The "Art" of Weather
Art Horn, Meteorologist



2010: Hottest Year Ever?
Published by Pajamas Media 8/11/10 and 9/1/10
By Meteorologist Art Horn

NOAA is claiming that 2010 is the hottest year on record. USA Today trumpets “World Sizzles To Record For The Year”. The headline has been picked up by many of the major media outlets. Jay Lawrimore, climate analysis chief at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center says "it's part of an overall trend, global temperatures have been rising for the last 100 plus years. Much of the increase is due to increases in greenhouse gases.

There are so many things wrong with this statement and others coming from NOAA that we need to sift through them and find what is true and what is conjecture.

First, the most obvious mistake in this “hottest ever” statement is that the year is only half over. If your horse is in the lead halfway through the race does that mean you’re a winner? Of course not. If the price of a barrel of oil is $100.00 does that mean it will be that price at the end of December? No. If the day starts sunny and dry does that mean it won’t rain in the afternoon? Don’t bet on it! If your team is in first place at the All Star break will that guarantee they will win the division? Only if the second half of the season is cancelled.

NOAA strongly implies that this years warmth is consistent with the theory that as humans burn fossil fuels the resulting released green house gases make the earth warmer, it’s our fault. Something being consistent with something else is proof of nothing. For example, the sun moving from east to west across the sky is consistent with the theory that the sun orbits the earth, but the theory is completely wrong.

It's true that 2010 has been off to a warm start. Dr. John Christy is director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He says the first 6 months of this year are the second warmest since the satellite measured temperature era began in 1979. Satellite measured temperature is more accurate than temperature measured at weather stations on earth. Weather stations on the earth’s surface are subject to modifying influences such as cities growing around thermometers that were once rural 50 to 100 years ago. As the cities grow around the thermometers the long term temperature trend slowly rises. The buildings, roads and other paved surfaces add heat to the local climate corrupting any long term trend. Also changes in the types of thermometers used and changes in their location can corrupt long term accuracy. Satellite measured temperatures do not suffer these significant problems and are therefore more reliable.

The warmth of the first half of this year is from the leftover heat generated by this past winters El Nino. The warm Pacific waters of El Nino heat the entire planet. In fact the warmest year in the last 30 was in 1998. That year featured a record large and record warm El Nino. So what about the remainder of 2010? Will it continue to be near record warm or the hottest ever? More than likely it will not. A La Nina is developing in the Pacific. This is the cooler sister of El Nino. La Nina will refrigerate the planet during the second half of the year. By the end of the year it is likely that 2010 will be nowhere near the “hottest ever” because of La Nina’s chilly personality.

There are more troubling statements coming from NOAA. It makes me wonder if this agency might be following the same path as NASA. Recently NASA administrator Charles Bolden said NASA’s chief mission was not to explore strange new worlds in space but to explore Mecca and make them feel good about what they have accomplished in science. Perhaps NASA should adopt the phrase “To boldly go where no agency has ever gone before”.

Look at this statement from NOAA’s Jay Lawrimore about this past winters record snows in the Middle Atlantic states. He said “Heavy snow like the record snows that crippled Baltimore and Washington last winter, is likely to increase because storms are moving north”. This is a baffling statement coming from someone in charge of a large government agency and supposedly educated about the ways of weather. If the storms are moving farther north the warm air to the south of the low pressure system would bring rain to the middle Atlantic region, not record snow. This is so obvious that even a college freshman studying meteorology would understand it. Furthermore the reality is that the storms did not move farther north last winter, they went south! Examination of the storm tracks of last winter’s record snow storms shows that they tracked much farther south than in previous winters. The paths the storms took actually greatly resembled the storm tracks of the 1960s and 70s. The record snows in the Middle Atlantic region was a direct result of a more southerly storm track not more northerly. Most of New England had below average snowfall last winter because the storms never got that far north!

Another rather remarkable statement that shakes the credibility of NOAA and Mr. Lawrimore is this “Also the Great Lakes aren’t freezing as early or as much. As cold outbreaks occur cold air goes over the Great Lakes, picks up moisture and dumps on the Northeast.” Any meteorologist knows that as cold air moves over the Great Lakes the moisture that is picked up is immediately dumped on the local area as lake effect snow. None of it ever influences snowfall in Baltimore, Washington or any other city or town removed from the Great Lakes area. Moisture from the Great Lakes had no effect on the coastal storms that buried the Middle Atlantic states in record snow last winter or any other winter. This knowledge is so fundamental that it make one wonder if the statements coming from NOAA are based in politics rather than science. Oh, and by the way Lake Erie froze over last winter for the first time in 14 years.

It is no secret that NOAA and NASA have been “adjusting” global temperature records towards the warmer side. Detailed and meticulous studies by Meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts have revealed that these agencies have systematically over time worked to cool the warmer temperatures of the past and warm the temperatures of the more recent time. The result of these changes to the temperature data base is to make any current trend in temperature look warmer and more alarming. It's easy to have "the hottest year ever" when you've adjusted the recent temperatures up and the past temperatures down. This is the true cause of “man made global warming”.

Perhaps NOAA has never heard the statement “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. So far 2010 has been warm but the developing La Nina will have a significant chilling effect on the remaining 6 months. Don’t bet the ranch or any other property on 2010 being the hottest year ever.



Christy Sands, Webmaster