1880-2011 Warming

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For those of you keeping score at home, NASA has concluded that 2011 was the ninth warmest year on record.  (All together now: We're number 9! We're number 9!)  Furthermore, nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred this century.  They've put together a mesmerizing visualization of temperature patterns since 1880 (white=mid 20th C average, blue=colder than average, yellow-red=warmer).

It's worth taking a stop in some specific years (this is easier if you download the mp4 file from the NASA site):

  • 1930s--notice the warming over the US.  The warming in the 30s was associated with the Dust Bowl period and one of the largest displacements of people in the US (think Grapes of Wrath).
  • 1916--one of the coldest years in the record. Only a few areas of above average temperatures.
  • 1960--a pretty good representation of the "mid century average".  The colors are muted and the splotches of orange and blue are scattered evenly around the globe.
  • 1978--the start of the current warming trend.  Start from here and watch the red appear!
  • 1997--very strong El Nino year.  Notice the cone of warm water centered over the Pacific.
  • 2010--the warmest year on record.  While most of the world is orange, notice how the warming is stronger in the Arctic, and to a certain extent, the Antarctic.  While the global average temperature in 2010 is ~0.5°C higher than average, the temps in the Arctic are almost 2°C warmer.
  • 2011--"cone shaped" pattern of cold water in the Pacific indicates La Nina conditions.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Pershing published on January 21, 2012 9:36 AM.

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