is, can we do something about it before even bigger catastrophes occur?

When people say, "global warming is a myth", they can't prove it with any certainty, but they would still choose to do nothing. If they're wrong, Millions or Billions of people die.

If we choose to do what we can to try and keep it from getting worse, and in the end all the climate scientists were wrong, what are the consequences? We spent more money than we had to?

To me it's kind of like car insurance, you pay money and hope the worst doesn't happen.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869796)

"Money" is just a medium here; it's a matter of where it makes sense to focus our efforts and resources. You're endorsing misallocation on an unprecedented scale.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869978)

I'm not endorsing anything except that action needs to be taken. But if you look at the reasons why people don't want to take ANY action, it mostly comes down to having to spend more money (better filtration systems, less air/water pollution, cleaner but more expensive power plants, etc.)

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870008)

If we choose to do what we can to try and keep it from getting worse, and in the end all the climate scientists were wrong, what are the consequences? We spent more money than we had to?

This is exactly right. If we swamp the world economy by the amount demanded by the AGWers then the impact on the third world from that will result in millions dying. Under no scenarios will billions die (other than the usual get old and die that everyone does.)

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869904)

But . . . But . . . drudgereport keeps pointing out stories all year long about how it's the coldest on record for a particular city here and there or how it's really cold today and how there's going to be snow tomorrow and, therefore, the weather this month proves a pattern over the last half million years and disproves all theories asserting otherwise!

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870036)

Worse then stupid. A liar and spreader of misinformation based on ignorance. I would rather deal with stupid then deal with people who not only insist on being ignorant, but insistent on making everyone ignorant.

It's a special kind of evil.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869588)

Luckily few people without some kind of vested interest in this believes a word of this any more.
Frankly you'd have to be a special kind of stupid to after so many years and no evidence whatsoever.

You'd have to be an absolute fucking imbecile to say there is no evidence whatsoever.

Re:Utter utter rubbish (1)

lp_bugman (623152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869720)

You might want read this link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weather/4436934/Snow-is-consistent-with-global-warming-say-scientists.html [telegraph.co.uk]

In short: Do not confuse weather with climate change. weather is a short term event. like this winter. climate is the global trend over a long period of time.

On the good side. scientists are expecting big changes to happen within our life time. So you should see with your own eyes if you were correct or wrong. Hint: Rising seas, famine and large human migrations.

When earths go bad!!! (5, Funny)

emt377 (610337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869498)

It gets hot, steamy, wet and wild!!!

Where?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869512)

Doesn't seem like that, here in Norway, with our 8 degrees celcius below average in December! How about sending a little of that warmth up north?

Re:Where?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869706)

You're aware that one of the more worrisome implications of global warming is the reduced salt concentration in the water slowing the Atlantic currents sending equatorial warmth your way, yes?

Re:Where?? (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870030)

Which is supposedly offset by the warmer air, which is causing all permafrost in the Arctic to melt, or at least the Canadian, Siberian, and Alaskan Arctic. Since the Atlantic currents are going to shut down, and stop "sending equatorial warmth", does that mean the glaciers will stop retreating?

Prologue to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869532)

You think man can destroy the earth? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the complex creatures in the sea, on the land.

...

When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time.

A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.

--Michael Crichton, Prologue to Jurassic Park, 1990

Re:Prologue to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869730)

Who gives a shit about that?

What I care about is are we hurting our own chances of living here?

Oh and stop quoting that nut case.

Re:Prologue to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (2)

mibe (1778804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869782)

Man can surely destroy man though.

Re:Prologue to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (2)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869838)

This is true. Anyone who tells you anthropogenic climate change means the end of the world is an idiot -- and I say that as a climate scientist.

However, many people including Crichton go on to conclude that human influence on climate is irrelevant and negligible. This is the logical equivalent of saying that since sticking your hand in a bucket of lye probably won't kill you, it's perfectly safe to go ahead and do it on a regular basis.

Also (1)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869546)

It was the wettest year on record. There you have it folks, Global Warming is an answer to our Fresh Water needs.

Re:Also (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869584)

Just like Master Chief is the answer to all the Floods.

Re:Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869682)

It was the wettest year on record. There you have it folks, Global Warming is an answer to our Fresh Water needs.

Unless you're drowning in it.

Yeah, but... (4, Informative)

W0lfRaven (1879918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869598)

Here's the temperature plotted over the last 32 years http://reason.com/blog/2011/01/06/global-temperature-trend-upate [reason.com] not as dramatic as you might think.

Re:Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869748)

And if you extrapolate out a bit you can see why it's so friggin cold right now. The temperatures have started dropping.

That's not to say it won't go back up but for the moment that explains the current cold sweeping the northern hemisphere.

Re:Yeah, but... (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869804)

Looks pretty dramatic and alarming to me, about a +0.4c average increase across the time frame.

Re:Yeah, but... (3, Insightful)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870012)

Type "global warming" into Wolfram Alpha and limit the graphic to 100 years, 50 years and 10 years. You get an increase of 0.7C, 1.44C and somewhere between -0.8 and +0.6C. Depending on your starting point, the trend may be misleading. The one with a range of 500 years and 100 years are pretty alarming though.

Also, people massively tend to underestimate the amount of energy to warm up an entire planetary atmosphere by this amount. 0.4C looks small, until you calculate the amount of energy necessary to heat up an *entire planet*. It's like a massive juggernaut - once it rolls, it's going to take a lot to stop it.

Lies, damned lies and statistics (1, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869628)

Have any of you noticed that every year they use a different set of reporting stations to "show" that it's the hottest year? That means that comparing the numbers from one year with those from another is exactly like comparing apples and oranges. There's no way you can get any meaningful information out of what they're doing. It's not good science, it's not even good pseudo-science, but it's good propaganda and, I'm beginning to believe, that's all this whole thing is about: propaganda by zealots who are determined to make converts whether the facts support their position or not.

Mods, before you mod me down simply because you don't like what I have to say, consider this: I have a friend with, among other things, a Masters in Statistical Inference. I ran this idea past him, recently, and he agreed. I'm not just throwing mud, or trying to confuse the issue, I'm pointing out a legitimate flaw in their methodology.

Re:Lies, damned lies and statistics (4, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869758)

I don't have a master's in statistical inference, just a plain old BS in engineering. And even I can tell that all of this "warmest year on record" business is just people getting worked up about short timescale noise in a signal with periodicity on the order of 400? 11,000? 400,000? years.

Maybe it is the warmest year on record. So what? Keep records for long enough and you'll wind up with a coldest year too.

Re:Lies, damned lies and statistics (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869774)

Have any of you noticed that every year they use a different set of reporting stations to "show" that it's the hottest year?

I haven't noticed that. It isn't mentioned in the article. All it says is:

The analysis produced at GISS is compiled from weather data from more than 1,000 meteorological stations around the world...

You make it sound like they chose the 5 hottest stations. Logically, they should take some statistical function of all the stations. It seems really unlikely that they are cherry picking stations to produce a result. NASA is a research organization.

P.S. If you get modded down, it will be because you made an outlandish accusation that NASA is falsifying evidence, with no evidence of your own. If what you say is true, that would be quite a scandal. I'd love to see someone point out what stations they are using and ask them why they are doing it that way.

Re:Lies, damned lies and statistics (2)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869784)

So, are you saying the polar ice caps aren't melting? And how do reporting stations matter when satellites are measuring the temperature? Earth gets warmer, ice caps melt, coastal areas flood. After this does it matter what caused it? Or should we maybe worry about what can be done about it?

Re:Lies, damned lies and statistics (1, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870050)

No, I'm not. I'm saying that I suspect the methodology of this study. I'm also not, by any means, convinced that a warmer climate wouldn't be a Good Thing in and of itself and I'm a tad skeptical about claims of sea level rising that much. (Note: I'm not saying they won't, just that I'm dubious.) Of course, I'm not only not a climate scientist, I don't play one on TV, Slashdot or anywhere else for that matter, so feel free to ignore my opinion if you want to.

ice caps-Re:Lies, damned lies and statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869956)

Antarctic ice is high, over the 30 year average. Up north, the trend is down, but the total is about constant for over 30 years.

The sea level has been rising for hundreds of years, and the rate is NOT accelerating.

The hottest year game is of little use, the hottest year (until Hansen starting adjusting the old data down) was in the 1930s.

I can supply urls for all this, or you can dig a bit, there is no catastrophic climate change, just mother nature doing what she has been doing for millions of years.

Re:Lies, damned lies and statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34870032)

It's a simpler observation that sea ice [wikipedia.org] and glaciers [wikipedia.org] -- which integrate temperature change and precipitation change over a far longer timescale -- have retreated world-wide on average for many years. As the article points out, interpreting the exact differences year-to-year is hard from temperature data, and the issues you've listed are part of the challenge of measuring it precisely, but the long-term trend is freaking obvious. There is no particular scientific value in recognizing a "record year", but average it over a decade and the pattern from the temperatures are also obvious.

It's not simply the quirks of statistics if profound physical changes are actually seen on the ground, and they are.

Downward revisioning by NASA (-1, Troll)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869636)

The skeptic blogs continuously catch NASA revising older temperatures down. 1998 has been the hottest year on record... Now 2005/2010 is? This article [wattsupwiththat.com] from a skeptic blog concedes that 2010 was hot, but the included graph shows 2005 no where hear 1998/2010. What is the point of mislabeling 2005? Does a 5 year gap lend more credence to AGW than a 12 year gap?

where are the error bars and raw data ? (4, Insightful)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869660)

without some idea of the error in the measurments, hard to tell what a change of x deg F means

Re:where are the error bars and raw data ? (5, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869954)

The actual data this press release is based on is here [nasa.gov] .

Versions of this data released to the media generally don't include error bars, though they should. But the methodology is the same as Hansen's 2006 paper [nasa.gov] :

"Estimated 2-sigma error (95% confidence) in comparing nearby years of global temperature (Fig. 1A), such as 1998 and 2005, decreases from 0.1C at the beginning of the 20th century to 0.05C in recent decades (4)."

Thus, the data errors are just a little smaller than the year-to-year variations, but are far, far smaller than the century-long trend. Which is why Hansen stresses that it doesn't really matter exactly which year is the hottest on record: what matters is how this decade stacks up to the rest of the 20th century.

Let's All Be Careful with Our Units (1)

Wowlapalooza (1339989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869680)

Summary is wrong: the difference was actually 0.018 degrees Rankine, not Fahrenheit.

Sheesh, don't these article-summary writers know anything about Science...?

So we've been keeping records for 130 years... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869718)

... and somehow people who are all up in arms about global warming think that this is representative of what the earth's climate is actually like?

Do these people have any idea how old the Earth actually is?

Global Warming a hoax? (5, Insightful)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869806)

Thank God man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt Nasa would be telling us that this year is now the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia's vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapour, the world's storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence – drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China.

The world's ice sheets would be sloughing off massive melting chunks four times the size of Manhattan. The cost of bread would be soaring across the world as heat shrivelled the wheat crops. The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be fizzing into the oceans, making them more acidic and so killing 40 per cent of the phytoplankton that make up the irreplaceable base of the oceanic food chain.

Oh, wait.....

Re:Global Warming a hoax? (2, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869982)

The problem is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince everybody that there is a problem it will be far, far too late to do anything about it.

You have to remember that we live in a world where most people still believe in the supernatural, where people in power still consider prayer to be of value and where people still go around killing each other because they disagree about invisible beings with superpowers.

Trying to convince everyone is a pointless waste of effort. We need to find ways of making people WANT change irrespective of personal religious or political beliefs. If every naysayer on the planet actually WANTED the most fuel efficient vehicles, or light bulbs, if the NIMBYs actually WANTED wind farms in the neighborhood because they saw the advantages then we could actually move forward instead of getting stuck arguing over issues while the world slowly burns.

What would you say... (1)

deesine (722173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870056)

is the dollar per degree of temperature effectiveness given the state of green tech? Really, how many trillions do we have to spend to affect each .1 degree K?

Shouldn't be too hard to calculate, given that this is science we are talking about, right?

Solar Activity... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869828)

Depending which cycle you believe, 2010 was also predicted (I dont' think official numbers are out yet) to be a peak year in solar activity for not only this decade, but for the last 80 years. No matter which model you believe, the sun runs on an 11 year cycle, and we are at the peak of the current cycle right now. As I recall, that was a motivating factor for getting some of the more recent satellites up into orbit that have been monitoring the sun's activity the last few years.

Pretty cool insight into Solar Variation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Solar Activity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869916)

You couldn't be more wrong.

Hanson gets it done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34869830)

NOAA said "tied" [sciencenews.org] . Japan said "second highest" [indiatimes.com] . UAH says "tied" [reportingc...cience.com] with 1998.

That's not what the media wants. When you need a really good headline you go to Hanson. He never hesitates to hand-wave statistical error and say "hottest" on cue.

And yet... Curiously Cold and Wet in So, Cal. (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869866)

I dare say we didn't have a proper summer... and may indeed be having a proper winter.

Please stay up to date... (0, Troll)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869946)

Everyone who has been using the term "global warming" is out of date. Passe. Please keep up with the latest developments.

It's is now "global climate change". That way it doesn't matter if the planet is getting warmer or colder. As long as it is changing the "global climate change" proponents will be correct. Sort of like betting on both black and red on the roulette table. You only lose if 0 (or 00) comes up.

Thank you for your attention. You may now return to the "yes it is/no it isn't/its fucking cold out/weather is not climate you moron" flame war.

The crux of the matter (0)

amightywind (691887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869972)

Well that does it. Please government, double my taxes! Send the extra to the scientific elites. They know what's best for me.

(Frankly, I don't give a piss about the climate as long as I have gas for my Chevy Tahoe!)

NASA Gets Busted All The Time (3, Informative)

chromozone (847904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34869974)

NASA, GISS and James Hansen have been busted before (by amateurs) for being wrong several times :

Deja Vu All Over Again: Blogger Again Finds Error in NASA Climate Data

NASA'S Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is one of the world's primary sources for climate data. GISS issues regular updates on world temperatures based on their analysis of temperature readings from thousands of monitoring stations over the globe.

GISS’ most recent data release originally reported last October as being extraordinarily warm-- a full 0.78C above normal. This would have made it the warmest October on record; a huge increase over the previous month's data.

Those results set off alarm bells with Steve McIntyre and his gang of Baker Street irregulars at Climateaudit.org. They noted that NASA's data didn't agree at all with the satellite temperature record, which showed October to be very mild, continuing the same trend of slight cooling that has persisted since 1998. So they dug a little deeper.

An alert reader on McIntyre's blog revealed that there was a very large problem. Looking at the actual readings from individual stations in Russia showed a curious anomaly. The locations had all been assigned the exact temperatures from a month earlier-- the much warmer month of September. Russia cools very rapidly in the fall months, so recycling the data from the earlier month had led to a massive temperature increase.

A few locations in Ireland were also found to be using September data..

Steve McIntyre informed GISS (run by Hansen) of the error by email. According to McIntyre, there was no response, but within "about an hour", GISS pulled down the erroneous data, citing a "mishap" and pointing the finger of blame upstream to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)."

http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=13410&red=y#366381 [dailytech.com]

NOAA has been singled out for calling 2010 the warmest year using faulty data

NOAA’s Jan-Jun 2010 Warmest Ever: Missing Data, False Impressions

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/17/noaas-jan-jun-2010-warmest-ever-missing-data-false-impressions/ [wattsupwiththat.com]

So 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009... (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34870040)

Global Cooling!!!
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