Climate of concern

2014 hottest year recorded on Earth – US climate analyses

Last year was Earth’s warmest on record, bolstering the argument that people are altering the planet’s climate by relentlessly burning fuels that belch greenhouse gases into the air.

Separate studies by the US space agency Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that the 10 warmest years on record have taken place since 1997.

NOAA said 2014 averaged 14.6 Celsius, 0.69C above the 20th-century average.

But Nasa, which calculates temperatures slightly differently, put 2014’s average temperature at 14.7C, which is 0.67C above their average, which they calculate for 1951-1980.

Earth broke NOAA records set in 2010 and 2005. The last time the Earth set an annual NOAA cold record was in 1911.

NOAA also said last month was the hottest December on record. Six months last year set marks for heat.–us-climate-analyses

NOAA National Climatic Data Center: Global Analysis – December 2014

The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January–December 2014 was the highest on record among all years in the 135-year period of record, at 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average.

It was the fifth warmest year in the southern hemisphere but the warmest in the northern hemisphere and overall the warmest.

Real. Cause for concern.

More: Global warming made 2014 a record hot year – in animated graphics

What’s really remarkable is that 2014 set this record without the aid of an El Niño event. El Niño events create conditions in which sea surface and hence global surface temperatures are anomalously hot. We call this part of the Earth’s “internal variability” because these events just temporarily shift heat around between the ocean surface and its depths. 

As this graphic shows (click here for an animated version), the last five record hot years of 2010, 2005, 1998, 1997, and 1995 were all assisted by El Niño events. 

NASA global surface temperature data (1966–2014) divided into La Niña years (blue), ENSO neutral years (black), and El Niño years (red), with linear trends displayed for each.  Years influenced by major volcanic eruptions (orange) are excluded from the trend analysis.
 NASA global surface temperature data (1966–2014) divided into La Niña years (blue), ENSO neutral years (black), and El Niño years (red), with linear trends displayed for each. Years influenced by major volcanic eruptions (orange) are excluded from the trend analysis. Created by Dana Nuccitelli.

In contrast, 2014 had a slight cooling influence from La Niña-like conditions at the beginning of the year, a slight warming influence from El Niño-like conditions toward the end, and no net temperature influence from the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) for the year as a whole. 2014 was by far the hottest ENSO-neutral year on record, and the first year since 1990 to set a record without influence from El Niño.

This is all happening during a time when we’re constantly being bombarded with inaccurate claims of a global warming “pause.” These mistaken claims stem from the fact that the rate of global surface warming has slowed a bit over the past 15 years, in large part because we’ve seen more La Niña events and fewer El Niño events during that time, and also due to heightened volcanic activity.

In fact, at any point over the past five decades we can find a period during which global surface warming “paused.” Yet each such period was hotter than the last. That’s because each is just a temporary effect caused by a period with a predominance of La Niña events and other short-term cooling temperature influences.

If there’s El Niño this year it could keep going up.

It’s been almost thirty years since the world had a lower than average temperature.

Whale Oil – another crank post on climate change

Whale Oil had two posts yesterday trying to discredit climate change. See Whale Oil – journalist or one eyed crank?

The second was just as blatantly one-eyed from Cameron Slater – Bugger, another global warming catastrophe claim busted.

It looks like, contrary to the alarmists views, that global warming is actually helping wheat production, not hindering it.

Anything starting with a reference to ‘alarmists’ raises wee warning bells. Slater then quotes:

Forbes reports:

Global wheat production set new records in 2013 and 2014, contradicting alarmists’ claims that global warming is reducing wheat harvests.

But this isn’t a Forbes report. It’s an opinion piece by ‘contributor’ James Taylor. It is clearly stated that “Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.”

The first link is to which is headlined by Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) – which is linked to the Heartland Institute, another warning bell.

The Heartland Institute is an American conservative and libertarian public policy think tank based in Chicago, which states that it advocates free market policies.

In the 1990s, the group worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question serious cancer risks to secondhand smoke, and to lobby against government public-health reforms. More recently, the Institute has focused on questioning the science of human-caused climate change, and was described by the New York Times as “the primary American organization pushing climate change skepticism.”

The Institute has sponsored meetings of climate change skeptics,and has been reported to promote public school curricula challenging the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.

They use similar tactics to the anti-evolution lobby in the US.

Heartland Institute questions scientific opinion on climate change, arguing that global warming is not occurring and, further, that warming might be beneficial if it did occur. The institute is a member organization of the Cooler Heads Coalition, which describes itself as “an informal and ad-hoc group focused on dispelling the myths of global warming.”

Back to Taylor:

Global warming alarmists and their lapdog media allies decided Christmas Week 2014 should be filled with claims that global warming is crushing wheat production. Grist, Reuters, the UKGuardian, and the Columbus Dispatch are among the many news organizations parroting alarmist assertions that global warming is reducing wheat harvests

Four references to ‘alarmist’ in the first two paragraphs (and fourteen in the article).

Reuters did not indicate whether it had fact-checked the straightforward claim that global crop yields have been declining in recent decades. Reuters also failed to provide any countering viewpoint, giving readers the impression that declining global wheat yields are universally recognized.

Knowing, however, that global warming alarmists and their ventriloquist dummies in the media often make straightforward factual claims that are proven false by objective, verifiable data, I decided to fact-check their straightforward claim about declining global wheat yields.

I decided to check some of Taylor’s claims. The UK Guardian: Global warming will cut wheat yields, research shows.

Production of wheat – one of the world’s most important staple crops – is set to fall by 6% for every 1C rise in temperature, say scientists.

Global wheat yields are likely to fall significantly as climate change takes hold, new research has shown .

The researchers found that wheat production would fall by 6% for every 1C increase in temperatures. The world is now nearly certain to warm by up to 2C compared with pre-industrial levels, with political efforts concentrated on holding the potential temperature rise to no higher than that limit. But some analyses suggest that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at current rates then warming of as much as 5C could be in store.

A fall of 6% in yield may not sound dramatic, but as the world’s population grows the pressure on staple crops will increase.

That’s talking about future wheat yields, not past yields. And it states “a fall of 6% in yield may not sound dramatic”, compared to Taylor’s statement “that global warming is crushing wheat production”.

It turns out the alarmists and their media allies are also telling lies about wheat production in the very nations and continents they claim are experiencing wheat production declines — India, Africa, Brazil and Australia.

Let’s start by looking at Africa. Egypt is the only African nation that cracks the global top 20 in wheat production. In Egypt, wheat output has quadrupled during the past three decades, with the past 10 years producing the 10 highest wheat crops in Egyptian history. This is quite a contradiction to Reuters’ claim that “In recent decades, wheat yields had declined in hotter sites such as India, Africa, Brazil and Australia….”

Let’s start by pointing out that cherry picking Egypt doesn’t prove anything about Africa as a whole.

Then note that wheat output is not the same as wheat yield.

But if you want to look at facts on production here is the total world wheat production over the twelve years to 2013:

  • 2002 – 574.7 million metric tonnes
  • 2003 – 560.3
  • 2004 – 633.3
  • 2005 – 628.7
  • 2006 – 605.9
  • 2007 – 607.0
  • 2008 – 683.4
  • 2009 – 685.6
  • 2010 – 651.4
  • 2011 – 704.1
  • 2012 – 674.9
  • 2013 – 713.2

Global wheat is forecast to reach a record level of 725 million tonnes in 2014 (and total cereal production is also forecast to be a record).

But remember that there is still quite a lot of people with insufficient food.

And the world population has increased to a similar extent and is predicted to keep rising.

  • 2000 – 6,074 billion
  • 2005 – 6,454
  • 2015 – 7,324
  • 2020 – 7,717
  • 2025 – 8,083
  • 2030 – 8,425
  • 2035 – 8,743
  • 2040 – 9,039
  • 2045 – 9,308
  • 2050 – 9,551

Even a small drop (like 6%) in food production would have a serious impact. In fact if the population increases by 30% as predicted by 2050 then we will need a similar increase in food production.

But Slater and Taylor would seem to prefer to raise the level of cranky alarmist rhetoric and cherry pick data to suit their bias (or agenda) rather than look at the facts that matter.

Taylor concludes:

This newest round of global warming alarmism –with global warming activists and their willfully ignorant media allies attempting to dupe people into believing global warming is causing a decline in wheat harvests – is a perfect illustration of all that is wrong with the alarmist global warming movement.

The alarmists count on people being either too stupid or too detached from the objective facts to discover the falsity of the alarmists’ claims. Fortunately, however, people are smarter than the alarmists think.

Slater responded:

Yes they are…which is why alarmists try to stifle debate and run contrarian views out of town.

Very ironic considering the extent Slater has stifled debate and run contrarian views out of Whale Oil.

Taylor and Slater count on their audience being too stupid to look for objective facts to expose their crank counter claims.

Whale Oil – journalist or one eyed crank?

Cameron Slater frequently posts about climate change, citing ‘evidence’ that AGW science is a hoax. He typically posts about narrow climate events or reports claiming they are proof that we have nothing to worry about with climate change.

Yesterday he posted Good climate news that won’t make the NZ Herald – this suggests he is more a one eyed crank than a journalist.

Remember that we are supposedly in a ‘death spiral’ of ever increasing severity of storms and climate events, that will eventually lead to our doom unless we DO something.

Unfortunately the facts and reality aren’t fitting the narrative…the ‘death spiral’ isn’t and the ever increasing numbers of severe storms’ haven’t happened either.

He quotes from the USA Today article:

The U.S. lucked out again this year, as large-scale weather catastrophes — including devastating and deadly hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires — were few and far between.

Not since Superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast in 2012 has a single natural disaster cost the U.S. tens of billions in damage, according to a report released today by CoreLogic. Sandy cost the U.S. about $70 billion.   

“This is two straight years without big disasters,” said Tom Jeffery, a senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic, a private research and consulting company based in Santa Ana, Calif., that provides information and services to businesses and government.

Hurricanes, large tornado outbreaks and wildfires tend to be the biggest and costliest weather disasters in the U.S. each year, Jeffery said.

Despite the overall quiet pattern, major local flooding occurred in California, Arizona, New York and Michigan this year. Floods in metro Detroit, for example, caused more than $1 billion in damage.

The worst tornado outbreak of the year occurred on April 27-28, when 31 people died in the South and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Overall, 2014 is on track to have the fewest number of tornadoes recorded in the past decade.

Note that this is just about the US. AGW is a global issue. He commented:

Bugger, all those calamity driven headlines went begging.

Never fear we are probably about to get a lengthy article in the Herald about how disastrous life is about to become….despite the distinct lack of evidence….and how it is all our fault because we won’t do anything about regulating a trace gas in the atmosphere.

But he didn’t quote all of the article. He left out the second last paragraph.

Globally, Asia took the brunt of the natural disaster damage this year, due primarily to a series of powerful typhoons that blasted the Philippines, Japan, China and Taiwan, CoreLogic reported.

So there was significant storm activity elsewhere in the world.

And he also left out the last paragraph.

Although the temporary respite in U.S. disasters may continue for a while, it is unlikely to extend much farther into the future, the CoreLogic report stated. “A more likely scenario would be a return to higher numbers and more damaging events.”

And CoreLogic predicts that the lull in the US is likely to be a temporary lull.

If NZ Herald reported on another article like that and omitted the two significant paragraphs Slater would blast them for it – he often blasts NZH for poor journalism.

Slater doesn’t wear his journalist hat when posting about climate change. He wears his one-eyed hat.

Cherry picking an article this blatantly suggests he presumes his audience won’t read all of the linked article, or they are as one-eyed as him and will ignore the inconvenient fact bits.

When Slater is this one sided on an issue it raises questions about why. Playing to an audience? He is too one-eyed to be taken seriously as a journalist? Or is someone paying him to try and discredit climate change?