January 9, 2010 – Original Source: Dot Earth, The New York Times. By ANDREW C. REVKIN
There’s been an unrelenting string of commentary on Dot Earth, and in some other news outlets, from people passionately pointing to the cold conditions around the Northern Hemisphere and crowing about the end of global warming. Following up on my post from last week on the Arctic Oscillation, Ken Chang has written a Week in Review story with a bit more detail on the unusual atmospheric patterns behind the big, but very constrained, chill, and the dominance of warm conditions — just not where a lot of Western media are situated. (As I wrote, it was raining in parts of Greenland about a week ago.) [UPDATE, 1/11: Richard Betts, the head of climate impacts at the Met Office, has written a commentary for the BBC amplifying on the confusion between weather (cold or hot) and climate. It’s well worth a read, as is this column by Andrew Freedman at the Capital Weather Gang.]
The map shows that while it has been cold in Northern Europe, other parts of the world have seen above average temperatures.
To help clarify the global situation, I thought it worth a look at the map above, from Britain’s Met Office, which vividly illustrates the wishful nature of any thought that global cooling is somehow breaking out. [UPDATE, 1/11: Better yet, look at the map below, which is far more precise and shows the same pattern.]
Red areas are warmer than normal and blue cooler. (I’ll update this when the weather office posts the next iteration.) Maybe this outbreak of cold claims illustrates that the world is divided into red and blue states of mind in more ways than one? [UPDATE, 1/10: Some comment contributors are challenging the Met Office map, so here are some independent assessments of global temperatures — all on the warm side (only through December because the analysis has a lag.]