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Sunday, January 16, 2011

NASA Research Finds 2010 Tied for Warmest Year on Record

I could have posted about how this, combined with the previous post, debunks the Pastafarian notion that a decrease in global piracy is the cause of global warming. But the truth of global piracy isn't at all humorous, and the truth of global warming is downright ugly. That 2010, which was a La Niña for the last six months or so, tied the hottest year on record is just about as bad as the news could get. The worse news, that no-one really wants to talk about, is that the last time atmospheric CO2 levels spiked this high it took some 20,000 years before global temperatures came back down to normal. So, I'm just not able to make any funny comments about this one. Even gallows humor doesn't seem appropriate.

NASA -- Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

The analysis found 2010 approximately 1.34 F warmer than the average global surface temperature from 1951 to 1980. To measure climate change, scientists look at long-term trends. The temperature trend, including data from 2010, shows the climate has warmed by approximately 0.36 F per decade since the late 1970s.

"If the warming trend continues, as is expected, if greenhouse gases continue to increase, the 2010 record will not stand for long," said James Hansen, the director of GISS.

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