2005: north hemisphere’s warmest year on record

A question raised by scientists four months ago—whether 2005 would be the planet’s warmest year on record—has now been answered: almost. From BBC News, Dec 15:

2005 warmest on record in north
This year has been the warmest on record in the Northern Hemisphere, say scientists in Britain. It is the second warmest globally since the 1860s, when reliable records began, they add.

Ocean temperatures recorded in the Northern Hemisphere Atlantic Ocean have also been the hottest on record.

The researchers, from the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia, say this is more evidence for the reality of human-induced global warming.

Their data show that the average temperature during 2005 in the Northern Hemisphere is 0.65C above the average for 1961-1990, a conventional baseline against which scientists compare temperatures.

The global increase is 0.48C, making 2005 the second warmest year on record behind 1998, though the 1998 figure was inflated by strong El Niño conditions.

The Northern Hemisphere is warming faster than the south, scientists believe, because a greater proportion of it is land, which responds faster to atmospheric conditions than the ocean.

Northern Hemisphere temperatures are now about 0.4C higher than a decade ago.

“The data also show that the sea surface temperature in the northern hemisphere Atlantic is the highest since 1880,” said Dr David Viner, from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Error bar

No measurements of average temperature can be completely accurate, and Dr Viner believes the team’s calculations are subject to an error of about plus or minus 0.1C.

However, he says, the long-term trend is clearly upwards – rapidly over the last decade – indicating the reality of human-induced global warming.

“We’re right, the sceptics are wrong,” he told the BBC News website. “It’s simple physics; more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, emissions growing on a global basis, and consequently increasing temperatures.”

However, Fred Singer from the Science & Environmental Policy Project in Washington DC, a centre of the “climate sceptics” community, disputed this interpretation.

“If indeed 2005 is the warmest northern hemisphere year since 1860, all this proves is that 2005 is the warmest northern hemisphere year since 1860,” he told the BBC News website.

“It doesn’t prove anything else, and certainly cannot be used by itself to prove that the cause of warming is the emission of greenhouse gases.

“It requires a more subtle examination to know how much of warming is due to man-made causes – there must be some – and how much is down to natural causes.”

Eight of the 10 warmest years since 1860 have occurred within the last decade.

2005 was also a record year for hurricanes, as The Weather Channel recalled Jan. 7:

The amazing 2005 Atlantic hurricane season has shattered many long-standing records, chief among them a record number of named storms, twenty-seven, which has obliterated the previous record of twenty-one in 1933. There also have been 14 hurricanes so far this season breaking the old record of 12 set in 1969. Another record set was for the most category-five hurricanes, three, with Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Wilma became the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin with a pressure of 882 mb breaking the old record set by Gilbert (888 mb) in 1988. Katrina likely will be the costliest U.S. hurricane on record. Also, the final seasonal tally for damage will be the greatest in U.S. history, breaking the previous record set just last year. The landfall of four major hurricanes in the U.S. also set a record.

Overview of the 2005 hurricane season:

The 2005 season began early with Tropical Storm Arlene forming on June 9th from a tropical depression in the southwest Caribbean Sea. Tropical Storm Bret also formed in June making it only the 13th time since 1851 that 2 tropical storms are known to have formed in June.

A record active July followed, wherein 5 named storms (Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin and Gert) formed. The previous record for the number of named storms in July was four. Of the 5 named storms, 2 major hurricanes formed tying a record set in 1916. The seven named storms that had formed up until the end of July represented a record level of activity for the first two months of the season.

A further five named storms formed in August of which two were hurricanes bringing the seasonal total to 12 named storms and 4 hurricanes – well above the long term average as of August 31st, which is 4.4 storms and 2.1 hurricanes. August also saw the development of Hurricane Katrina, which will likely be one of the most costly and destructive storms in US history. At one stage a category-5 hurricane, Katrina ultimately made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi at category 4 strength. While loss of life will not approach the magnitude of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 (6000-12000 deaths), it nonetheless caused approximately 1,200 deaths and will likely cost more than 80 billion dollars – by far the highest cost of any hurricane in history. In September, five hurricanes formed leading to a seasonal total nearly double the June-September average number of named storms. In only one other year (1933) had this many storms (17) formed by the end of September. The 2005 season eventually surpassed 1933 for the number of named tropical cyclones. The second category five hurricane of the season developed in September – Hurricane Rita. Impacting the Florida Keys and eventually the Texas/Louisiana border, it prompted massive evacuations along the Gulf Coast and caused widespread damage in parts of Southwest Louisiana, just weeks after Katrina impacted the state. Hurricane Ophelia also impacted the US as it raked the North Carolina coast leading to 10-12 inches of rain for coastal areas as well as significant coastal erosion.

October produced some unusual tropical activity and the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record. Six named storms formed during the month leading to an extension of the naming system to include the Greek alphabet. Hurricane Wilma entered the record books in October as having the lowest central pressure of any Atlantic hurricane at 882 mb, beating Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 with 888 mb. At one stage a category 5 storm, Wilma produced well over 60 inches of rain as it moved across the Yucatan Peninsula, then turned northeastward and eventually made landfall in Florida as a category 3 storm. Hurricane Vince was unusual in its track and location. Vince became a hurricane in the eastern Atlantic and tracked northeastward, passing northwest of the Madeira Islands. Weakening, it eventually made landfall in Spain as a tropical depression. It is the first known instance of a tropical cyclone making landfall in Spain. Tammy impacted northeast Florida as a tropical storm and Tropical Storm Alpha and Hurricane Beta also formed in October. For the first time since the naming convention was instituted, the Greek alphabet had to be employed as the 22nd named storm of the season developed. Alpha produced heavy rains across portions of Hispaniola, while Beta became a major (category 3) hurricane as it neared the coast of Nicaragua, eventually making landfall at category 2.

November was active with three named storms Tropical Storm Gamma, Tropical Storm Delta and Hurricane Epsilon. These three storms added to the record setting season of 2005 with 26 named storms. This total by far exceeds the record of 21 named storms set in 1933. It also extended the use of the Greek alphabet to the fifth letter well beyond the designated regular alphabet.

Tropical Storm Gamma formed in the Caribbean and moved across and impacted northern Honduras and Belize with flooding rains before being sheared by strong westerly winds. Tropical Storm Delta formed well out in the central Atlantic with impacts only on shipping interests initially. Strong, gusty winds from an extratropical Delta then swept over the Canary and Madeira Islands with severe damage and power outages reported. The storm then slammed into northern Africa with damage reported across Morocco. Very unusual to have a system with tropical characteristics this late in the season do so much damage all the way into the Canary Islands and northern Africa. Amazingly the season was not done with Tropical Storm Epsilon forming well east of Bermuda on the 29th of the month.

Epsilon survived into December, becoming the 14th hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic season. Epsilon would go on to be the longest lasting December hurricane on record in the Atlantic. It is rare to have a hurricane in December with only 6 hurricanes on record since 1851. Epsilon would tie hurricane Nicole of 1998 as the second strongest December hurricane. The strongest hurricane on record for December was Hurricane #2 in 1921.

Zeta, the 27th named tropical storm, formed in the Atlantic on December 30. Tied Alice #2 (1954) as the latest tropical storm to form in December in the Atlantic Basin. Beat Alice #2 (1954) as the longest-lived tropical cyclone to develop in December and then continue into the next year. Also, became the longest-lasting January tropical cyclone.


Most Numerous:

27 Named Storms (previous record: 21 in 1933)

14 Hurricanes (previous record: 12 in 1969)

Four major hurricanes hitting the U.S. (previous record: three in 2004) Three Category 5 Hurricanes (previous record: two in 1960 and 1961)

Seven Tropical Storms before August 1 (previous record: five in 1997)

Two-Year Consecutive Total of Tropical Storms: 42 (previous record: 32 most recently in 1995-96)

Two-Year Consecutive Total of Hurricanes: 23 (previous record: 21 in 1886-87)

Two-Year Consecutive Total of Major Hurricanes: 13 (ties record in 1950-51)

Two-Year Consecutive Major Hurricane Landfalls: Seven (previous record: five in 1954-55)

Two -Year Consecutive Florida Major Hurricane Landfalls: Five (previous record: three in 1949-50)

Three-Year Consecutive Total of Tropical Storms: 58 (previous record: 43 most recently in 2002-04)

Three-Year Consecutive Total of Hurricanes: 30 (previous record: 27 in 1886-88)

Three-Year Consecutive Total of Major Hurricanes: 16 (ties record in 1949-51 and 1950-52)

Costliest Atlantic Season ($107 billion+) (previous record 2004, $45 billion)

Costliest Hurricane: Katrina ($80 billion+) (previous record Andrew, $26.5 billion – 1992 dollars)

Deadliest U.S. Hurricane since 1928: Katrina (at least 1,200)

Strongest Hurricane in the Atlantic Basin: Wilma 882 millibars (mb) (previous record: Gilbert at 888 mb)

Three of the six strongest hurricanes on record: Wilma 882 mb (1st), Rita 897 mb (4th), Katrina 902 mb (6th)

July hurricane: Emily (155 mph top sustained winds) (previous record: Dennis (150 mph) in 2005; Hurricane #1 (140 mph) in 1926.

Hurricane Epsilon became the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane on record for the month of December.

Tropical Storm Zeta beat Alice #2 (1954) as the longest-lived tropical cyclone to survive from December into January pushing the total number of storms to a record setting 27.

See our last post on global climate destablization.