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NASA Earth Science

Earth Hit Record Hot Year in 2016: NASA (news.com.au) 267

Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, government scientists have said. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared. From a report: Measuring global temperatures in slightly different ways, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year passed 2015 as the hottest year on record. NOAA calculated that the average 2016 global temperature was 14.84 degrees Celsius (58.69 degrees Fahrenheit) -- beating the previous year by 0.04 Celsius (0.07 degrees F). NASA's figures, which include more of the Arctic, are higher at 0.22 degrees (0.12 Celsius) warmer than 2015. The Arctic "was enormously warm, like totally off the charts compared to everything else," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, where the space agency monitors global temperatures. Records go back to 1880. This is the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Records have been set in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005.
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Earth Hit Record Hot Year in 2016: NASA

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  • Start the clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @03:56PM (#53691487) Homepage Journal
    Don't worry, deniers. With 2015's El Nino now over, you can look forward to cooler temperatures in 2017, and then when 2018 rolls around, you can declare that 2017's lower average global temperature proves that global warming has ended (again). Patience is key. Good luck!
    • by Thiarna ( 111890 )

      Actually that might not even work- it looks like La Nina may not last past Feb, and El Nino could be back by the ned of the year. For example see
      http://www.weathernationtv.com... [weathernationtv.com]

  • In other news... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Trump announces he's firing half of the staff at NOAA and NASA.

    (and bans either organization from owning a thermometer.)

  • There is a time-series of global average temperature, but there is not a description of the error. I'd like a full statistical treatment, including the number of measurements varying as a function of time, as well as an assessment of the quality of the measurements (I'm sure the thermometer technology has changed in the last 100 years).

    The reason why I ask this is when you peruse Figure 6.1 [www.ipcc.ch] of the IPCC Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles report, the listed errors of natural carbon sources far exceed tho

    • There is a time-series of global average temperature, but there is not a description of the error. I'd like a full statistical treatment, including the number of measurements varying as a function of time, as well as an assessment of the quality of the measurements (I'm sure the thermometer technology has changed in the last 100 years).

      So, look on their site.
      https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gis... [nasa.gov]

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @04:58PM (#53691981) Homepage Journal

      What Geoffrey said. It's easy enough to pull the instrumental record global average data into a spreadsheet and plot it; I've done it several times myself.

      Also be aware of what error bars can and cannot tell you. You can't tell about the statistical significance of trends just by comparing adjacent years with error bars. It's the wrong statistical test to talk about decades-long tends. You might never ever see a year which is statistically significantly warmer than a prior year at some level of confidence, yet have a trend which over a decade or more hits that confidence level.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @05:30PM (#53692241) Homepage

      The reason why I ask this is when you peruse Figure 6.1 [www.ipcc.ch] of the IPCC Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles report, the listed errors of natural carbon sources far exceed those of anthropogenic origin.

      I think you're mis-reading the numbers on that figure. The numbers in red aren't error bars, that's the change since 1750. (each individual element is listed in the form "123= 108.9+14.1", where the first number is the total, the second number is the estimated value in 1750, and the third number is the change since 1750 (printed in red). Note that all that matters from photosynthesis is the difference between the input and output (labelled "net land flux"), which they point out is known to a better accuracy than the component parts.

  • Year to year changes are "NOISE." California had a drought for several years (virtually a blip in time) and then come the rains. It happens over an over.

    Sun spot cycles are repetitive. Mega-Rains come to California every 160 years or so. Last time was 1862, so 2022 look out. These are formed over decades of hot water buildup in the Eastern equatorial Pacific.

    Cycles have been consistent over centuries and it looks like they are changing now due to more limited solar input.

    How these longer term cycles

    • Cycles have been consistent over centuries and it looks like they are changing now due to more limited solar input.

      We have very good measurements of solar output. We know with very high certainty that the current warming is not due to a change in solar output.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @05:26PM (#53692217)

    This afternoon, I watched clips on Youtube from the 1992 Presidential debate. It's not that far in the past, but there was a massive difference in the tone from 2016. The three candidates did go after each other, but were respectful and focused on the issues, mostly the economy. The debate had real substance and addressed the real issues rather than being characterized by personal attacks. All the AC comments at -1 on this story make me feel the same way about public discourse. Those comments are at -1 mostly because they are attempting to prevent rational discussion of the issues.

    There are still uncertainties about global warming, notably the effects on certain types of extreme weather (such as cold air outbreaks), the role of positive feedbacks (like the release of methane) and mitigating factors (such as aerosols), and the societal impacts in the 21st century. Although computer models are continually improving, there are still significant limitations in what can be simulated in the configurations used for climate simulations. Specifically, the need to simulate longer periods of time comes at the expense of the resolution of the models, meaning that processes resolved in models used for weather prediction may not be resolved in global climate models. However, the idea that adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will cause warming really should be settled by now, as the greenhouse effect is a long-established matter of physics and chemistry. But it doesn't mean there's no room for rational discussion on a lot of issues. And certainly the solutions to our global warming problems should be up for debate, because it's not at all clear that carbon taxes and other proposed are good and effective solutions.

    The problem is that we aren't discussing those issues. If every aspect of global warming was settled science, there would be no reason for any further research, yet there's a lot of funding going toward studying climate change. However, that there some topics that can be debated should not be considered a license to deny basic physics and chemistry. It seems like a deliberate attempt to prevent the discussion from ever reaching the real issues.

    In many of these discussions, the credibility of the scientists is more on trial than the actual science. Much of it is based on statements that are misleading at best. For example, data sets and methodologies used by federal administrations like NOAA and NASA are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, along with other requirements for accountability and transparency. Data sets collected by researchers receiving NOAA funding are obligated to release those data sets to the public within two years and keep them archived. The claim that scientists are keeping data secret and cutting corners with their methodologies is almost completely invalid, yet the claim keeps being made.

    I'm reminded that we once focused our discussions on actual issues and were capable of rational discourse despite our disagreements. That 1992 debate featured large disagreements on economic issues between Perot, Bush, and Clinton. Bush clearly lost the debate, but it was because the discussion was about the economic plans of the candidates, and Bush came across as very out of touch with the economic issues facing the middle class. He lost on the issues, which is incredibly refreshing compared to what we see in 2017. Unfortunately, the tone of the discussion on so many other topics, including climate change, has changed dramatically in the past 25 years, to the point that we never actually get to discussing the issues. That's a damn shame.

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Wednesday January 18, 2017 @07:10PM (#53692829) Homepage Journal
    "Global warming is just somebody's religion ." said with a heavy sneer.

    And PeOTUS Trump wants to defund NASA, since "it engages in bad science", and will very likely get his way through the rubber-stamp Congress he'll enjoy.

    Sort of makes me glad that I won't be here for four years. I don't think four years of this sort of attitude and thinking will be very enjoyable to me. Still, for those that voted for Mr. Trump, I'm glad you got your guy. I hope you stay glad and that I'm wrong about him. I wasn't wrong about POTUS Obama or George W, though.

  • Republicans have different weather system where humans have not changed the planet in any negative way, and therefor don't have to be responsible for anything, and don't have to pass a working planet to our children.

  • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Thursday January 19, 2017 @08:24AM (#53695519)

    Trump has announced he wants to end the NASA Earth Sciences division... because if you stop doing the science the stuff they were studying goes away or something. So enjoy getting actual scientific reports from NASA about the state of our climate, providing valuable data to other scientists, while it still lasts...

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms. -- George Wald

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