There have been several interesting developments over the last few weeks in the evolving (intelligently designing?) climate change story. As we reported on CapitalWeather.com last month (reposted here), NOAA's National Climatic Data Center's preliminary report on the climate of 2007 indicated that last year was the fifth warmest on record worldwide. This was confirmed in the final report, issued yesterday.
Meanwhile, an article in Saturday's carbon-based WaPo, "Last Year Among Hottest On Record, Say Scientists", reported that NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies had found that the year was the second warmest on record.
Gavin Schmidt, one of the climatologists involved in the NASA study, appeared on this morning's Diane Rehm show on WAMU, 88.5 FM, along with several other guests to discuss the policy implications of the science. Schmidt is also one of the primary contributors to the RealClimate blog. Streaming audio of the program is available on the show's web site, and a podcast can be downloaded from iTunes.
Locally, the warm last third of December pushed the yearly average to within about one hundredth of a degree of undisputed ownership of 12th place in the rankings of warmest years.
On Monday, the WaPo front page featured an article, "Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica". This was based on the report, "Recent Antarctic ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling", published online on Sunday by the scientific journal Nature Geoscience. The gist of the latest finding is that the West Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking at a faster than expected rate.
The original paper itself is available only by subscription, but a summary was published online by the related Nature News. Former government energy official Joe Romm comments on the subject in a post, "The Antarctic ice sheet hits the fan", on his Climate Progress blog.
As alien as it gets
5 weeks ago