Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I've been avoiding blogging for a while, and that might remain the case. Nevertheless, I thought I'd post an update on global warming. I've been following the trends, and it seems that even those who recognize that global warming is real don't always know what's going on. The short version is that 2008 was the coldest year since 2001, which still makes it the tenth warmest year on record. This was because of a La Niña temperature anomaly which kept the Pacific particularly cold (hence our cold winter). La Niña and El Niño are two phases of the same climate cycle, the former being the cold phase, the latter being the warm phase. The effects of La Niña were particularly strong in 2008, and thus brought about cold temperatures. Nevertheless, the Arctic remained exceptionally warm, in fact much warmer than the average for the previous 7 years. That has led to a drop in the sea ice levels to below 2007 levels, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (see the daily snow and ice data chart for October through December with comparisons for 2006 and 2007 here; Joe Romm's analysis at Climate Progress here). It's easy to forget that global warming continues despite cold weather, so I just thought I'd give everyone a reminder.