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Warmest 12-Month Period Recorded In US 297

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."
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Warmest 12-Month Period Recorded In US

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

    by busyqth ( 2566075 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:41PM (#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!
  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:53PM (#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:Keep it coming! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:53PM (#39947713)


    Brace for impact, as the AGW crowd starts screaming about how we're gonna fry. This will be in spite of the same people spending countless sentences chiding us all about how weather is not climate, etc.

  • by khipu ( 2511498 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:54PM (#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.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:56PM (#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 recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:58PM (#39947791)

    Wonder what has Fox News to say now?

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

    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.

  • Terraforming Ho! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @05:58PM (#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 Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:07PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:11PM (#39947903)

    Do you have a link for that somewhere? I will have to listen to some folks in some other forums tooting their horn as they jump up and down in joy over this news, and I'd like to temper their excitement.

  • Re:No Alaska (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Holi ( 250190 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:20PM (#39948027)

    Again how is more snow show that the warming trend is wrong? Snow is a product of moisture in the atmosphere not the temperature (unless it rises above say around 38 degrees). I would argue that more moisture is a product of warmer temperatures due to evaporation.

  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:20PM (#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. []

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:23PM (#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 Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:40PM (#39948243)

    "Acting like it should just be obvious, either way, doesn't make it a fact."

    I'm not acting, and anybody who can read a graph can see that it is a fact, even if they don't understand the actual science. Just look at the changes versus the "error bars".

  • Re:Keep it coming! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @06:48PM (#39948313)

    Weather is NOT climate, unless it supports your side of the argument and then every hot/cold day it proof positive you are right.

  • Re:No Alaska (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:06PM (#39948493)

    Not including "contiguous" or "continental" in the summary was an unfortunate oversight on my part

    Is it unfortunate that you neglected to be accurate, or that you got caught neglecting to be accurate?

    Now I havent read the article (this is slashdot) but just looking at the summary, I find it amazing that two different annual period systems are in use yet nobody seems to even notice it. May to April and then November to October. Thats dredging the data.

    With this sort of dredging tactic, there were 138 chances (assuming the authors didnt do rolling 52 week or rolling 365 daily comparisons) to fit the headline since November 1999. The fact that it took 138 sample periods to find 12 contiguous months that break the record, but not 137 or fewer sample periods, suggests something quite the opposite of what the standard AGW crowd will take away from your summary.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:16PM (#39948569) Homepage Journal

    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 about half the US political establishment in on the act. Neat trick!

    Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime

    Right, because building windmills or tightening CAFE standards is exactly like murdering a fifth of the population over the course of four years. Jesus H. Christ. Do you have any idea at all of what the words you use actually mean?

    or national socialism

    Never mind, question answered.

    or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer

    Careful, you're starting to sound like one those commie socialist atheist hippie terrorist 99%ers.

    or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness"

    As long as denialism has a substantial voice in the political process, which clearly it does, people who want policy based on science rather than ideology have their work cut out for them. Fighting the propaganda put out by the head-in-the-sand crowd is, at this point, a full-time job.

  • Re:Keep it coming! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:39PM (#39949221) Homepage

    How are they not ?

    Random deviations in a chaotic system (like weather) are not bound to any duration. All you know is that random deviations have a finite duration, it can be arbitrarily long (including effectively infinite, meaning until the end of the earth).

    It is saddening that people are even arguing this. You don't grasp the complexity of the problem. The reason we believe global warming occurs is that many different readings -not all- point in the same direction. All measurements, regardless of their duration are subject to random deviations, which by definition have random durations. Some probably have durations measured in millions of years.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:41PM (#39949241)
    thank you for being an exhibit of enviro-nazis being what they at heart are: mankind haters.
  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:10PM (#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 rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:27PM (#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.

  • by tiqui ( 1024021 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:57PM (#39950379)

    Ahhhh yes....

    Let's compare all those highly-accurate satellite temperature measurements with the satellite data from only 200 years ago when Ben Franklin lofted the first earth observing satellite.... oh, wait, ....nope.... I guess we have no such data. Oh, alright, lets use the highly-calibrated thermometer data from way back 200 years ago when some sea captain measured the temperature somewhere (plus or minus 200 miles from a point in the mid-Atlantic) using his very accurate mercury thermometer that was carefully calibrated to the NIST standards.... oh, wait, nope.... no such traceable calibration and the candle-light made reading that thermometer within 1/10th of a degree relative to a scratch in the brass frame a bit tough.... not to mention that the guy was tired and did not see any reason to worry too much about being too precise...

    That was not working too well... let's use the hyper-accurate temperature measuring device all Americans prefer to use when they can afford it: tree rings. Yes, a thermometer from 200 years ago has a few calibration issues and the satellites were not very good 200 years ago, but everybody who believes in science knows that a tree ring or some muck from the bottom of a river is accurate to within 1% of a degree! Why, I for one, chop down a tree and check the tree rings for every morning....why bother with a thermometer when an axe and a precise temperature tree are available?

    All the hype about "record" and "all-time" high or low temp data is manipulative and speculative. There were no humans (not scientists, nor even amateurs) taking and recording temperature data on 80% of the North American continent before 300 years ago, and the planet is at least 6000 years old (Grin) so we are statistically blind to most of the temperatures for world history. If you plug-in the actual age of the Earth, you know that we know, with calibrated precision, next to nothing about the long-term "global temperature". Comparing data from highly-accurate, calibrated and traceable, modern scientific instruments to creative and imaginative speculation about past temperatures is extremely dishonest and anti-science, but a great way to write a paper and get more taxpayer funds for another year of "research", which beats the hell out of flipping burgers

    I'm no luddite... I used to design and build scientific instruments and now work in aerospace, but I am outraged but the so-called scientific climate studies that are done by people who have (and I will be charitable here) apparently forgotten some of the most-basic rules of science in order to score political points or stay popular with their peers. Rules like:

    1. Different data sets measured two different ways with two different types of instrument cannot be honestly compared without a common calibration.

    2. Data collected with two identical instruments still cannot be compared if one of them lacks traceable calibration

    3. You can never gain absolute precision by using additional imprecise data. (in other words: if you sum-average or in other ways lump-together a bunch of data that is accurate to 1 percent, you may get a more-precise idea of what your imprecise measuring device thought it saw, but you have absolutely not obtained a better-than 1 percent measurement of what was actually there... and such data manglng actually reduces absolute precision)

    They used to teach this stuff in first-year science classes several decades ago...

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @12:42AM (#39950597)

    "Yes, we know WUWT fans such as yourself place a low value on "understanding the actual science", so much so that you haven't even bothered to link to the graph your banging on about. I can't prove you're an astroturfer, but I see this particular debating tactic as inconclusive evidence for the affirmative."

    I am not a "fan" of any site, pro or con. And you can take your personal remarks and stuff them. Further, I wasn't commenting about any particular graph, but in fact the majority of them in regard to AGW... if they contain any error margin information at all. And if you really know much of anything about AGW, then you already know this. I don't see you trying to refute it. You'd rather cast aspersions on my personally. But then, we already knew that.

    "I can't prove you're an astroturfer, but I see this particular debating tactic as inconclusive evidence for the affirmative."

    You can't prove I'm an astroturfer because I'm not an astroturfer. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

    And I can't prove you're a vindictive asshole with an axe to grind in regard to me, either. But then, I really don't need to. I'll let others decide just how obvious that is.

  • Re:Keep it coming! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kj_kabaje ( 1241696 ) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:41AM (#39952651)
    For those who like their wisdom delivered in a more "folksy" manner, try this: To quote my grand-dad, "All Indians walk in single file. At least the one I saw did."

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.