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Summer 2010: Hottest Ever?

As part of their analysis, Hansen and colleagues created a set of graphs that help explain why perceptions of global temperatures vary, and are often wrong, from season to season and year to year. So for example, my Brooklyn heat wave had New Yorkers uttering “global warming!” as we lumbered through each furnace-blast of a day; while the winter’s unusually frigid temperatures had climate change naysayers smugly tossing out comments of “global warming? ha!”

By looking at data from a more global perspective makes clear that extrapolating global trends based on the experience of one or two regions can be misleading.

“Unfortunately, it is common for the public to take the most recent local seasonal temperature anomaly as indicative of long-term climate trends,” Hansen notes. “[We hope] these global temperature anomaly maps may help people understand that the temperature anomaly in one place in one season has limited relevance to global trends.”

So even if last winter’s chilly temperatures in much of the United States caused many of us to ponder why temperatures seemed to be plummeting if we’re really in the midst of global warming, a more global view (as seen in the graphs) shows that global warming trends had hardly abated. In fact, believe it or not: despite the cool temperatures in the United States, last winter was the second-warmest on record!

Meanwhile, the global seasonal temperatures for the spring of 2010  (March, April, and May) were the warmest on GISS’s record. Does that mean that 2010 is gearing up to be the warmest on record? Since the warmest year on GISS’s record (2005) experienced especially high temperatures during the last four calendar months of the year, the jury is still out on 2010. Stay tuned…if last week’s sizzling start to fall in California was any indication, we may have a “winner.”

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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11:52AM PDT on Jun 14, 2015

Thank you Melissa.

4:11AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

thank you for sharing

9:26AM PDT on Aug 16, 2013

Thank you for the interesting informationa about the weather.

12:58AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Interesting, thank you.

12:57AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Interesting, thank you.

3:35PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

Nope, not spewing hate--spewing reality. The problem with it is reality bites worse than hatred.

5:26AM PST on Feb 20, 2011

Jim S.: Right to the core! Global warming is a fact! What regions like the US have to face is harsher hurricanes, more fires, droughts, rains, etc. What countries like Bangladeshm Netherlands and several Pacific Island nation face is extinction. Plain and simple. The Netherlands have come a long way in protecting their country and thay have the money and support, but countries like Bangladesh isn't as well equipped to deal with the changed climate. Some Pacific Island nations are actively seeking to relocate. There have been plenty of appeals to larger countries to help those smaller nations move everything to a new place and set up their countries elsewhere because their present nation is disappearing. All you deniers of the climate change, go ask someone in Kiribati, Vanuatu, The Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Micronesia or parts of Papua New Guinea what they think of the Global Warming Hoax! And just hope you get away alive!!!

And to Charles Webb, whose only reason for a membership at Care2, is to spew his hate: Why don't you crawl back under that rock you emerged from and leave us CARING people alone!

7:27AM PST on Nov 7, 2010

Yahweh, our great Creator and Father Made a perfect planet for His children to live. He put the dinosours here to live and make fuel for us to discover when the time came for us to need it. He took the dinosours away to protect us. He gave us animals to provide food and warmth to our bodies, and plants to eat and trees to build our houses. He gave us water to drink. He did not make a planet that would distroy us. If the planet is being warmed more by a hotter sun, there is a reason--perhaps to open up more land and resources for us to discover under the ice. Who knows?

7:09AM PST on Nov 7, 2010

If it wasn't for the global warming lies, noobody would care how hot or cold it was. They would just complain like they always did. Now they have to point fingers and blame humanity. It's pretty sick. I'll be glad when all this nonsense is done with.

10:59PM PDT on Nov 6, 2010

They tell us that it is the hottest year ever globally. They tell us that it is the hottest year ever in Greenland. They tell us that Greenland is melting down at unprecedented rates and that sea level rising faster than forecast.

But when we look at the data and the photos, there is nothing much happening.

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