Global Climate Snapshot: Spring 2013

Another quarter, another update.. how’s that unprecedented warming of the planet coming according to the “official” data?

Oceans and Ice

1. Arctic Sea Ice.


After a record low minimum summer, the northern polar ice cap has recovered to roughly average springtime levels of the last decade or so. It’s impossible to say at this point how much will melt in the summer, but overall levels are still pretty historically low and in danger of treading the bottom again at any momenet. Does that smell like a warming globe? YES, arctic ice remains the best evidence for it.

2. Antarctic Sea Ice.


Meanwhile, the southern polar ice cap continues to expand, where it has basically been considered “above average” continuously since the beginning of 2012. Still no visible surface signs of the ice melting from warm water underneath or anything like that. NO, the antarctic sea ice continues to stubbornly refuse to look like a warming globe.

3. Sea Level rise. The data continues to track at 3.2mm per year, which still indicates a rising ocean but still not an accelerated level that would give us more than a foot or so by the end of the century. Hard to say whether that indicates a globe that is still warming or not.


4. US Heat.


Temperatures for the contiguous US from January to March were calculated to be just above average. If it wasn’t for last year’s big record, I would say we had a flat to downward trend since 2000 or even 1990, but with that record it looks like we’re still trending upward. Even if this is a “low” year, we need another low year to tell if the low years are getting warmer since 2000 or not.

5. World Heat.


NOAA says 2013 has so far been the eighth-warmest year on record – higher than the last couple of years but cooler than the peaks of 1998, 2005, or 2010, among others. I think any honest reading of the above graph would conclude that we still are seeing NO recorded rise in average global temperatures for the last 15+ years.

Australia had a notable heat wave in January that broke many local records. However, it failed to breach the all-time Australia temperature record; in fact, no all-time continental heat record has been broken since 1977.

The conversation seems to be shifting from whether or not global temperatures have stalled to explaining why they have stalled and speculating how long it will last. In three months we’ll update the above stats and also look at how the hurricane, drought, and tornado seasons are shaping up for 2013.

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