back to article 2012 was warmest year ever recorded in USA

Earth’s surface area is 510 million km2, but the State of the Climate report from the USA's National Climatic Data Center at the nation’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the contiguous USA’s 7.664 million km2 experienced its hottest year ever recorded during 2012, which it also ranked the second most “ …

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Uhh...

I know some of we USians have a bit of an inflated ego but I don't think even the most brazen would claim the area of the US was some 15,000 times that of the whole earth.

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Re: Uhh...

Texas.

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Headmaster

Re: Uhh...

That period is a decimal point, not a thousands separator. The report is actually claiming 13% of the 510-million figure.

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Facepalm

Re: Uhh...

Or the 510 million figure was missing the word million. I'll use this as a teaching moment to use the "send corrections" link first.

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Who swallowed a dictionary?

And later regurgitated the word "adumbrates". Defined as "to give a vague outline".

Nice one.

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Re: Who swallowed a dictionary?

adumbrates - word of the year already, and it's only January!

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FAIL

We live on a tiny planet!

Really? "Earth’s surface area is 510 km2"

I know there is a Send corrections link, but errors like that in the very first line are just embarrassing.

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Anonymous Coward

I see the warming is highest in the Liberal east

The fly over states (Rep) must be praying the heat away!!

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Childcatcher

Re: I see the warming is highest in the Liberal east

Liberals tend to be city-based. Cities tend to be hotter and more polluting of the environment than rural areas.

Irony can be so cruel.

Just out of interest, given that its so hard to account properly for human activity, shouldn't we be measuring global warming using stats taken well away from areas of significant human activity?

Obligatory: http://xkcd.org/1138/

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Two grains of salt to take with this data

First, the US (and much of Canada) experienced a strange phenomena last year where the jet stream was pushed much further north than usual, to the edge of the Arctic Circle, for most of fall 2011, winter 2012 and spring 2012. We saw 50s and 60s (with a couple records broken) in the first half of January, along with the 80s (and a couple more records broken) in the first half of March due to that, which pushed the averages for those months up significantly. We only had one cold snap with temperatures below zero (F, the cold zero) where we usually see that two or three times a winter (so far one such cold snap this winter here, back in December)

Second, a very large segment of the US was experiencing a fairly severe drought in 2012. Dry air allows daytime temperatures to go significantly higher than moist air. We had a brutal July looking at the thermometer, but it actually was not as bad as a typical July because usually that's when the humidity shoots through the roof but didn't this year because of the lack of moisture reduced evapotranspiration that normally puts a lot more moisture in the air thanks to all the cropland (particularly corn - it "sweats" enough that after a wet spring we'll see dewpoints in the low 80s at times)

Based on these factors, I don't think the record for 2012 is a surprise, and the alarmists might want to tone down the alarm a bit unless the same thing happens again in 2013 and 2014. Now, one may try to argue that the jet stream circling the Arctic and the drought were caused by the same processes that are believed to cause global warming, but I haven't seen anyone claim to make a definitive association between them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

So you're saying because there's a cause for your extreme weather, it's nothing to worry about?

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

@DougS

Just because you can "explain" it doesn't mean it is no longer abnormal.

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

@DougS

So your response to extreme weather "alarmists" is to point out two alarming examples of extreme weather in North America?

How do you extinguish fires? Kerosene?

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Coat

Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

"How do you extinguish fires? Kerosene?"

Pedant alert - Something I learnt from barbecue lighting FAILs - small fires CAN be extinguished with a bucket of kerosene. It's ignition point is quite high and it ignites very well as a vapour, not very well as a volume of liquid. A bucketload of kerosene can cut out the oxygen for a fire + cool the surrounding material as well as a bucket of water. As well as leaving the kerosene pourer embarassed and perplexed.

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

@James Micallef

You seem to be nominating yourself for a Darwin Award runner-up prize.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kerosene

I was making some tea over a campfire once and accidentally poured a bottle of kerosene into the kettle rather than water. I got it to a rapid boil and only noticed it tasted a bit funny after the bag was in....

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

It's fun to watch the hoops you have to jump through here.

1. America has record weather.

2. It's OK - they're because of <technical explanation of unusual weather patterns redacted/>. That's what caused it.

3. But what caused those unusual weather patterns?

4. They are a predicted consequence of increased global atmospheric temperature due to greenhouse gas emissions Nothing caused them. Luck caused them. It was the baby Jesus!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

"Just because you can "explain" it doesn't mean it is no longer abnormal"

Additionally, 'abnormal' does not directly infer CAGW - although to the lunatics it surely will.

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

I expected downvotes from the people who believe in AGW without question, because it offers the convenient prediction of "more droughts, more floods, more extreme weather" so anytime any of those things occur it can be linked to AGW. Trouble is, droughts, floods and extreme weather occurred long before there was any possibility of human induced climate change, so obviously they can happen without any linkage to it. But if I mention that possibility the alarmists are alarmed, and shout me down every bit as much as the climate deniers attempt to shout down AGW. Like a heretic at a church picnic

If 2013 happened to be the coldest year on record, the true believers will claim that, as an extreme weather event, it is also predicted as a result of AGW. When we recently had a couple years with few and weak hurricanes in the US (despite rather warm water in the south Atlantic, which typically leads to more/stronger hurricanes) this was excused as being the type of greater variation in extreme weather that one would expect from AGW.

I'm not an AGW denier, I guess you could say I'm an agnostic on it at this point. But a theory that can be used to predict everything that occurs and thus cannot be falsified is exactly as useful as belief in God as a scientific theory. In order to be convince those who have retained a healthy amount of skepticism based on the past record of scientific "groupthink", AGW needs to make some predictions that allow for the possibility that it may be falsified. Without that, me and those like me are never going to subscribe to it. You true believers can consider us dim and unscientific all you want, but I believe the opposite is true.

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

"[...] it offers the convenient prediction of 'more droughts, more floods, more extreme weather' so anytime any of those things occur it can be linked to AGW."

Perhaps I misunderstood you, but it seems to me that you are saying "if an outcome matches a prediction that means that the theory behind the prediction was wrong." So exactly what sort of weather trends and other phenomena would you accept in support of AGW? What would convince you?

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

No, you misunderstand. I'm saying that if ALL weather phenomena (aside from a decades long decline in temperatures) is considered to be something predicted by the theory, the theory is essentially unfalsifiable and thus like any such theory should be regarded with extreme skepticism.

If droughts, floods, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, lack of hurricanes, even entire years with below average temperatures can be considered to be something that one would expect as a result of AGW, how exactly could we ever determine it is not happening? Aside from below normal temperatures lasting for a decade or longer - hopefully that would be sufficient. But I have a feeling that if it happened the AGW true believers would come up with some mechanism whereby something like (for example) the melting of the Arctic ice would cause some temporary changes to the climate lasting a decade or two, and thus even a 20 year long cold snap of below normal temperatures might not be sufficient to disprove AGW.

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

@DougS

Science modifies its models when its predictions don't match measurements. If climate scientists modify their models to match changes in weather patterns - whatever they may be - then they are simply being scientists.

You appear to be unintentionally demonstrating why your use of the label "true believers" is fatuous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

The higgs particle was set to be found within a large range of testable (at least theoretically) constraints. While it was impossible to prove for some time the constraints existed. When the tests were run there was nowhere left within the constraints to change their minds. It was a testable, solid, scientific theory. If it didnt appear within the data then they were wrong, not shifting the models, they were wrong. But they found it which leads to further science.

The same level of science does not apply to MMCC. If temperature rises it is proof, even if the rise is indistinguishable from natural (well below prediction). Solid and measurable constraints were made, and proven wrong, yet the theory is still pushed (some of these constraints were bull thereby disqualifying the science). The umbrella of MMCC contains unscientific and completely bull constraints and information, duff predictions, completely made up data and various other fraud which has been exposed over time (by real science).

So what are the current constraints?-

>If anything changes at all it supports the theory (forgetting that climate does change, always has).

>If the predictions fail (as they have vastly) reduce the expected input (change) but still expect the same result (output) even though the data doesnt support that.

>When a large period of time (years) pass with no relation to the predictions assume something is stopping the expected change, but with no clue what it is expect the same result.

I ask you now to apply those constraints to the existence of god. This is why religion cant be proven wrong, because the goalposts move and the science/scientific reasoning doesnt exist.

Every time the result fails to match the theory they should say they were wrong. That is the answer and the correct answer. They can then come back with a new theory and try that if they please. But who would assume they are right now when all they would be saying over all these years is that they are wrong? Which means that current policy to fight against MMCC is not based on science or a working theory, because the theories have yet to work.

It isnt a surprise either because so much of climate is unknown. Forgetting the lies and manipulated data there is a huge gap in our knowledge of how the basic features such as clouds interact with global temperature. Or even the co2 absorption of pretty much anything natural on earth. In the face of such massive unknowns and no working theory there is no reason to assume the MMCC cult is right. It doesnt mean they should stop looking, but they should split into the church and the science. One group assumes like creationists that they are right regardless of fact, and the other actually figure out what is happening.

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Re: Two grains of salt to take with this data

"The same level of science does not apply to MMCC"

Yes it does. Remember the "Neutrino 'faster than light'" caper last year? The data appeared to falsify relativity and many people jumped to that conclusion. But scientists DIDNT because they felt relativity had too much evidence going for it to be simply dismissed by one observation. Instead they questioned the data. If the Higgs Boson had been elusive you can bet they'd have tried everything to explain why it was still there, but they missed it too.

As for MMCC the idea that rising CO2 will cause significant warming has high confidence. It's akin to if scientists knew the sun would warm up over 2% in the next 100 years (which would be a staggeringly unprecedented solar increase)

Now say a researcher predicts from this that the next 10 years will warm, but then we find they don't. Does that mean the idea of warming over 100 years is falsified? No. There's too much evidence going for the idea that the world will warm. It's far more likely that only the specific 10 year prediction was wrong because of a short-term factor operating on that timescale. So scientists look for that factor instead of concluding a 2% warmer Sun will have no warming effect.

">If anything changes at all it supports the theory (forgetting that climate does change, always has)."

No warming for 10 years doesn't support the theory unless the theory expects that. But no warming for 10 years can be consistent with the theory if the theory doesn't expect warming over every 10 year period.

"When a large period of time (years) pass with no relation to the predictions assume something is stopping the expected change, but with no clue what it is expect the same result."

1) If scientists predict the Sun's output will increase by 2% over 100 years and this will cause 3C warming.

2) The actual expected warming over 100 years will be that 3C plus and minus all other influences on climate.

3) If they don't know those other effects then the expected warming is 3C +- X, although X is quite a bit smaller than 3C (historically).

4) Even if it doesn't warm for 10 years that doesn't constrain the total warming by 100 unless you know the nature of X.

5) Therefore 10 years without warming does not alter the expectation of an average of 3C +- X warming over the 100 year period, unless you assume a certain nature of X. It could equally be the case that X may be negative over those 10 years to be consistent with the theory. Which you lean to depends on the confidence in the estimated figure and understanding of X.

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Anonymous Coward

@Nom

The Neutrino incident is a good example. Some data released without verifying it correctly. Assumptions jumped to. Then science (after scientific work is done) reveals the truth. That sounds very much like climate science and its repeated corrections. Yet you believe the premature release! Remember, most of what affects climate is not well understood. Proven more by the predictions being well above fact.

The high confidence that increased co2 will result in higher temperatures is sort of justified. As long as you completely ignore the other things that affect climate. Which is not well understood. Proven more by the predictions being well above fact.

If the researcher predicts the earth will warm for 10 years and it doesnt there is no grey ground. He is wrong. Failed. Mistake. Not right. Any facts he based it on may be real but the prediction failed, was wrong, mistake, not right. The reason its wrong may be another factor, and so he was still wrong! Return with new theory accepting that new factor and you have a new theory requiring proof. If it works it may be right but if not it is definitely without room (except for cultists) wrong!

If fact != reality then scientifically the theory is wrong. You assume wiggle room around this, as does either cult (pro/deny). This is fact, this is solid.

The rest of your post explains how to move goal posts so wrong != wrong and anything that does happen = support for the theory. Otherwise known as religion. And no matter how much science proves you wrong (the facts) you are certain because you believe.

Sorry but I dont have such faith

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Re: @Nom

"The high confidence that increased co2 will result in higher temperatures is sort of justified. As long as you completely ignore the other things that affect climate."

I don't ignore the other things that affect climate. I think there is high confidence that increased co2 will result in higher temperatures, despite the other things that affect climate.

Equally I have high confidence that were the Sun to increase output by 2% (it typically varies by only 0.1%) over the 21st century, that would result in higher temperatures too.

It comes down to plausibility. If the Sun were to increase output by 2%, basic thermodynamics from back-of-envelope calculations tells me the Earth will warm significantly and the plausible range of that warming is more than global temperature typically changes in a century. The 20th century for example warmed by 0.8C, but most prior centuries where there is data typically show far less change (eg 0.1C cooling over a 100 year period). Nature simply doesn't move global temperature around that fast typically.

So there are only two ways to prevent that 2% solar increase causing the Earth to warm. You either require sheer coincidence, eg that suddenly by chance a string of super volcanoes goes off and negate the solar warming, or you require strange rube goldberg type machines to exist in climate that will *significantly* dampen the solar increase (but *only* the solar increase - if it dampened everything then there wouldn't be any changes).

It just isn't plausible. Which is why scientists have high confidence, despite the unknowns, that CO2 this century will cause dominating warming. A doubling of CO2 of course producing the same imbalance as a 2% increase in solar output (both about 4wm-2) which is why I picked the example.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Nom

"I don't ignore the other things that affect climate. I think there is high confidence that increased co2 will result in higher temperatures, despite the other things that affect climate."

And that says it all. Despite the many variables which all contribute to the warming/cooling of global temperatures along with our lack of knowledge over them. Add that to the unknown reactions of natural life on earth which has been through this before. Add the utterly useless 'solutions' which mostly seem to fail to achieve their goal (often more harmful) with few exceptions. And yet you still believe (despite all that) that co2 is the be all end all problem and that the climate is based on that.

I will admit to completely ignoring the rest of your comment because you have summed up your entire position in those 2 lines. Putting forward an argument for changes in the sun and then opposing your own argument in an attempt to look like you know what your talking about is pointless. You have already stated that despite everything you believe its co2, even though it does not relate to facts. Its your belief. And I leave you with your belief and continue to look for answers (scientific ones).

May your god go with you.

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Re: @Nom

"And that says it all. Despite the many variables which all contribute to the warming/cooling of global temperatures along with our lack of knowledge over them."

So you disagree there's high confidence that a 2% increase in solar activity would warm the Earth?

What about a 10% increase?

A 100% increase?

At what point does your appeal to ignorance break down?

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Repeat the rightist mantra

"Global warming does not exist, everything is fine,

Global warming does not exist, everything is fine..."

Told enough times it is enough for a large part of the Anglo-saxon population to be relieved, see http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/10/07/global-warming-deniers-are-loudest-in-the-u-s-and-uk/

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Re: Repeat the rightist mantra

Corn/wheat crop failure in the US, everything is fine (if bread and beef are not eye wateringly expensive).

Should we experience schadenfreude?

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Typical

They get the warmest year ever recorded and we get the wettest year ever recorded.

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Happy

Re: Typical

- I presume you mean England - as it was only the 17th wettest for Scotland!

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Frustrating irrelevancies

"To date, 2012 has seen 11 disasters that have reached the $1 billion threshold in losses"

So what? That's meaningless - inflation alone means that if the same events had occurred in the 1950's, none of them would have reached $1 billion. Add to that the increase in size of cities on the coast, and in vulnerable areas (looking at you, Florida) and it's amazing that more events don't reach that threshold, not that 11 events did.

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4 billion years of climate, 100 years of climate data

You can obviously draw very accurate conclusions about what is and is not abnormal from such a vast dataset.

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Re: 4 billion years of climate, 100 years of climate data

If you want to make this statement in future (and I don't know why you would ... it is utterly without meaning or worth) then you should at least get your numbers correct. The "climate" in any meaningful sense has only been around for about 600 million years. Hope this helps. xxx

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Re: 4 billion years of climate, 100 years of climate data

Actually, as far as Mankind ( in all its' Glory , etc...) is concerned, Climate as it concerns us started only rougly 15.000 years ago with the end of the last glacial period of the latest ice age, which may or may not be over.

I leave it to peeps themselves to track all the ( historically and archeologically documented) wobbles we've had over those few ( from a global point of view) years at times where something like Anthropogenic Influence is a bit of a hot contested topic, but that doesn't change the fact that we're *just* at the bounce-back stage of a geological cold extreme. Which makes "global warming" even over geological timescales actually highly probable, regardless of what mankind does.

Mind, that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea to have a good hard look at how we're managing our environment, but I'm personally more worried about the growing global pollution ( which is quite real and accurately quantifiable) than a putative change in "climate" which may or may not inconvenience our cushy lifestyle.

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Unhappy

If the Reg had been doing their homework...

...they would have:

1 - mentioned that the released data was only from the first stations to report (which they did)

2 - noted that these first stations are the automatic ones (which usually means airports, etc) (which they didn't)

3 - noted that these are usually the warmest stations (which they didn't)

so, 4 - noted that the claimed average temperature will almost certainly drop to a lower non-record level when all the data is in...

It's a shame that science is now reduced to political point-scoring...

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Re: If the Reg had been doing their homework...

The stations report monthly, not annually. So the only data being waited for is going to be for December, and perhaps at a push November.

Given the bulk of the data is in and 2012 is so high it's implausible that 2012 will be revised to non-record status.

http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/us/2012/ann/YTD_allyears_Dec2012.png

It's akin to expecting Romney to still win.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If the Reg had been doing their homework...

So a cold month is irrelevant when looking for extreme changes in average temperature? Because data so far shows the potential for use for the cause the rest of the data can be ignored? It is that kind of logic and lack of science which created a whole new raft of uncertainty.

This data cant be jumped on to support or deny MMCC as it is not an answer. Any believer who thinks it does has to accept that any year could be wildly out of whack and ignored, just as the last x years have not followed the MMCC theory yet we are told to wait because such anomaly is to be expected/cast aside as irrelevant.

MMCC is like the theory of god(s). Impossible to disprove but anything in any direction regardless of actual cause will be used to support it. Why do we exist? Coz of god. Why does it warm, cool, rain, snow, ice, sun, tornado, do nothing different? MMCC. Now fellow believers, go out and convert your fellow man and remind them that salvation comes with repentance and the collection plate.

Not saying the cult of the denier is right but the cult of the "we all doomed" are just funny

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WTF?

Must have been cold everywhere else

Not hearing reports of a global post-1998 record yet.

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Facepalm

Global warming, Nah! Its not that!!

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