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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 10/18/2010

Climate warming: Hottest year-to-date on record

By Jason Samenow

* Global warming poll cause for despair? | Clouding over: Full Forecast *

Temperature departures from normal for the period Jan 1-September 30, 2010. Source: NOAA

In its latest climate summary, NOAA reported Friday:

The first nine months of 2010 tied with the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record. The global average land surface temperature for January-September was the second warmest on record, behind 2007. The global ocean surface temperature for January-September was also the second warmest on record, behind 1998.

Coinciding with the global warmth, Arctic sea ice reached its the third lowest extent on record (30.4 percent below average) in September. On the other side of the globe, Antarctic sea ice - which has been more stable than Arctic sea ice - thickened to its third highest extent on record (2.3 percent above average).

NOAA's summary also provided an update on La Nina -- which strengthened from weak to moderate during September. As we have already discussed, global temperatures typically cool during La Nina so it's unlikely the last three months of 2010 will sustain the record warmth, notwithstanding the fact the warmth "stubbornly refused" to relent in September.

See also this video update from Climate Central on La Nina and current temperature trends.

By Jason Samenow  | October 18, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is new global warming poll cause for despair?
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Warmest on record SINCE WHEN? It's not like we have records going back to far. And where are the temps measured?

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | October 18, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse


NOAA's temp records go back to 1880. Temps are measured all over the world. More info here:

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | October 18, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

1880...hardly significant in historical terms. COme on, got to do better than that!

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | October 18, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse


Any chance we could get the margin of error info on their temperature measurements? Their chart would be much more valuable if they would provide the margin of error information. Wouldn't you agree?

Can we also find out how many years fall into that margin of error? I suspect that quite a few years fall into the margin of error.

If this Jan to March turns out to be a record setter in terms of cold, can we expect to see a "Coldest Year-To-Date on Record" headline from NOAA and/or CWG?

Thanks in advance.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 18, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse


re: error bars and so forth, NOAA discusses in this methodological paper: -- they estimate plus or minus 0.2 C.

We'd absolutely report out on record cold.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | October 18, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Which years fall into plus or minus 0.2 of this current Jan-Sep record? I suspect it is quite a few.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 18, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Jason, looking over the Smith et al. paper you linked, I don't think the 0.2 C number you cited is correct. That value comes up twice in the paper, first for the individual station error and second for the error in estimating 20th century warming. But as stated in the text, individual errors are greatly reduced when taking averages over space and time. And the main error in estimating secular warming is surely the difficulty is separating interannual variability from longer time scales.

Table 5 in the paper shows their estimated global-annual standard temperature errors for the new dataset. It is 0.09 C for the 19th century, 0.07 C for the first half of the 20th century, and 0.03 C since 1951.

Posted by: imback | October 18, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse


Good clarification. I was referring to the error for the 20th century warming (it wasn't clear what Mr. Q. was really asking for). But you're right, the error absolutely gets reduced for more recent decades and where you have better spatial resolution.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | October 18, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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