Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011 was globally the 9th warmest year since 1880

Well, the numbers are in: according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), 2011 was globally the 9th warmest year since 1880, and 9 of the 10 warmest years have happened since 2000, with temperatures +0.92F (+0.51C) higher than the mid-20th century, which is used as a baseline for comparison.

Oh, and remember that 2011 was supposed to be a La Nina year (and that La Nina years are supposed to be colder than other years)?
"We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting," said GISS director James E. Hansen. "So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record." 
And still 2011 broke into the top 10. Next year - unless we have two La Nina years in a row - is likely to be warmer globally. And if we have an El Nino year?
Hansen said he expects record-breaking global average temperature in the next two to three years because solar activity is on the upswing and the next El Niño will increase tropical Pacific temperatures. The warmest years on record were 2005 and 2010, in a virtual tie

"It's always dangerous to make predictions about El Niño, but it's safe to say we'll see one in the next three years," Hansen said. "It won't take a very strong El Niño to push temperatures above 2010."

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