Late last week, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies announced that January through August was the warmest such period on record at the surface of the planet. But La Niña conditions in the Pacific helped keep global temperatures down in the month of August, making it the 7th warmest on record.
Today, a different kind of analysis of global average temperatures has been released by Remote Sensing Systems, based on satellite measurements of the atmosphere’s temperature. The map above is based on that analysis. It shows how the temperature of the lowest part of the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface, varied from the 1979 to 1998 average. Red, orange and yellow colors show where temperatures were anomalously warm.
A couple of things stand out. Overall, the temperature of the lower atmosphere was warmer than average. And some spots were particularly hot — most especially part of Russia, where the brutal heat wave is evident in hot orange and yellow tones. At the same time, relatively cool temperatures are evident in the shades of blue visible in parts of South American and the Pacific Northwest extending up into Canada.
The image is based on measurements taken by the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, or AMSU, on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The instrument measures the natural emissions of microwave radiation from oxygen in the atmosphere. Those emissions are directly proportional to temperature.
Just how much warmer than average was the lower atmosphere in August?
John Christy and Roy Spencer, both scientists at the University of Alabama (Spencer is the science team leader for the AMSU), have used the satellite data to calculate that, on average, the lowest layer of the atmosphere was 0.51 degrees C warmer than the long-term average.
According to the NASA GISS analysis, based on monitoring at the Earth’s surface, the global land-ocean temperature in August was 0.53 C warmer than the 1951-1980 long-term average.
Since 1979, the satellite temperature measurements reveal a gradual warming trend, accentuated by spikes of more intense warming associated with El Niño episodes. As we head into fall and winter in the Northern Hemisphere, La Niña conditions have taken hold, promising to moderate global temperatures, perhaps enough to prevent 2010 from being entered in the record books as the hottest year on record.
- CE Journal
The source article Here’s what a warming world looks like from space | CEJournal .