Back in Climate Clippings 7 I posted some images on how the temperatures for 2010 were going. In this post we looked at whether the cold winters of Europe would continue. In this post I’ll put up some relevant images that bear upon and update those posts.
According to the NASA GISS record, November turned out to be the hottest on record. Here’s the graph for 2010:
Via a post at Climate Progress, or more particularly comment 5, we now have a Met Office map for December 1-20:
You have to remember that the Met Office have cut off the polar regions on this map and eventually assign them the value of the world average. NASA GISS fill them in from the value of the nearest land stations. Whichever way you go it’s not shaping up as a record month, so 2010 will probably end a statistical dead heat with 2005 in the GISS record.
Here’s the GISS map for January-November 2010:
Comparing the year to date with December to date in Figure 2, the cold air cuts a different line across North America and Asia. In particular the northeast of the US is cold in December, but warm for the rest of the year. This shows the myopia of those who call the end of global warming because of a snow storm, or two, in New York. According to Tom Peterson, chief scientist at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s National Climatic Data Center:
“Weather events are pixels in the climate picture. Some are indicative of changes we are experiencing; some simply reflect the variability of weather and climate. As the world continues to warm, heat waves are an example of the former,” he said, while adding that extreme winter weather events are “examples of the latter.”
Memories are short in New York. Again from the Climate Progress post, here is the NOAA representation of November 2010:
Turning to Arctic ice, the following images were all captured from Greenleap’s Arctic Watch. First the AMSRE sea ice extent:
The departure from the mean is seen more starkly on this graph:
Two comments here. First, there is about 3 million square kilometres of ice missing compared to the 1979-200 average. Secondly, 1979-2000, the period of the satellite record, was itself in constant decline, so the baseline would have been significantly below say 1960-1980.
Still, there is a nice patch of open sea above Norway and Russia, as you can sea from this image:
The Potsdam theory is that you are more likely to get a nice clockwise high pressure system developing over the warm sea, which is about 20-30c warmer than the ice would be. And you can see from this map how a clockwise system would spin Arctic air over northern Europe and how it could even reach North America. That’s the mechanism involved in the Potsdam thesis. But then look at this map:
On this map the missing ice is mostly from between Greenland and Canada. And some in the North Pacific.
I’m not sure where this leaves the Potsdam thesis. I think one would have to look exactly at what they are saying and exactly how the Arctic and North Atlantic systems work. Both are beyond my ken.
Update: Climate Progress has a post on December sea ice being the lowest on record. Here’s the graph:
This map shows the temperature anomalies with incredible warmth in parts of Canada: