GISS: 2010 hottest year in history - as I predicted 3 years ago!

The final 2010 Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) global land+ocean temperature numbers are out and just as I predicted, this year was the hottest in their record. Once again my prediction (really mostly a guess) was within just a few hundredths of a degree of the final number for the year:

Year Arthur's Feb 2008 prediction GISS - January 2011 Difference
2008 0.41 0.44 -0.03
2009 0.55 0.58 -0.03
2010 0.65 0.63 +0.02

I also predicted even higher numbers for 2011 and 2012 (0.75 and 0.80 respectively); while there's a chance those will again set record high temperatures, I now expect it's more likely the temperature anomaly will stay somewhere in the 0.6's rather than reach 0.7 or higher for the next few years. But continued warming is certainly inevitable with our continued emission of fossil carbon dioxide, so within the next 10 years we will surely see GISS yearly temperature anomalies over 0.80, and within 20 years over 1.0.

If you look at the GISS table you'll see the starting temperature anomalies in the 1880's had annual global averages around -0.3 degrees C. So the global temperature increase from 1880's to now in the GISS record (assuming 2010 is setting a new normal) is about 0.9 degrees C, or 1.6 degrees F. Given the rather obvious climate effects even such a small change is causing, the additional 0.4 degrees we can expect in the next 2 decades should give us serious pause for thought.

Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit has kindly archived my February 2008 predictions here.


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I quickly skimmed through

I quickly skimmed through that thread and did not see anybody make a comment about your prediction. I did note SM and Lucia were doing the anecdotal, "it's cold outside" sidestep. Those were the days. The 2007-2008 La Nina brought on such great hope of global cooling: the restoration of arctic sea ice and the death of global warming. Oh well, on the internet hope springs eternal. It's once again cold outside.

2011 will be interesting.

There was an immediate note

There was an immediate note following from "Stephen Richards" saying "I hope you are not putting many quatloos on your guesses, could be very expensive !!" but that was it, sorry to say. Of course, by the end of the year they had like good little blog commenters all moved on and completely forgotten this collection of guesses altogether...

Arthur, Off Topic: on your


Off Topic: on your question on Open Mind about melting, a few years ago they were discussing this on RealClimate, and the conclusion I was drawing is that scientists simply do not know how to do it: how to predict when an ice sheet will commence nonlinear melting. And it reminded me of my Uncle, who, as a PhD student in physics, volunteered for the US Navy in WW2. Unlike most swabbies, he skipped bootcamp and reported to the Naval Research Laboratory, where he became a junior physicist on George Rankine Irwin's team, which accomplished a great deal applying fracture mechanics to war materials. My Grandmother proudly displayed these armor-plate paperweights that had a 50 cal. bullet stuck 1/2 way through them. I guess that is in part how they did it: just kept breaking things until they understood it. They looked like failed experiments, but he would say, "We weren't trying to bounce them off; we were trying to catch them."

I can't imagine understanding the Greenland ice sheet at that level. Yet it seems to me that is what it would take for Hansen to support his conjecture. If somebody could determine a simply gigantic slab of ice from above the melt line is suddenly going to slide below the melt line, you would have nonlinear melting in a big hurry, and it would happen year after year as snow falling on that area would no longer be above the melt line. The Greenland ice sheet would lose a part of its defense against melting.

So is this the sort of problem they face?

I'd be prepared to bet that

I'd be prepared to bet that your 2011 and 2012 predictions will not be anything like as close as these three.

As I mentioned in the post,

As I mentioned in the post, I'm certainly not expecting it. The phasing of El Nino and the current solar cycle isn't helping - but we should be seeing numbers like that within a few years, I'm certain.

Arthur, just noted on Channel

Arthur, just noted on Channel 5 that 2011 appears potentially ready to pierce through 2010, and is well above 2005. At midpoint in the year, do you see any hope for your 2011 prediction?

Are you going to write a post

Are you going to write a post about how badly you missed on your prediction for 2011? GISS is reporting 0.51°C so your prediction was off by almost a 1/4 of a degree C. Your prediction for 2012 is looking bad too.

So much for your predictive powers. Seems that you can't simply draw a straight line and expect to be correct after all. Amazing huh?

Umm, where are you guys

Umm, where are you guys coming from? I did indeed post an update back in April last year with a more precise form of "prediction" for 2011 and 2012 - these earlier items mentioned in this post were basically just guesses to tweak the many climateaudit folks who claimed things were "cooling" - obviously they weren't. And as I said specifically in this post I didn't expect 2011 and 2012 to be nearly so close. My 2011 updated guess was 0.57 - so a little high, the difference largely due to the unexpected return of La Nina late in the year. We'll see how 2012 goes.

Interestingly I just finished reading Michael Mann's new book (Kindle edition is already out) and one of the things he apparently looked at over the years was whether warming generally would trigger more extreme La Nina conditions. The last few years have perhaps shown there might be something to Mann's link there - it'll be interesting if that pans out.

Closing comments on this post.