[asa] NCDC Annual Results for 2008

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 16:18:17 EST

Here's the latest climate numbers for the year 2008. Even though the year
started slowly because of La Nina we ended up with the ninth warmest. Ten
year trends also match predictions by the climate models for the three major
organizations that track surface temperature. Here's the wrap up from Gavin
Schmitt:

> The bottom line: In the GISTEMP, HadCRU and NCDC analyses D-N 2008 were at
> 0.43, 0.42 and 0.47ēC above the 1951-1980 baseline (respectively). In
> GISTEMP both October and November came in quite warm (0.58ēC), the former
> edging up slightly on last month's estimate as more data came in. This puts
> 2008 at #9 (or #8) in the yearly rankings, but given the uncertainty in the
> estimates, the real ranking could be anywhere between #6 or #15. More
> robustly, the most recent 5-year averages are all significantly higher than
> any in the last century. The last decade is by far the warmest decade
> globally in the record.
>

Here's the NCDC Summary:

Major Highlights

NOAA: Global Temperature for November Fourth Warmest on Record

The year 2008 is on track to be one of the ten warmest years on record for
the globe, based on the combined average of worldwide land and ocean surface
temperatures, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA's National
Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. For November alone, the month is
fourth warmest all-time globally [RDB Note: October was the second warmest
with land temperatures being the warmest.], for the combined land and ocean
surface temperature. The early assessment is based on records dating back to
1880.

Global Temperature Highlights - 2008

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature from January -
November was 0.86 degree F (0.48 degree C) above the 20th century mean of
57.2 degrees F (14.0 degrees C).

Separately, the global land surface temperature for 2008, through November
was fifth warmest, with an average temperature 1.44 degrees F (0.80 degree
C) above the 20th century mean of 48.1 degrees F (9.0 degrees C).

Also separately, the global ocean surface temperature for 2008, through
November was 0.67 degree F (0.37 degree C) above the 20th century mean of
61.0 degrees F (16.1 degrees C).

Global Temperature Highlights - November 2008

The November combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.06
degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century mean of 55.2 degrees F
(12.9 degrees C).

Separately, the November 2008 global land surface temperature was fourth
warmest on record and was 2.11 degrees F (1.17 degrees C) above the 20th
century mean of 42.6 degrees F (5.9 degrees C).

For November, the global ocean surface temperature was 0.68 degree F (0.38
degree C) above the 20th century mean of 60.4 degrees F (15.8 degrees C).

Other Global Highlights for 2008

In the tropical Pacific, 2008 was dominated by El Niņo-Southern Oscillation
neutral conditions. La Niņa conditions that began the year had dissipated by
June. [RDB Note: this is significant. La Niņa and being at the solar minimum
caused the denialists to declare the great global cooling. Once we got to
ENSO neutral things went back to "normal".]

Arctic sea ice extent in 2008 reached its second lowest melt season extent
on record in September. The minimum of 1.74 million square miles (4.52
million square kilometers) reached on September 12th was 0.86 million square
miles (2.24 million square kilometers) below the 1979-2000 average minimum
extent.

The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was the third most costly on record,
after 2005 and 2004, and the fourth most active year since 1944. This was
the first season with a major hurricane (Category 3 or above) each month
from July through November. With the exception of the South Indian Ocean,
all other tropical cyclone regions recorded near to below-average activity
during 2008. Globally, there were 89 named tropical cyclones, with 41
reaching the equivalent of hurricane strength (74 mph), and 20 achieving the
equivalent of major hurricane status (111 mph or greater) based on the
Saffir-Simpson scale.

The United States recorded a preliminary total of just under 1,700 tornadoes
from January - November. This ranks 2008 second behind 2004 for the most
tornadoes in a year, since reliable records began in 1953.

Torrential rains caused widespread flooding in parts of Vietnam, Ethiopia,
northern Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, and the northern Philippines during
November. Several million people were displaced and nearly 200 fatalities
were reported. Monsoonal rainfall was much above average over many regions
in 2008. Mumbai, India recorded its greatest June rainfall in seven years,
while Hanoi, Vietnam observed its greatest October rains since 1984.

Persistent severe to exceptional drought plagued portions of south central
Texas and the Southeast U.S. in 2008. Based on the Palmer Drought Index, the
2008 percent area of the contiguous United States experiencing
moderate-extreme drought peaked at 31 percent in June-July. Australia's
worst drought in a century eased early in 2008, but drought conditions
continued in parts of the country.

Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in November was 12.66 million square
miles (32.78 million square kilometers). This is 0.50 million square miles
(1.29 million square kilometers) below the 1966-2008 November average.
Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent has been below average for most of
2008.

The analyses in NCDC's global reports are based on preliminary data, which
are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data
when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and
as increased scientific methods improve NCDC's processing algorithms.

NCDC's ranking of 2008 as ninth warmest compares to a similar ranking of
ninth warmest based on an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space
Studies. The NASA analysis indicates that the January-November global
temperature was 0.76 degree F (0.42 degree C) above the 20th century mean.
The NOAA and NASA analyses differ slightly in methodology, but both use data
from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center - the Federal government's
official source for climate data.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the
depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our
coastal and marine resources.

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Received on Thu Dec 18 16:18:50 2008

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