2007 was Tied for the Second Hottest Year on Record

You weren’t imagining things, 2007 really was an unseasonably hot year. In fact, it was tied with 1998 for the second hottest year on record. All in all, the 8 warmest years have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years since 1990. This mini-record was announced by NASA climatologists this week.

Researchers from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies used temperature data from weather stations on land, satellite measurements of sea ice temperatures since 1982 and data from ships for earlier years.

“As we predicted last year, 2007 was warmer than 2006, continuing the strong warming trend of the past 30 years that has been confidently attributed to the effect of increasing human-made greenhouse gases,” said James Hansen, director of NASA GISS.

Perhaps the most warming occurred up in the Arctic and high latitude regions of the planet, where vast regions of ice melted away. In fact, the Northwest Passage opened up for the first time, and scientists are predicting that the region could be ice free in the Summer in less than a decade.

The lower ice levels in the Arctic provides more open water and reduces the amount of sunlight reflected back into space. This is expected to increase the rate of warming.

Let’s hope 2008 isn’t so hot.

Original Source: NASA News Release

9 Replies to “2007 was Tied for the Second Hottest Year on Record”

  1. Everyone should ask their preferred presidential candidate:

    If you believe the Earth is getting warmer at an alarming rate, why is this not the most important thing on your presidential agenda?

    If you believe the recent unusually warm readings are not something to worry about, upon what scientific evidence do you base your sense of relaxed comfort?

    If you are not sure whether to be alarmed at recently observed warm temperatures or not, what are some examples of specific signs you’re looking for that, if they were seen, would cause you to think “maybe I should take this more seriously.” If you delay strong action now, and later find that it had been essential to act earlier, how shall we judge your degree of personal responsibility for that mistake?

    And, finally, if it turns out that there is global warming but it’s not man-made, do you think that makes the situation better or worse? If this situation could magically be known to NOT be man-made, would you then ignore the problem and just assume nature cares about us enough to correct things on its own? What is your plan for this eventuality?

  2. Jim Hansen has more from his mailing list here:


    He noted that we were in the solar minimum and La Nina in 2007 and yet we were still tied with 1998. Think about it. All the natural variability was working against 2007 and we still tie. It should you how strong the anthropogenic forcing is. Thus, he concluded the following:

    Summary. The Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle have significant effects on year-to-year global temperature change. Because both of these natural effects were in their cool phases in 2007, the unusual warmth of 2007 is all the more notable. It is apparent that there is no letup in the steep global warming trend of the past 30 years (see 5-year mean curve in Figure 1a).

    “Global warming stopped in 1998� has become a recent mantra of those who wish to deny the reality of human-caused global warming. The continued rapid increase of the five-year running mean temperature exposes this assertion as nonsense. In reality, global temperature jumped two standard deviations above the trend line in 1998 because the “El Nino of the century� coincided with the calendar year, but there has been no lessening of the underlying warming trend.

    Global Predictions. The quasi-regularity of some natural climate forcing mechanisms, combined with knowledge of human-made forcings, allows projection of near-term global temperature trends with reasonably high confidence. Prediction for a specific year is a bit hazardous, as evidenced by an incorrect prediction of record global warmth made by the British climate analysis group for 2007. Such speculations are useful, as they draw attention to the mechanisms, and allow testing of understanding. Presumably part of the basis for their prediction was an assumption of a continued warming contribution from the 2006 El Nino. However, evidence of El Nino warmth disappeared very early in 2007.

    Solar irradiance will still be on or near its flat-bottomed minimum in 2008. Temperature tendency associated with the solar cycle, because of the Earth’s thermal inertia, has its minimum delayed by almost a quarter cycle, i.e., about two years. Thus solar change should not contribute significantly to temperature change in 2008.

    La Nina cooling in the second half of 2007 (Figure 2) is about as intense as the regional cooling associated with any La Nina of the past half century, as shown by comparison to Plate 9 in Hansen et al. (http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1999/1999_Hansen_etal.pdf) and updates to Plate 9 on the GISS web site. Effect of the current La Nina on global surface temperature is likely to continue for at least the first several months of 2008. Based on sequences of Pacific Ocean surface temperature patterns in Plate 9, a next El Nino in 2009 or 2010 is perhaps the most likely timing. But whatever year it occurs, it is a pretty safe bet that the next El Nino will help carry global temperature to a significantly higher level.

    Competing with the short-term solar and La Nina cooling effects is the long-term global warming effect of human-made GHGs. The latter includes the trend toward less Arctic sea ice that markedly increases high latitude Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Although sea ice cover fluctuates from year to year, the large recent loss of thick multi-year ice implies that this warming effect at high latitudes should persist.

    Based on these considerations, it is unlikely that 2008 will be a year with an unusual global temperature change, i.e., it is likely to remain close to the range of (high) values exhibited in 2002-2007. On the other hand, when the next El Nino occurs it is likely to carry global temperature to a significantly higher level than has occurred in recent centuries, probably higher than any year in recent millennia. Thus we suggest that, barring the unlikely event of a large volcanic eruption, a record global temperature clearly exceeding that of 2005 can be expected within the next 2-3 years.

  3. So last year was the second hottest on record!.
    When did the records begin, was it:-
    A. 1997
    B. 1850
    C. As far back as written records will allow.

    I suspect B is the answer.

    Their reaction (or not) to the ‘threat’ of global warming is the only thing the US Government has got right since Mr Bush became president..

    It is a natural process. Piling CO2 taxes on everything will not help.

  4. Just wondering – but any medium to large volcanic eruption spews more CO2 into the atmosphere in a few short hours that we have in thousands of years. Were we simply at some fine balance and a few extra tons of CO2 added into the mix recently threw everything into chaos…

    …or…is the warming consistent with long-term patterns over Earth’s history as our orbit subtley changes from a mostly circular orbit into an elliptical one? That, after all, has caused many warmings and coolings in the past, and according to our current understanding of the process we are coming out of the last ice age and should be on the cusp of a period of warmer climate with little to no ice at the poles.

    I think we, as humans, like to think we are much more important than we are. If we could just get over ourslelves long enough explore ANY options other than “it must be the oil companies and SUV’s” perhaps we could learn something.

    Run a Google search on Al Gore’s facts, for example, and you’ll quickly find that they weren’t facts at all. I’ve seen recently that even the scientests who bet the farm on the global warming theories are putting some distance between themselves and the ‘Al Gore crowds’, and I think the rest of us should, too.

    Take facts for what they are, but don’t take facts and skew them until they support your arguements.

    All this global warming scare crap is about as bad as going to Sunday morning service and being told that we’re all sinners and going to hell for what we did. Just take out ‘god’ and put in ‘greenhouse gasses’ and you’ve got a perfect match!!!

  5. How much is our civilization worth ?

    Is our civilization worth the investment needed to stop burning fossil fuels within 10 years?

    It does not appear to be the case,

    the reasoning is that it will cost too many jobs.

    The dumb people don’t believe

    in global warming,

    they believe the magical beings

    in the sky will save them.

    So at least the next civilization won’t have

    any more dumb people since starvation

    will prevent them from passing their

    genes to the next generation.

  6. Bill, it’s comments like yours that really confuse me. You evidently have scorn for people who have religion, yet you have some ultimate concern for the survival of “civilization”. What is the scientific basis for concern for civilization? Love? Good-will?

    Yes, how much is our civilization worth? Or better yet, how much is a single human person worth? I ask your scientists to answer this in scientific terms, if you can.

    We have seen scientists who go beyond their role of scientists into the field of moralizing about what mankind ought to do. It’s normally at this point that I question the basis for their moralizing. Who are they to judge the value of what is “good” or “worthy” of our concerns? Does a degree in science allow them to have expertise on moral choices in life? Those are the people we should be concerned about.

  7. First of all, f*ck a non-religious foo and fu*k a anti-religious foo. They are only evil because evil is the absence of God just like cold is the absence of heat!
    Secondly, global warming is happening so it must be tended to rather quickly to reverse past negative effects, stop current negative effects and prevent futurenegative effects =O

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