2009 shaping up to be a “normal” temperature year in the USA

While we find cooling trends now in RSS and UAH global data from 2002, the US contiguous temperature record for 2009 seems to be returning to very near the normal baseline for temperature in the last century.

From World Climate Report: Another Normal Year for U.S. Temperatures?

Early last January, when the final 2008 numbers were in for the U.S. annual average temperature, we ran an article titled “U.S. Temperatures 2008: Back to the Future?” in which we noted that “The temperature in 2008 dropped back down to the range that characterized most of the 20th century.”

2009 seems to be following in 2008’s footsteps.

The national average temperature had been elevated ever since the big 1998 El Niño, which was leading some folks to clamor that global warming was finally showing up in the U.S. temperature record. “Finally,” because prior to 1998, there was little sign that anything unusual was going on with U.S. average temperatures (Figure 1). The end of the record was hardly any different than any other portion of the record. The slight overall trend arose from a couple of cool decades at the start of the 20th century rather than any unusual warmth towards the end.


Figure 1. United States annual average temperature, 1895-1997 (data source: National Climate Data Center).

Then along came the 1998 El Niño, which raised both global and U.S. temperatures to record values, and our national temperatures remained elevated for 10 years thereafter (Figure 2). Instead of looking for some explanation of this unusual run of very warm years in the (naturally) changing patterns of atmospheric/ocean circulation in the Pacific Ocean, it was often chalked up to “global warming.”


Figure 2. United States annual average temperature, 1895-2007 (data source: National Climate Data Center).

But then something unexpected (by the global warming enthusiasts) happened in 2008—the U.S. annual average temperature returned to normal.

In reporting this in our World Climate Report article last January, we noted the drop in temperatures and wondered about the future:

But now, 2008 comes along and has broken this warm stranglehold. Perhaps this is an indication that the conditions responsible for the unusual string of warm years have broken down—and maybe they weren’t a sudden apparition of anthropogenic global warming after all.

Only time will tell for sure. But, at least for now, things seem like they have returned to a more “normal” state of being.

Now, 10 months have passed and we are starting to get a good idea of how 2009 is shaping up temperature-wise for the U.S. We may be jumping the gun a little here, because there are still two months (17%) of data still outstanding, and November has started out pretty warm across the West, but, in any case, Figure 3 shows the national temperature history for the first 10 months of the year.


Figure 3. United States January-October average temperature, 1895-2009 (data source: National Climate Data Center).

Thus far, 2009 is looking like another normal year—further indication that the warm period from 1998-2007 was an anomaly, rather than a step change to a new climate across the U.S. (be sure to check back in two months to see how the final 2009 numbers pan out).

No wonder the U.S. Senate is slow to get behind the need for restricting our fossil fuel-related energy supply in the name of climate change.

82 thoughts on “2009 shaping up to be a “normal” temperature year in the USA

  1. Another interpretation would be that 2008 and 2009 are as cold in the US as they can get these days. Look at the graph: the dips in it have risen above the overall average. How clear must a trend be?

    Experience in Holland learns that summer average temperatures will not fall below the norm 1971-2000 unless we get the impossible: three full months of strong northerly flow. Last really cool summermonth was July 2000. That was also the last normal summer. All summers since have been warm to exceptionally hot. Independent of dominant circulation types.

  2. We should wait at least another five years before embarking on any heroic measures to deal with global warming.

  3. It would help me greatly to obtain some good references to support the mechanism behind “Then along came the 1998 El Niño, which raised both global and U.S. temperatures to record values, and our national temperatures remained elevated for 10 years thereafter”

    The more I look into spatial/temporal aspects of the 1998 hot year, the more I find it riddled with mystery.

    Climatologists tend to try to smooth data and look at trends. In geochemistry, we welcomed the rare highly anomalous value because it often had useful additional information, which was sometimes key. Readers, what were the detailed characteristics of 1998 in your region? e.g. What was the weekly or monthly pattern of temperatures in 1998?

    An interim comment: it is very difficult to see if or how GHG simply enter the 1998 picture.

  4. Interesting that Central Europe did not feel any effect of 1998 El Nino on temperatures compared to US, neither El Chichon and Pinatubo. Our truly rural station on Lomnicky peak showed cooling since 1940 till 1990, then with AMO turning warm it jumped up a bit and remained til now on a plateau, a bit warmer than 40ties.
    No wonder this station dropped out from GISS dataset after 1989.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=641119300000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

  5. Is it possible that El Nino events influence temperatures partly by increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere? If they did, how persistent would this effect be? Years?

    Also, surely given the physics of how CO2 “traps” heat, the effects of an increase in CO2 levels on the temperature of the atmosphere should be immediate?

    Yes, the earth’s climate is a complicated thing, making those questions tricky, but isn’t that our whole point?

  6. Good to see some solid evidence that temperatures are getting back down to lower levels. Unfortunately, as most of the temperature increases happened in the NH winter, I expect were in for much longer and colder winters, unless the sun decides to get back to the high levels seen in the 80’s and 90’s.

    With Earth’s climate returning to cooler mode, time to wrap up warm – time to buy Damart shares anyone?

  7. The unexpected event in 2008 of the US temperature declining to normal range is only half the story. 2009 continues that drop, despite the UHI dominated weather reporting that goes on unchecked and unaccounted for.
    It’s getting colder out there, overall, and that hasn’t slowed one bit.
    The Climate Change Bill (or whatever they are calling this worthless scrap of paper these days) could not have come to the Senate at a worse time for warmist enthusiasts. By the time the Senate is though with examining the bill for merit, it should be throroughly freeze-dried.
    In fact, that is exactly what is happening to AGW enthusiasm: It’s getting freeze-dried.

  8. rbateman (04:32:33) :

    In fact, that is exactly what is happening to AGW enthusiasm: It’s getting freeze-dried.

    Quote of the month! I hope you’re right, please send Obama big bags of frozen peas for snacking on his way to Copenhagen.

  9. I’m glad to see the word normal in quotes.

    It really irritates me when the local weather jockeys report that we’re above or below “normal.” Every now and then one of them will slip up and report that we’re above or below average. (Can they be fired for that?) I can’t see how it would be so hard for broadcasters to report that “temperatures today will be X degrees above the YYYY to YYYY average.”

    As for temperatures reverting to the mean; unlike Lake Woebegone children, all of the temperatures can’t be above average.

  10. Panic!!! Panic!!! Panic!!!

    People are causing

    CATASTROPHIC ANTHROPOGENIC AVERAGE TEMPERATURES !!!!!!

    CAAT is gonna kill us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Here are a few charts of US temperatures back to 1895 using a 12 month moving average (there is too much variability to show the data in the form we are used to seeing). It is a little more more informative than the the usual NOAA/NCDC chart.

    12-month moving average in Degrees F. Substantial cooling since early 2006.

    And then in the Anomaly form in Degrees C. US Temps have fallen about 1.3C in the last 2 and a half years and is now back to about the 1895 to 2009 average.

  12. In regard to the last sentence:
    “No wonder the U.S. Senate is slow to get behind the need for restricting our fossil fuel-related energy supply in the name of climate change.”

    Please note that ‘fossil fuels’ are NOT from fossils:

    ‘Fossil’ Fuels are NOT from fossils:
    • “Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm have managed to prove that fossils from animals and plants are not necessary for crude oil and natural gas to be generated. The findings are revolutionary since this means, on the one hand, that it will be much easier to find these sources of energy and, on the other hand, that they can be found all over the globe.”
    The Swedish Research Council, “Fossils From Animals And Plants Are Not Necessary For Crude Oil And Natural Gas, Swedish Researchers Find,” September 12, 2009, ScienceDaily.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910084259.htm

    Come on, people. Think about how absurd the premise was to begin with.

  13. Wait for next summer, shut off the air conditioning in congress then get ready to vote. Been there done that except for the vote. Its worse than we………. now that is normal.

  14. “No wonder the U.S. Senate is slow to get behind the need for restricting our fossil fuel-related energy supply in the name of climate change.”

    You give those clowns too much credit. The only meteorological measurement they notice is which way the political winds are blowing.

  15. US temperature record seems to be quite similar to station records from Greenland, Scandinavia and Russian rural stations. And 80 -year trend seems to be quite flat in these records. So from where comes the rising trend to GISTEMP Northern latitudes?

  16. RR Kampen,

    “Another interpretation would be that 2008 and 2009 are as cold in the US as they can get these days.”

    An interesting variation on the theme “it would have been colder if it weren’t for global warming.”

    Boy, you’re good.

  17. Holland appears to be the exception. Remove bad site selection and NASA introduced fudge factors and I wonder what the North American record looks like? Of course that’s only 8 million square miles, certainly not global.

    We in the US are often accused of being provincial but Holland? How many million square miles is that? How good are their temperature records? Ours are known to have a big warm bias and yet we have no warming. When I talk about cold weather around me I am talking about an area at least the size of Western Europe, I wouldn’t mention it if it was that local. RR how has it been in Switzerland? Norway? Ukraine?

    The midwest (think Rapid City to Toronto and St Louis and North) is not showing warming. Best guess based on the themometer records is the early 70’s were colder but 20s and 30s were quite a bit warmer than today. You would call this local weather and not global. I would agree. But Holland as a counter example? Seriously?

  18. “‘Fossil’ Fuels are NOT from fossils: Come on, people. Think about how absurd the premise was to begin with.”

    Former soviet scientitst know that oil has an abiogenic origin deep in the earths crust. They have published the chemical reactions and have created oil in the lab (similar to the way diamonds can be artificially created). Ever wondered why the Saudi oil fields haven’t emptied after 50 years of production?

    The ideathat oil somehow accrues from dead animals was floated way back in the nineteenth century, but was latched onto as if it is fact. Like most wrong theories, they eventually give way in a paradigm shift. Eg dinosaurs became extinct because mammals ate their eggs, and CO2 causes the climate to warm dangerously. Oh wait, the last one has still got a few years left to run.

  19. RR Kampen (00:54:17) : “Experience in Holland learns that summer average temperatures will not fall below the norm 1971-2000 …”

    Nice cherry pick. Did you not read the baseline in this article is from 1895 -2009?

  20. The Glory of the Arctic: Jupi Angootealuk.

    “Jupi Angootealuk, 17, was stranded on the same ice floe as a polar bear and her two cubs.”

    “That’s the glory of the Arctic,” Ms. Griffin said. “A 17-year-old young man and he’s seasoned enough that he was able to save his own life – so very resilient.

    “It is amazing.”
    …-

    “Alone and adrift, teen refuses to give up

    As the ice heaved and cracked beneath him and temperatures dipped below -20, teen hunter persevered for two days before rescuers parachuted onto the floes”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/alone-and-adrift-teen-refuses-to-give-up/article1357482/

  21. the clearest signal in this data is the PDO. warm mode up until the early 40’s, then cold until 1976, the warm until 2006-7, now shifting cold again. it’s a very visible cycle. recall that at the end of the last cold mode in the 70’s, the media was predicting a new ice age. now they predict a catastrophic warming.

    the simple fact is that any trend that goes on for a long time tends to get extrapolated into the future, but, doing so with a cyclical system like this one leads to very bad guesses. it’s like trying to draw a trend line on a sin curve.

  22. I think coinciding data on the trade winds, both westerlies and easterlies, and both jet streams, would be very telling. These winds are global and bring about weather that is global. The trade winds and path of the jet streams may have oscillations yet to be discovered. I believe these measures are the next mother lode.

  23. Between this adjustment, which seems mildly insane in light of UHI, plus UHI, plus Hansen’s fantasy adjustments, all up of course, equals anthropogenic warming.

  24. This is confusing to me.

    So rising temps were due to El Nino and not poorly situated temp sensors?

    And we are at normal temps despite neg PDO, neg AMO, minimum solar activity, increased volcanic activity?

    The skier in me longs for those winters of yore (60s, 70s even 80s-years, not temps)

  25. The last negative PDO saw greatly reduced noise. We may be there again. Prior to the second most recent positive PDO (e.g. pre 1920) I’m not sure I trust the data enough to comment on the relative level of noise.

  26. There is a monumental difference between the Super El Nino and what we have right now in the Pacific. And the AMO is not exactly negative. It is more like in the middle. As for solar, no difference that matters. And I do believe that sensor drop out caused quite a bit of anomalous readings and have overestimated the warming due to the super El Nino.

  27. Leone, this is the added value.
    Once there will be a day, when McIntyre posts his own replication of HadCRUT and CA server will die upon strain of visitors.

  28. Anthony —
    In order to get 2009 to show using the NCDC link, you have used the “year to date” option, which gives Jan-Oct currently, for all years, and therefore excludes all Nov and Dec readings.
    The complete data can be utilized using the “most recent 12 month period” option. This gives Nov-Oct. data for every year, which is just as good in principle as Jan-Dec, but gives a slightly different perspective. Interestingly, 2000 (which includes 11-12/99 but excludes 11-12/00) then becomes the record high year, but otherwise the graph is similar to the one you show.
    While it’s conceivable that 98-07 may have been just anomalies, and 08-09 the return to the norm, I don’t see how anything more than 1998 could have been set off by the 98 El Nino, which is a only a 2- or 3- year cycle.
    It seems more likely to me that only 98 was kicked up by an unusual El Nino, and that the warmish 99-07 figures either represent uncorrected UHI, etc., or else a genuine warm period.
    According to NCDC, this is USHCNv2 data rather than USHCNv3. Why don’t they trust v3 yet?

  29. Regarding Figure 2, it always amazes me that there are those who can’t see the multiyear impacts of major El Nino events (those that aren’t countered by volcanic aerosols).

    That progression from Figure 1 to Figure 2 is remarkable.

  30. Excellent example and question here.

    Steve Keohane (06:51:41) :

    Between this adjustment, which seems mildly insane in light of UHI, plus UHI, plus Hansen’s fantasy adjustments, all up of course, equals anthropogenic warming.

    If we remove the obvious fudge factor of these adjustment the entire signal of warming is gone isn’t it?

  31. Sorry to Vincent at (06:14:25) :

    I should have read the earlier posts. I see you were being sarcastic.

    Gordon Bennet of course is ‘who is your creator’- who posted at (05:56:17) :

  32. morganovich (06:45:18) :
    the clearest signal in this data is the PDO. warm mode up until the early 40’s, then cold until 1976, the warm until 2006-7, now shifting cold again. it’s a very visible cycle. recall that at the end of the last cold mode in the 70’s, the media was predicting a new ice age. now they predict a catastrophic warming.

    And yet the PDO index has been positive for the last three months.

  33. Phil. (07:59:48) :

    “And yet the PDO index has been positive for the last three months.”

    Phil– the PDO did turn positive in recent months, and the mid-2007 to mid 2009 cooling trend almost immediately abated. You are admitting to the clear correlation between PDO and temp. readings –i.e real data. That PDO correlation is the best correlation to actual data I have seen anyone come up with. Again, correlation is not causation, but there is strong circumstantial evidence. Oh, and 2007-2009 levels of that sinister CO2? Yes much higher than at the beginning of the cooling trend. You are hereby on record as admitting that whatever temperature affect CO2 has, it is far outweighed by the effect of the PDO. The only question left is whether CO2 has any measureable effect. That will take time and a lot of measurement data. But in the meantime we do have this area of agreement. Right Phil?

  34. Phil, I don’t know how many times the PDO has to be explained. So instead of me saying it again and sounding like an old nag, please read a few articles on the PDO so you can get a better grasp on this oscillation between warm and cool phases versus El Nino and La Nina events and conditions.

  35. Anthony, please publish the new report from Don Easterbrook:
    Nov 10, 2009
    New geologic evidence of past periods of oscillating, abrupt warming, and cooling
    By Dr. Don Easterbrook from icecap.us?

    I think it’s very significant.

  36. Phil. (07:59:48) :

    morganovich (06:45:18) :
    the clearest signal in this data is the PDO. warm mode up until the early 40’s, then cold until 1976, the warm until 2006-7, now shifting cold again. it’s a very visible cycle. recall that at the end of the last cold mode in the 70’s, the media was predicting a new ice age. now they predict a catastrophic warming.

    And yet the PDO index has been positive for the last three months.

    Indeed the PDO for Sep/Oct/Nov posted 0.09 /0.52 / 0.27, quite normal to have a +ve spike in PDO Cool conditions when an EL Nino is present. See also the spikes in 2007 and 2005. The PDO is a very long decadal oscillation, looking at just 3 months of slightly +ve spiking is a little unwise!

  37. OT – I haven’t seen any discussion of Sunspot 1030.

    Is this spot a throwback to cycle 23, or is cycle 24 winding down and we’re seeing the beginnings of cycle 25?

  38. El Nino does not affect every region in the same way. While on average, the global temperatures rise, there are many regions in which an El Nino leads to significant cooling. It’s just the way it affects the weather patterns. Thus not seeing a spike from the El Nino in say, Europe, is not that surprising.

  39. Geoff Sherrington (02:03:57) :
    Bob Tisdale (07:45:14) :

    Bob, maybe you could expand some on this El Nino – temp thing for Geoff. Or Geoff, maybe you could go to Bob’s site and read some of his stuff. Way too much for me to jump in and try to summarize so all I could do would be to cut and paste.

    So, Geoff – go here:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/

  40. Excellent chart, i particularly like how well that temperature trend shows the catastrophic warming & associated tipping point.

  41. RR Kampen (04:47:54) :
    The Netherlands today has a population of 16.5 MI people. That gives a population density of 397 per square kilometer (1027 per square mile) or if one only count land area (that is minus rivers, lakes and so on) 487 per square kilometer ( 1261 per square mile). That makes the Netherlands one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
    1900 the Netherlands had a population of 5,1 MI people. The population has increased more than 3 times during the last 100 years.

    If there is any place in the world where you would expect UHI effects it must be in the Netherlands.
    I would be extremely cautious in drawing any conclusions from the Netherlands temperature record until somebody has given a satisfying explanation of how the temperature recording authorities has dealt with the UHI problem.

  42. RR Kampen (04:47:54) :

    If one is the type you puts their shirt on backwards or gets up on the wrong side of the bed habitually, then that graphic is the misconception of choice.

  43. “”” roddy baird (02:21:25) :

    Is it possible that El Nino events influence temperatures partly by increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere? If they did, how persistent would this effect be? Years?

    Also, surely given the physics of how CO2 “traps” heat, the effects of an increase in CO2 levels on the temperature of the atmosphere should be immediate? “””

    Well H2O vapor “traps” heat in the same manner as CO2; although the exact molecular oscillations are different because of different molecular structure. And there is way more H2O in the atmosphere all the time, than there is CO2; and the observed effects of variations in H2O are arguably immediate; note Iris; the latest southern rainstorm.

    To find more long term effects you need to look where most of the incoming energy is going; which is into the world’s oceans. The atmosphere may give us our weather; but I suspect it is the oceans that give us our climate.

  44. John B (09:11:30) :

    1030 is another fine example of one too many twisted spots for SC24. Since this is the 1st time anybody has seen such a cycle in modern times ( a very low cycle) it is premature to declare a jump to SC25. Most spots that start life twisted 80 degrees out of whack to the E-W flow don’t get as far as 1030 has.
    I prefer to call such an occurence a blinker, because that is what they do, blink in and out while untwisting.
    Better yet, why are we getting so many blinkers with SC24? Does the weakness of SC24 magnetic signatures that come from very weak polar fields mean that Dr. Leif Svalgaard and company are looking at the right indicators? I think it does. Company includes Livingston & Penn, who are right on the money with the lowering contrasts of sunspots.
    Every time I look at the number of Active Regions vs # of Spotted Regions, I see a falling ratio, and I see L&P and Leif’s forecast of a weak cycle playing out.

  45. Guy Fardell (09:53:16) :

    You hit the nail on the head.
    Besides one of the highest population density the Netherlands has one of the biggest refineries in the world, one of the biggest harbors, one of the biggest airports,
    about 10 million cars, and many more on the roads, millions of boats, millions of cows, millions of pigs, millions of chicken and thousand, thousands of gigantic greenhouses, thousands of industrial area’s and the most dense highway infrastructure of Europe.
    Every street and every highway is equiped with street lightning.
    The Netherlands is an excellent location to study the Urban Heat Island Effect.

  46. http://www.agriculture.com/ag/story.jhtml;jsessionid=1E4WUQJGQKWRCCQCEAQCCZQ?storyid=/templatedata/ag/story/data/1257873084028.xml

    Remember a couple of years ago when outside money started pouring into the grain trade, derailing it from its relationship with traditional fundamentals? As economic uncertainty continues, that’s starting to happen again.

    That’s the main message analysts say they took from USDA’s monthly crop production and world supply and demand figures, released Tuesday morning. The reports show that while corn yields have suffered from poor harvest weather this fall, that crop will end up the largest it ever has in the U.S. Similarly, the U.S. soybean crop is seen breaking previous production records. (See more from USDA’s Crop Production report).

    http://www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/crop1109.txt

    Though there’s a lot of uncertainty remaining in what’s left of this fall’s harvest — which will likely extend into December in some parts of the country — analysts see more price stability in grain futures contracts. And, amidst a lot of general economic malaise as the nation starts to take small steps out of recession, that makes futures an attractive buy for outside investors, says eHedger market analyst Gavin Maguire.

  47. I think I agree with part of RRKampen’s take –I’d like to see something significantly below the normal line before I pop the champagne and declar a “return to normalcy”. One cannot show from that graph that this isn’t the making of a “new and higher bottom to natural variability”.

    I’ve always said I’m willing to spend a lot more time and money being sure we know what’s going on here. . . I’m just not willing to remake the world economy and spend trillions on it. . . .yet. Nor do I see any urgency in doing so. The folks who argue “tipping point! tipping point!” are the ones that are particularly irksome to me. I see no reason to think another five years of data gathering and research (at a minimum) isn’t an entirely reasonable position to take.

  48. I think it is the other way around. The oceans provide weather systems within climate zones. Climate zones are determined based on topography, proximity to jet streams, and large bodies of water, which is to say, your GPS address. Climate is a rather stable band of temperature and weather range. Weather is what you get from day to day within that band. Much like personality and behavior. Personality is a rather broad range of behavior possiblities. Behavior changes from day to day within that range, but the range or rather, personality, is stable.

  49. geo (10:43:47) :

    I think I agree with part of RRKampen’s take –I’d like to see something significantly below the normal line before I pop the champagne and declar a “return to normalcy”. One cannot show from that graph that this isn’t the making of a “new and higher bottom to natural variability”.

    “significantly below the normal line”–normal is a funny word. In the case of this blog, it means “average”. Next, what would be “significanly below” the average? 1 degree F, 2 degrees F, more? 1 degree F is a return to the 1970 temperatures…I’m old enough to remember the brutal winters of the 70s. I like the current weather better. 2 degrees F is too long ago to remember..more… can you say “year without a summer”?

  50. OT question – What happened to Erl Happ’s post ? I was hoping to try and digest it a little at a time , and was looking forward to comments . Thanks .

  51. I’d say 2009 being above the 0 line is a safe bet if you take into account SST’s a few months ago and ENSO judging from how the same thing has played out in the past. I’m not sure whether we’ll see it increase or decrease though in the UAH data.

    Bob Tisdale showed SST’s still at elevated levels, despite seeing a graphic showing AMSU reporting things a bit differently. (it also showed the July SST peak as the highest in the AMSU record.)

  52. Anthony, I wonder what the curve would look like if ti was only high quality weather stations, which begs the question – “When will you publish your paper comparing good and bad stations’ results?”. I’ve been hoping to see the averaged trend of all of the good stations, and a parallel curve for a set of bad stations matched as closely as possible to the good ones in lat/long/alt/weather pattern. Even if the results prove to be inconclusive we will know a bit more. Murray

  53. Pamela Gray (10:49:20),

    A neutral observer would surely readily conclude that the oceans, comprising 70% of the Earth’s surface, must have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and temperature.

    In that regard an earlier poster said something to the effect that temperature over the last two years in the US is not representative of the whole Earth. As the US represents about 2% of the Earth’s area this is probably true. But it has always puzzled me how proxy temperatures derived from a few Bristlecone Cone Pines contained in a really, really, really small part of that 2% can have somehow been considered to teleconnect with the whole world and produce a hockey stick representation of temperatures over the last 1000 years!

    Could you make this up? Well, yes, apparently.

  54. Here’s an article that shows some observed solar effects on Earth. (by D’Aleo)

    http://www.intellicast.com/Community/Content.aspx?a=207

    I find interesting the argument for the Svensmark hypothesis, because I do note here in Wichita we’ve had a number of days in the last month or so where the clouds are more stubborn than predicted when they predict a bit of cloudiness for that day, but also predict the sunshine to peek through as well.

    Heck it’s flat-out cloudy outside my window despite that same site’s hourly forecast saying we should be seeing some sunshine peeking through by now, though we do get sunny days on some days they predict will be sunny and when it’s obvious the cloud cover is moving out.

  55. I’m just waiting for some alarmist to issue the press release that 2009 is going to be the 9th hottest year in this century. :)

  56. Steve M. (11:57:43) :

    I’d take anything (going forward that is) at 55.25F or lower on the third “January-October” graph above as an example that the “old bottom” is still roughly in place. Sure there were lots of years colder than that, but lots of “cold years” pre-1998 look to my eye like roughly 54.75-55.25 from the late 30s to the late 90s.

  57. I should add I mean give me *just one* year like that going forward, not every year. Give me one year of those and I’ll give you another ten year pass before fretting about the lack of a second one.

  58. Sorry to spoil the party (if that’s possible), but I look at those graphs (even figure 1) and I see an upward trend.

  59. The selection of a 30 year period ending in zero (0) for climatic variables and the term “normal” was set so as to give people a standard with which they were familiar (that is, one reading the numbers in a newspaper or hearing them on radio had lived through some or all of the time from which the standard is derived). When these issues were being decided ( mid-1930s ) computers, TV, iPhones, and the Web were not much in use; that is, real time data distribution was not on the minds of the folks hashing out these issues.

    Likewise, the choice of the ‘mean’ as the average (for ‘normal’) would have seemed a reasonable thing to do. However, the mean has the unfortunate tendency to be sensitive to outliers. Thus, if you have a cold spell the mean (average) gets pulled down and a following warming seems all the more so when compared by the numbers but not necessarily to people who are internally less arithmetic.

    Now consider what will happen when a new 30-year normal is set in 2011, using the thirty years ending in 2010. The temperature either warmed some following the late-1970s or it didn’t, but some folks numbers say it did. Then we have the “string of warm years, 1998-2007” [Bob’s Figure 2] and the last couple of years “near-normal.” Because of the bias of a mean toward its most wayward data, the about to be “re-set” normal will have a greater average than the last one (the one ending in the year 2000 and including the 1980s). The new period should be 1981 through 2010 – dropping out what seems to be a cooler 10 years for a warmer 10 years. (Note the “should be” in the previous sentence.)

    Unless there really is significant warming, it will be more unlikely that any experienced temperature will be much above average. There should be a lack of unprecedented warm temperatures compared to the calculated normal=average=mean. A ways off, but still …

    Hurray for our side!

  60. Sorry! (the one ending in the year 2000 and including the 1980s).
    should have been the 1970s, and
    folks should have been folk’s

  61. chmd (18:20:19) :
    >Sorry to spoil the party (if that’s possible), but I
    >look at those graphs (even figure 1) and I see an
    >upward trend.

    Really? I see down in 1912, up in 1930, down in 1965-1975, up in 1998. Then down again. If you plot a linear trend line, yes, it looks like it would be going up slightly. But that is not the signature of AGW.

  62. Ron and Guy, temperaturejump since 1988 in Holland cannot be explained by a population jump – the latter does not exist.

    Many weather stations are in rural area’s and urbanisation has been a feature of Dutch demographics for many decades. Meanwhile the largest temperature increase is in the north and northeast of Holland – where population density is relatively low ànd hasn’t increased much.

  63. ” P Walker (12:13:27) :

    OT question – What happened to Erl Happ’s post ? I was hoping to try and digest it a little at a time , and was looking forward to comments .”

    It’s still in the sidebar, as a one-liner named “The Climate Engine.” It’s hard to see, in part because the items above and below it are three-liners. In general, all the menu items in the sidebar blur into each other, mostly because there are no end-point markers (like periods) or start-point markers (like indentations). I’ve suggested both two or three times in recent months, but now I’ve given up.

  64. How about we wait and see what the low portion of the PDO/AMO cycle reveals eh? The PDO/AMO signal rides on top of the solar signal. The suns activity has increased significantly from 1900-1960. The sun should be going back to close to where it was in 1900, so let’s wait and see the impact on temps when the low cycle hits bottom into 2030 eh? We’ll have some level of understanding by then, and at least some better quality data along the way…

    No need to panic certainly…

  65. RR Kampen (03:59:30) :

    “Ron and Guy, temperaturejump since 1988 in Holland cannot be explained by a population jump – the latter does not exist.”

    I don’t see very much of a temperature jump since 1988 in the graph you advised : http://www.weerwoord.be/uploads/15102009295052.png

    Even if there is no “jump” in population since 1988 there is definitely an increase and it is not totally trivial; actually 15% (16,50 MI/14,35 MI).

    What is absolutely not trivial is the increase of economic activity since 1988. The GDP has tripled (from 197 BI EUR to 596 BI EUR).

    I can’t find any figures of number of vehicles 1988 but maybe enough is said by the increase from 2000 to 2008: + 33% !

    I think it is to be on the very safe side to conclude that the general economic activity (which of course proportionally will involve larger use of energy) has more than doubled since 1988.

    RR Kampen again:

    “Many weather stations are in rural area’s and urbanisation has been a feature of Dutch demographics for many decades. Meanwhile the largest temperature increase is in the north and northeast of Holland – where population density is relatively low ànd hasn’t increased much.”

    Well, are airports rural areas?
    Of the 35 stations listed at the KNMI site (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) 13 (37%) are located at an airport. A special feature can be found here: http://www.knmi.nl/klimatologie/metadata/schiphol.html . Click the photo. Priceless!

    14 of the stations (40%) seems – just from a hasty look – to be of good and even excellent quality.

    8 (23%) of the stations need further investigation in order to determine the quality.

    Furthermore: 8 (23%) of the stations are located in the North and Northeast. 4 of them seems to be good or excellent, 2 needs to be further examined and 2 are located at airports.
    It is certainly not a majority of Dutch weather stations and the quality of these Northern and Northeastern as a whole is debatable.

    I cannot find tables of temperature anomalies for different regions ( maybe because I am Swedish rather than Dutch; my knowledge in German helps but not entirely) but it would be nice if someone can advise me. In the meantime I cannot evaluate RR Kampens statement about largest temperature increase.

    Taken into account all the above I can repeat what I previously wrote:
    I would be extremely cautious in drawing any conclusions from the Netherlands temperature record until somebody had given a satisfactory explanation how the temperature recording authoriries has dealt with the UHI problem.

  66. Making predictions based on a few decades reminds me of the story of the Blind men and an elephant. Climate is too big an elephant for scientists to properly identify by just feeling one leg. If they could just stop being so left-wing perhaps they would be able to see the whole elephant.

    Just FYI, I linked to your article from mine: The Mechanics Behind the Global Warming Hoax

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