NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported last month:
Based on preliminary data, the globally-averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record for April, and the January-April year-to-date period tied with 2003 as the sixth warmest on record.
lt is worth noting “the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) transitioned from a cold phase (La Niña) to ENSO-neutral conditions during April 2009,” which kept things on the coolish side. If we stay neutral (as most models currently predict), it’ll get hotter and if go into an El Niño (as some models predict) then we should be back to setting record temperatures.
And no, I don’t think the monthly data tell us much about the climate. But I know reporting it annoys the deniers. More seriously, it is definitely worth seeing where it is warming [click to enlarge]:
Once again, the geographical distribution of the warming continues to be really, really bad news for those worried about the land of the permafrost permamelt, where it is running upwards of 4°-5°C (7°-9°F) warmer than normal. This is worrisome because:
- NOAA recently reported: “Methane levels rose in 2008 for the second consecutive year after a 10-year lull,”
- Scientific analysis suggests the rise in 2007 methane levels came from Arctic wetlands (see here).
- Siberia contains probably the world’s largest amount of carbon locked away in the permafrost (see here).
- The permafrost is increasingly not so perma (see here).
- Much of that carbon would be released as methane, which is 23 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
As for what the peer-reviewed scientific literature forecasts for the next decade, temperaturewise:
- The “coming decade” (2010 to 2020) is poised to be the warmest on record, globally.
- The coming decade is poised to see faster temperature rise than any decade since the authors’ calculations began in 1960.
- The fast warming would likely begin early in the next decade — similar to the 2007 prediction by the Hadley Center in Science (see “Climate Forecast: Hot — and then Very Hot“).
That is why they call it global warming.