Next week is the 2015 Watershed Summit in Boulder. http://t.co/SoLlSyRe2G
— Colorado WaterWise (@ColoWaterWise) January 16, 2015
— NOAA (@NOAA) January 16, 2015
The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2014 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. The December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was also the highest on record.
Global highlights: Calendar Year 2014
During 2014, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 135 years in the 1880–2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C). Record warmth was spread around the world, including Far East Russia into western Alaska, the western United States, parts of interior South America, most of Europe stretching into northern Africa, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia, much of the northeastern Pacific around the Gulf of Alaska, the central to western equatorial Pacific, large swaths of northwestern and southeastern Atlantic, most of the Norwegian Sea, and parts of the central to southern Indian Ocean.
During 2014, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.80°F (1.00°C) above the 20th century average. This was the fourth highest among all years in the 1880–2014 record. During 2014, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.03°F (0.57°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.09°F (0.05°C). Looking above Earth’s surface at certain layers of the atmosphere, two different analyses examined NOAA satellite-based data records for the lower and middle troposphere and the lower stratosphere. The 2014 temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest five miles of the atmosphere) was third highest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.50°F (0.28°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), and sixth highest on record, at 0.29°F (0.16°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). The 2014 temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly two miles to six miles above the surface) was third highest in the 1979–2014 record, at 0.32°F (0.18°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH, and sixth highest on record, at 0.25°F (0.14°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. The temperature for the lower stratosphere (roughly 10 miles to 13 miles above the surface) was 13th lowest in the 1979–2014 record, at 0.56°F (0.31°C) below the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH, and also 13th lowest on record, at 0.41°F (0.23°C) below the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. The stratospheric temperature is decreasing on average while the lower and middle troposphere temperatures are increasing on average, consistent with expectations in a greenhouse-warmed world. According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average annual Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during 2014 was 24.95 million square miles, and near the middle of the historical record. The first half of 2014 saw generally below-normal snow cover extent, with above-average coverage later in the year. Recent polar sea ice extent trends continued in 2014. The average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic was 10.99 million square miles, the sixth smallest annual value of the 36-year period of record. The annual Antarctic sea ice extent was record large for the second consecutive year, at 13.08 million square miles.
Global highlights: December 2014
During December, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for December in the 1880–2014 record, surpassing the previous record of 2006 by 0.04°F (0.02°C). During December, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.45°F (1.36°C) above the 20th century average. This was the third highest for December in the 1880–2014 record. During December, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 0.99°F (0.55°C) above the 20th century average. This was also the third highest for December in the 1880–2014 record. The average Arctic sea ice extent for December was 210,000 square miles (4.1 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the ninth smallest December extent since records began in 1979, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA. Antarctic sea ice during December was 430,000 square miles (9.9 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the fourth largest December Antarctic sea ice extent on record. According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during December was 130,000 square miles below the 1981-2010. This was the 20th smallest December Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 49-year period of record.
From The New York Times (Justin Gillis):
Several scientists said the most remarkable thing about the 2014 record was that it occurred in a year that did not feature El Niño, a large-scale weather pattern in which the ocean dumps an enormous amount of heat into the atmosphere.
Longstanding claims by climate-change skeptics that global warming has stopped, seized on by politicians in Washington to justify inaction on emissions, depend on a particular starting year: 1998, when an unusually powerful El Niño produced the hottest year of the 20th century.
With the continued heating of the atmosphere and the surface of the ocean, 1998 is now being surpassed every four or five years, with 2014 being the first time that has happened in a year featuring no real El Niño pattern. Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said the next time a strong El Niño occurs, it is likely to blow away all temperature records…
“Obviously, a single year, even if it is a record, cannot tell us much about climate trends,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “However, the fact that the warmest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 clearly indicates that global warming has not ‘stopped in 1998,’ as some like to falsely claim.”
Such claims are unlikely to go away, though. John R. Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who is known for his skepticism about the seriousness of global warming, pointed out in an interview that 2014 had surpassed the other record-warm years by only a few hundredths of a degree, well within the error margin of global temperature measurements.
Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“Since the end of the 20th century, the temperature hasn’t done much,” Dr. Christy said. “It’s on this kind of warmish plateau.”
NASA and the other American agency that maintains long-term temperature records, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, issued separate data compilations on Friday that confirmed the 2014 record. A Japanese agency had released preliminary information in early January showing 2014 as the warmest year.
The last scientific group that curates the world’s temperature record, in Britain, is scheduled to report in the coming weeks.
“Why do we keep getting so many record-warm years?” Dr. Schmidt asked in an interview. “It’s because the planet is warming. The basic issue is the long-term trend, and it is not going away.”
February 1985 was the last time global temperatures fell below the 20th-century average for a given month, meaning that no one younger than 30 has ever lived through a below-average month.
The contiguous United States set its temperature record in 2012. But, mainly because of the unusual chill in the East last year, 2014 was only the 34th warmest year on record for the lower 48 states.
That cold was brought into the interior of the country by a loop in a current called the jet stream that allowed Arctic air to spill southward. But an offsetting kink allowed unusually warm tropical air to settle over the West, large parts of Alaska and much of the Arctic.
A few recent scientific papers say that such long-lasting kinks in the jet stream have become more likely because global warming is rapidly melting the sea ice in the Arctic, disturbing longstanding weather patterns. But many leading scientists are not convinced on that point.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A controversial bill that failed to find its way into law last year has resurfaced in the state Legislature.
The bill is an attempt to create a flex water right that would allow agricultural water to be applied to other uses for up to five years in 10. The bill has been adjusted to prevent it from being used to move water anywhere, anytime for any use, as the first versions allowed. [ed. emphasis mine]
[HB15-1038, Flexible Water Markets], sponsored by state Rep. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins, would allow a more flexible water right that requires continued irrigation of farmland, identifies end users and includes continued court review as a condition. It also prevents water from being transferred from one basin to another. [ed. emphasis mine]
The bill would allow a water judge to determine conditions that determine continued irrigation.
It would allow up to 50 percent of the consumptive use — that part of water used to grow crops — over a 10-year period to be used for things such as municipal supplies, recreation, environment or compact compliance.
Some changes in the bill are an attempt to comply with the state’s anti-speculation doctrine as outlined to the interim water resources review committee in September by Justice Greg Hobbs.
Among recent Supreme Court decisions prohibiting speculative use is the 2005 decision to uphold Pueblo District Judge Dennis Maes’ 2003 decision to deny an application on the Fort Lyon Canal by High Plains A&M that would have allowed wide-scale water marketing.
A second measure, [SB15-008, Promote Water Conservation In Land Use Planning], sponsored by state Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and state Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland, would attempt to tie water conservation with land-use planning through state water funding programs.
It passed the Senate ag committee on a 5-4 vote.
The bill came out of the interim water resources committee with provisions and a proposed amendment by Roberts that would make conservation training mandatory for water officials and land use planners. It would apply to water providers that supply more than 2,000 acre-feet of water annually.
That bill is already getting pushback from municipal water providers, who are offering alternative language that allows for more time to develop conservation plans and gives them credit for quantifiable conservation programs in the past.
Click on a thumbnail graphic above to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor. Click here to go to the website. Here’s an excerpt:
The week was relatively dry nationwide, with the High Plains separating generally warmer-than-normal conditions to the west from colder weather farther east. Precipitation totals exceeding an inch were common in a few regions; specifically, parts of New Jersey and Delaware, the Carolinas, the Florida Peninsula and adjacent southeastern Georgia, central and eastern Tennessee and adjacent Alabama, eastern Texas and parts of central and western Louisiana, southwestern California, portions of the Aleutians and coastal southern Alaska, and the Alaskan Panhandle. Heavy amounts exceeding 5 inches, however, were limited to a couple of isolated sites on Kodiak Island and in the southernmost Alaskan Panhandle…
Light to moderate precipitation fell on southern parts of the state away from the deserts, with amounts exceeding an inch common along the southwest coastline and the adjacent windward slopes. Little or none fell elsewhere.
Benefits from last month’s storms continue to be felt in west-central California, prompting improvements to D2 in Marin, adjacent Sonoma, San Francisco, and northernmost San Mateo Counties.
Farther east, improvement has not been as resilient in much of the Sacramento Valley, and following a month of subnormal precipitation, D4 has been brought back into part of the Sacramento Valley from Sacramento, Yolo, and western El Dorado Counties northward through Butte County. Reservoirs near and north of this region are still above their levels at the start of the current wet season, but water-year-to-date totals have dropped back to near average and 24-month precipitation totals are among the lowest 2 to 10 percent of historical occurrences.
Along and east of the central and southern Sierra Nevada, D4 was expanded eastward past the ridge line to include the eastern slopes of the range from Inyo County, California northward through Douglas County, Nevada. Subnormal winter precipitation has combined with abnormal warmth to leave Sierra Nevada snowpack well short of the historic mid-January average in central and southern parts of the range. Since October 1, 2014, precipitation totals are 3 inches to locally over a foot below normal from the slopes of eastern Fresno and adjacent Inyo Counties northward through eastern Nevada County…
Central and Southern Plains
Moderate to locally heavy precipitation prompted patchy improvement across southern and eastern Texas, but it was a cold and dry week elsewhere, keeping dryness and drought predominantly unchanged. Some deterioration was noted in a few spots in northern Texas, including some D4 expansion into Hardeman and Foard Counties just southeast of the Panhandle. Precipitation since October 2014 has totaled less than 75 percent of normal across much of the Panhandle and in adjacent areas to the east, and 6-month totals below half of normal were noted in a few small areas in southwestern Oklahoma and the central Texas Panhandle…
Northern Plains and upper Midwest
A very cold and dry week kept conditions locked as they were the previous week, with broad-scale abnormal dryness and a smaller area of moderate drought…
The Pacific Northwest
Little precipitation of significance fell last week, but some adjustments were made based on a re-assessment of information. So far, winter has not been markedly wet or dry in general across the Cascades, but it has been warmer than normal, and snowpack is low for this time of year. As a result, D0 conditions were expanded to cover the Oregon Cascades, and the ridge line and eastern slopes of the Cascades in central and southern Washington. In contrast, D1 was retracted from the southwest Oregon coastal region, and reports of lessening impacts led to improvements in the D0 to D2 conditions across central and eastern Washington and adjacent Idaho…
The Southern Rockies and Eastern Intermountain West
From central sections of Idaho and Nevada eastward across the Four Corners states and small portions of southern Wyoming and southwestern Montana, no changes were made to the analysis. South and west of the central Rockies, D0 to D2 conditions prevail, with spots of D3 in southern Idaho, southeastern Arizona, and along the northern Arizona/New Mexico border. Precipitation totals exceeding an inch were confined to isolated locales in the highest elevations…
The upcoming 5-day period (January 14 – 18, 2015) looks generally mild and dry across the contiguous 48 states. According to the Weather Prediction Center, heavy precipitation (2 to 7 inches) should be limited to northwest California and the Pacific Northwest along and west of the Cascades, with the largest amounts expected along parts of the immediate coastline and windward mountain slopes. Moderate to locally heavy precipitation (1.5 to 3.0 inches) is expected in parts of central and northern Idaho. Elsewhere, amounts of 0.5 to 1.5 inches are forecast across the remainders of northern California, the Pacific Northwest, and Idaho, plus adjacent portions of western Montana and northwestern Wyoming. Farther south and east, totals above 0.5 inch should be limited to New England, the Outer Banks, and the immediate central Gulf Coast. The rest of the East Coast, southern sections of the central Gulf Coast states, and the upper Great Lakes regions are expected to receive light precipitation, with little or none anticipated elsewhere. Temperatures should average at least somewhat above normal from the Mississippi Valley westward, with daily highs averaging 9oF to 18oF above normal from south-central sections of the Plains and Front Range northward to the Canadian border.
For the ensuing 5 days (January 19 – 23, 2015), warmer than normal weather is favored across almost all of the 49 continental states, except northwestern Alaska and parts of the central and northern High Plains and adjacent Rockies. Subnormal precipitation is anticipated throughout the West Coast states, western Arizona, and most of Nevada while surplus precipitation is expected from the eastern edge of the Rockies eastward through the Great Lakes region, the middle Ohio Valley, and the central Gulf Coast region. Wet weather is also favored throughout Alaska.
Meanwhile the Climate Prediction Center issued their seasonal outlook for drought, precipitation, and temperature yesterday: