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Friday, October 1, 2010

How Warm Was This Summer? by James Hansen

How Warm Was This Summer?
by James Hansen

Let's look at the surface temperatures in the summer of 2010, which justifiably received a lot of attention. Figure 1 shows maps of the June-July-August temperature anomaly (relative to 1951-1980) in the GISS temperature analysis (described in paper in press at Rev. Geophys., available for 2009 and 2010, as well as maps for December-January-February (Northern Hemisphere winter, Southern Hemisphere summer) for the past two years.

June-July-August 2010 was the 4th warmest in the 131 year GISS analysis, while 2009 was the 2nd warmest¹. 2010 was a bit cooler than 2009 mainly because a moderate El Nino in the equatorial Pacific Ocean during late 2009 and early 2010 has been replaced by a moderate La Nina. Also most of Antarctica was cool in winter 2010, while it was warm in 2009. Antarctic winter temperature anomalies are very noisy, fluctuating chaotically from year to year.

The maps make clear that perceptions of how hot it was depend on where you live. The two warmest anomalies on the planet this past summer were Eastern Europe and the Antarctic Peninsula. Not many people live on the Antarctic Peninsula and an anomaly of even several  degrees in winter there is not a big deal. But the warm anomaly centered in Eastern Europe, which covered most of Europe and the Middle East, was noticed, to say the least. It was also quite warm in Japan, where the prior summer had been cooler than the 1951-1980 mean.

Readers, I can't copy the figures from Dr. Hansen's pdf files, so this is the best I can do, but you can see the entire 6-page article here:

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