October 14, 2005

Will 2005 Set a Record For Warmth?

Filed under: Surface, Temperature History

According to David Rind from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), 2005 is going to set the all-time record for global warmth. He told Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post (October 13, 2005) only a major volcanic eruption could intervene. Eilperin also interviewed Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor, who told her that Goddard’s findings were “mighty preliminary.”

That’s because there’s more than one history of global temperature. Three receive the most citations. NASA’s record begins in 1880, as does another history from the U.S. Department of Commerce, developed at the Department’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). But the most widely referenced history (and the one primarily used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)) is compiled by the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at England’s University of East Anglia. It goes back to 1856.

The vast majority of the underlying temperature observations that go into each of these compilations is the same, but each organization has developed its own techniques for how the raw observations are geographically combined and adjusted for confounding factors such as urbanization, missing values, etc. As a result, annual values in each temperature history differ slightly.

So let’s take a look at where the average temperature is each stands through September 2005, and what the prospects are for setting a record for the year as a whole, given that there are still three months of data to be added.

(Read more at Tech Central Station)

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