Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Warmest 12-Month Period Recorded In US 297

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
First time accepted submitter seanzig writes "Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground provides a good overview of the State of the Climate Report from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). May 2011 through Apr. 2012 broke the previous record (Nov. 1999 — Oct. 2000). A number of other interesting records (e.g., warmest March on record) and stats emerged. It just presents the data and does not surmise anything about the causes or what should be done about it."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Warmest 12-Month Period Recorded In US

Comments Filter:
  • Keep it coming! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by busyqth (2566075) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:41PM (#39947557)
    The winter gardening this year was out of sight.
    If it stays like this, I might never have to buy veggies again.
    Hooray for warming!
    • Mosquitoes are happy too!

      But warm nights are NOT GOOD for most crops besides soybeans.

      However, Canadians can now enjoy a Spring.

    • by flaming error (1041742) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:55PM (#39947747) Journal

      Way ahead of you. Since 1996 I haven't even eaten veggies.

    • Wonder what has Fox News to say now?

      They have repeatedly claimed that snow implies that Global Warming is a hoax.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P [youtube.com]...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN7-k-RXvSQ [youtube.com]

      This is why I don't like the arguers against AGW, they resort to such cheap shots that it's hard to take them seriously. It definitely works on their target demographic though.

      Note: I am in no way implying that a hot summer is evidence of global warming.

      • by Courageous (228506) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:56PM (#39948897)

        I am personally rather indifferent to the whole GW/AGW affair. That said, it's just silly to infer that extra snow means the globe isn't warming. For example, consider: if 100 billion tons of ice melts at the poles, and global snow levels then increase, in winter, when was the water cooler: 1) when it spent all year round being ice, or 2) when it spends 4 months a year as ice? If you guessed #1, you'd be right.

        Of course, I can ask the question a different way, and just make you mental. If the globe is warming, and the average temperature goes up, would it be possible for the increased water vapor as it traveled across the poles to actually generate an expanding ice sheet? If you agreed that it was possible, you'd be right.

        Now the part that will make you mental is that these two questions imply answers that could be superficially viewed as contradictory. I'm fun at a party, eh?

        C//

        • by microbox (704317) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:10PM (#39950127)

          That said, it's just silly to infer that extra snow means the globe isn't warming.

          Indeed. In the process of joining conclusions backwards to supporting evidence, may denialists indeed use such an argument. The smart ones move onto smarter arguments, but nothing that hasn't already been definitively answered for someone willing to look.

          Political reasoning is abhorrently dishonest, even in really smart people. Curiously enough, the mind prevents us from seeing just how dishonest we are being with ourselves. We really could solve our problems with politics didn't involve so much head-in-ass time.

          • by Courageous (228506) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @11:00AM (#39955431)

            Political reasoning is abhorrently dishonest, even in really smart people. Curiously enough, the mind prevents us from seeing just how dishonest we are being with ourselves.

            In my mind it's all about confirmation bias. Which is to say, when confronted with a larger list of facts to assess, human beings have a remarkable ability to select only a small subset of the facts and use those to confirm their beliefs. I encountered this last year. I will relay the anecdote.

            Sometime last year a study came out that "proved" that caffeine drinkers who regularly drink caffeine induce no practical effect to themselves, and only restore themselves to what would be a baseline level. Over a twenty year period I have read summaries on many, many caffeine studies. This particular study stood alone as an outlier in a much larger field of study. I noted this with amusement and went on with my life.

            One day not so long later, I was getting coffee at work. A coworker of mine intruded to attempt to tell me about the study. I cut him off cold, and was quite irritated. This coworker was Mormon. I did not need to mire in the narrowly minded comfort-confirmed mentality of someone who is able to learn nothing else. It's just sad, really.

            Of course on the subject of global warming, the issue is political. I once heard a great definition of politics, once: "politics is who gets what". It's true. While politics is about many things, it's certainly about resource allocation, and when you consider it from that perspective, and decide to tolerate the notion that for human beings resource allocation will always be highly contentious, what you will do is become a bit jaded like me, which is to say, unsurprised, disdainful, and accepting of the ugliness of politics all at the same time.

            C//

    • Your garden depends on winter to periodically kill diseases and pests.

      • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:18PM (#39947993)
        Unless you have a disease and pest garden
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Your garden depends on winter to periodically kill diseases and pests.

        Yeah, it's a pisser down there in Florida where nothing at all grows any more due to all the pests and disease.

        • by 0111 1110 (518466)

          And god forbid you live somewhere like Costa Rica or Colombia. Nothing at all grows down there.

          • by alonsoac (180192)

            Sure but the crops that grow here in Costa Rica have adapted to the pests and disease over a long time. We don't know if they will be able to survive after sudden changes in weather patterns and new pests and diseases or what it will cost us to help them survive.

            This year the dry season was like one month shorter. An extra month of rain each year is no fun and it can cause even more flooding which has reduced crop output in past years. But then last year we had record droughts which reduced output from hydr

      • by RKBA (622932)
        TIL: There are no gardens on the equator. ;-)
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:41PM (#39947559) Homepage Journal

    Panic!

    Because either the world is ending, or there is going to be a massive flamewar. Decide which one you want to panic over.

  • by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:48PM (#39947639)

    1) Buy Ten-foot-pole.
    2) Rent a flame retardant Hasmat suite (too expensive to buy it).
    3) Hire some bystander who is oblivious to contents of manilla envelope.
    4) Send innocent bystander on fools errand to present climate data.
    5) While in underground bunker; DUCK!

  • by haruchai (17472) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:53PM (#39947705)

    Any bets on how long it'll before they start swarming in here claiming that 17xx / 18xx / 19xx was so much hotter; how this was really the coldest period on record and that James Hansen is a commie?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by hkmwbz (531650)
      Not sure why you are being modded down. I predict that your prediction will be spot on. Deniers are quite predictable.
  • by khipu (2511498) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:54PM (#39947731)

    It just presents the data and does not surmise anything about the causes or what should be done about it."

    Let me fill in the blanks for you. It's getting warmer because of anthropogenic carbon emissions. And no matter what you think should be done about it, nothing is going to be done about it because people are not going to agree on a common course of action.

    So, better get used to it: it's going to get a lot warmer. But why that may be unpleasant and costly for some, it's not going to be the end of civilization.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)

      " it's not going to be the end of civilization."
      yeah, lets see what you have to say when we hit 500ppm

      • by khipu (2511498) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:56PM (#39948389)

        yeah, lets see what you have to say when we hit 500ppm

        What are you talking about? 500 ppm is pretty much inevitable at this point. IPCC predictions go as high as 900ppm in 2090 and even the IPCC doesn't predict the end of civilization at that level. In fact, even in the absolute worst case scenario, namely total melting of all ice caps over a few centuries (and that's how long it's going to take no matter what), how do you imagine that would end civilization?

    • It's nice to know there are (last ditch) ways to cool down the climate using Mt. Pinatubo as an example.

      "Information in the fifth chapter of the book about global warming proposes that the global climate can be regulated by geo-engineering of a stratoshield[5] based upon patented technology from Nathan Myhrvold's company Intellectual Ventures.[6]"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperFreakonomics#Global_warming_section [wikipedia.org]

      Nobel Prize Winner Cruzen:
      "Professor Crutzen has proposed a method of artificially cooling the

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:56PM (#39947759)

    Part 1

    It just presents the data

    "just" makes it sounds like thats a bad thing. That's excellent science. Professional and respectable and my hats off to Dr Masters

    Part 2

    and does not surmise anything about the causes

    Well, I think there's little disagreement that a "large" fraction is human caused, although obviously some small fraction is natural variation. "natural climate" is not a flat horizontal line as some demand.

    Part 3

    or what should be done about it.

    Excellent. Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime, or national socialism, or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness".

    I'm opposed to most of those solutions, along with a HUGE percentage of people who are in, or in my case have been abandoned by, the Republican party. Despite my/our disagreement being with Part 3, we get slandered and our words are twisted around into being deniers of Part 1 or Part 2. Very annoying. I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:07PM (#39947869)

      "Well, I think there's little disagreement that a "large" fraction is human caused, although obviously some small fraction is natural variation."

      I don't know whether this is disingenuous or you just don't understand.

      The whole reason there even exists controversy about this in the first place, is that the signal is very small in relation to the noise: any human-caused differences are so small in relation to the natural variations that it has been nearly impossible to detect (if, indeed, it has actually been detected).

      "some small fraction is natural..." is not the real situation at all. The problem is the opposite: the vast majority of it is natural. Any scientist, even the staunchest AGW supporter, will admit that if he/she has any pretension to honesty at all.

      • "the signal is very small in relation to the noise"

        That's a nice, concise explanation. While that seems to be intuitive for many, it's never made sense to me. I find human-generated noise often deafening.

        Billions of people extracting carbon from the bowels of the earth and shooting it by the ton into the sky, year after year, decade after decade, seems more or less competitive with, say, a volcanic eruption here and there.

        I'll leave the numbers to the professionals, but I can't buy the 7-billion-people-h

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by TapeCutter (624760)
        Either cite your sources or take your disinformation elsewhere Jane. The IPCC and NAS both claim greater than 50% of the variation is human caused, the natural part has a very slight downward trend over the last century, the upward AGW signal dominates the historical trend, it even obscures the significant cooling signal coming from sulphurous smog.

        Pretentions of honesty: Looking at the rest of the innane comments in this story, it's clear to me that slashdot has upset the Heartland Institue with yesterd
        • "The IPCC and NAS both claim greater than 50% of the variation is human caused, the natural part has a very slight downward trend over the last century, the upward AGW signal dominates the historical trend, it even obscures the significant cooling signal coming from sulphurous smog."

          Great. But I'm not arguing with you about that. At least here and now. But it has next to nothing to do with what I was saying. Apples and oranges. THIS is what I was saying:

          The fact that any AGW climate signal has been small in relation to the noise (natural variation) is one of the most very fundamental aspects of the science, and therefore of the whole problem. If you do not recognize at least that much, you have no place arguing about science at all.

          Seriously. You are parading your utter ignorance

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Korin43 (881732)

      I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

      So you pretend to be an idiot in the hopes that it will make people take you seriously? I'd like to see that work.

      What's wrong with, "It's happening, but there's no viable solution (yet) to stop it?" At least then you have people focused on solutions instead of wasting their time providing more and more proof that it's actually happening.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)

      I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

      Yeah, so this isn't very productive. Maybe try to figure out which solutions are actually good and push for those? Remember, problems don't go away when we don't like the solutions.

      Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime, or national socialism, or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness".

      I'm curious incidentally which solutions you think fall into these categories. I agree that quite a bit falls into the feel good frippery category. Godwin's law aside, last I checked no one was advocating large scale genocide as a solution. At the very minimum, burning people in ovens would make more CO2.

      I''m particularly int

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well, I think there's little disagreement that a "large" fraction is human caused ... I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

      Read any story touching in any way on global warming, including this one, and you will see an enormous body of comments claiming quite seriously than it isn't happening, and another enormous body of comments claiming that if it is happening then humans have little or nothing to do with it. You will also hear such statements many other places, including on the floor of the US Congress. If these are all trolls, then they're surely part of the best-organized and most subtle trolling campaign in history, with

    • Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime, or national socialism, or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness".

      [...]

      Despite my/our disagreement being with Part 3, we get slandered and our words are twisted around

      YOU get slandered? Wow, how hard that must be for you. If only those Nazi libs knew what it felt like to be slandered, I'm sure they'd never do it you again.

      By the way, the Pol Pot talking point is one that you might want to reconsider. It makes you sound like a foaming rabies case. Why parrot all the other fringe Repubs when there are plenty of other socialists both real and fictional to pick from?

  • Terraforming Ho! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:58PM (#39947803) Journal

    Excellent! Converting vast swaths of Canada and Siberia to arable land, combined with increased CO2 in the atmosphere to help vegetable growth, damn!

    I'm glad we thought to do this and stave off a mass murderous ice age, which occur with disturbing regularity and short frequency.

    Praise humanity!

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:06PM (#39947863)

    At least that's what all my environmentalist friends tell me when we have an unusual cold spell.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:32PM (#39948167) Homepage
      Sure, and it is a valid point when one has a few weeks of cold or even a few months of cold. And by the same token, a year like this one by itself isn't that useful data. It is when data like this year is part of a larger pattern that it becomes a problem. In this context one has a very hot year by a variety of different metrics and that's on top of a gradual increase in average temperature over the last twenty years. Weather and climate are different, but lots of weather change over the long-term is eventually a sign of climate change.
  • by goodmanj (234846) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:20PM (#39948029)

    Reports like this are like a tin can on a fence for anti global warming people. At the time I write this, I see dozens of posts saying "and now all the global warming people will take this as proof", and not one global warming person taking it as proof.

    For the record, this is not proof of global warming. It is a very extreme regional climate event of the type that climate change theory predicts will become common, but you can't attribute individual events to the long-term trend.

    For the record, this means jack diddly in terms of global temperature change, the contiguous US is too small to matter. The past 3 months did not set a global record. However, it has been pretty warm: global temperature this year so far is in the top 25%... just like every other year this century.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/ [noaa.gov]

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:21PM (#39948037)
    We've had unusually warm or record warm years for 12 to 15 years. There's evidence of it going back to the early 80s. So far it's following the predicted pattern, there's that nasty science, including the southwest being more mild. A shift in the jet stream was supposed to keep Arizona and Southern California mild compared to the rest of the country. Arizona has had a mild winter and now we are well into May with no 100 degree days. Some would call this proof global warming or climate change is false but it's due to the fact they haven't read what the models predicted. I've heard ridiculous claims that it was supposed to be 10 degrees warmer by now so it's false. I never read a single model that predicted that. The worst scenarios are for a roughly 10 degree increase in some areas in a hundred years, not ten. Three to five was the most likely outcome but we are actually running on the high side of all the models so it's likely to be worse than the best case scenario. Look at the statistics. If some one rolled ten or twelve sixes in a row with dice and could predict 90% of his rolls would that be proof of psychic powers? I think even James Randi would accept that as proof. We're seeing the same consistency in weather model predictions. People have claimed the lack of killer hurricanes as proof that it's all a lie while ignoring the explosion in deadly tornadoes. Also tornadoes are happening earlier and later in the year and they are happening from Maine to Southern California. Two places where they are very rare. Other factors can moderate hurricanes but tornadoes are cause by the mixing of warm and cool air. You have the right conditions you tend to get tornadoes. Usually there's only a portion of the country where conditions are right but now they can happen almost anywhere.
  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:23PM (#39948073)

    It was a very pleasant year. A gentle winter. Years like this come around time to time. So do nasty winters like the three where we had temperatures of under -25ÂF for weeks on end. Then there was the year where it snowed here every month, including June, July and August. Nasty. These things happen. According to recorded history they've been happening for millennia. According to studies of other things these warming and cooling cycles have been happening for hundreds of millions of years. In fact, traditionally, the Earth has been warmer than it is now. In fact, live and diversity flourished during the warming periods. People are upset because things are changing and they don't like change. Life is change. Change is life.

    All of this global warming hysteria is distracting people from the real issue: pollution.

    • by tbannist (230135)

      It's not the change, it's the rate of change. Think of it this way, would you rather slow your car from highway speeds by applying the brakes or hitting a brick wall?

      The primary uncertainties include not knowing for sure how well our staple crops will adapt to new climate conditions, how populations will adapt to higher sea levels, and how ocean acidification will affect fisheries. It took thousands of years to domesticate and adapt crops to our current conditions. If there's a serious decline in crop pr

  • 1) Post some random hot button article
    2) Wait for people to make hundreds of idiotic and poorly informed ex recto assertions
    3) ???
    4) Profit!
  • http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/ [noaa.gov]

    Hmmm.

    Matches periodicity, not intensity.

    Of course if it's the subatomic particle stream
    causing cloud seeding, then sunspot number
    may be moot in lieu of intensity.

    -AI

  • by J'raxis (248192) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:16PM (#39949465) Homepage

    Bring it on. Where I live, winter is six months long and there's only three-month growing season.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:27PM (#39950235)

    I think we are in the interesting part of Climate change right now. Energy levels (not temperature) have increased dramatically in a rather short time and the climate is trying to find a place for all that extra energy now. So the oceans are cycling rapidly (Nina/Nino phases), precipitation levels etc are changing. In essence we're cycling rapidly between extremes. Anecdotally in Utah, last year we had the largest snows on record, and this year is probably the driest on record. For my entire childhood (I'm nearly 40) these cycles were nearly a decade long now they are a cycling in a year.

    This will probably continue for a decade or three as the system tries to stabilize the energy levels and sink some of the temperature increase into the oceans, etc. The models aren't perfect and the deniers point to that, but the reality is we simply don't know how the climate will stabilize these energy levels, we can only make predictions based on previous climates we have rudimentary knowledge of. I'll likely be dead long before the worst of climate change hits (major shifts in breadbasket areas), but I know I'm going to live during the most erratic climate change this world's ever seen.

    The scariest part to me is how to plan for the future because there is one thing the models do predict and that's the bad weather (the kind that kills people) is going to increase dramatically. I was hoping the SW would get wetter as the models predict but it appears, at least during my lifetime, things are just going to get more erratic making it very difficult to predict and manage scarce water resources.

    The funniest part about Climate Change and the Deniers is that the government is planning for it. The military and defense planners and many others are planning for summers where the Arctic passage that's never existed becomes a reality. And before people say this is because of Obama I'll point out this planning started under GW Bush. Those in the know and with power and influence are causing our government to react like Climate change is not only a reality but something that's very important strategically including how to get to all that oil that's in the arctic that no one ever thought would be accessible. This includes a certain pair of brothers that are highly invested in carbon based energy and fund much if not all of the deniers making plans to drill and tap that oil when the ice melts permanently.

    It's sad but I don't think the US will change course on climate change until it's far to late to matter. I'd like to see the construction of 1000 nuclear reactors in the US and a shutdown of most of the coal power plants along with increased gas prices that drive the adoption of electric vehicles. The gas will likely happen on it's own anyway but coal won't stop without outside forces because the US has so much of it.

The typical page layout program is nothing more than an electronic light table for cutting and pasting documents.

Working...