It’s such a cold December: 2010 ends on a chilly note where people live

Post by Dr. Ryan N. Maue

December global surface temperatures cratered after the Cancun climate confab, which ended a string of above-average months.  However, until the government temperature keepers put out their 2010  autopsy and bubble plot with the appropriate fanfare and press release, I am going to use the tools at my disposal to come up with a reasonable estimate of the recent global temperature.

From operational and reanalysis numerical weather prediction best-estimates of the atmosphere-ocean state, the global mean temperature for December 2010 [image link] was actually below the previous 30-year mean pushing 2010 down the list of the hottest ever.  Europe, North America, and Australia saw much below average December temperatures, while the Arctic saw much above average temperatures (but that’s relative, it’s still really cold)

You must look at the weather — weather is part of the climate — and understand the high-frequency redistribution of heat, moisture, and momentum on the order of days and weeks.  I will show you now why the weather matters.

Temperature Fluctuates Wildly on Short Time Scales:  Weather

Here is a daily trace of the JRA-25 reanalysis near-surface temperature anomalies for 2009 and 2010 based upon a climatology of 1980-2009, a 30-year chunk of climate.  Reanalysis datasets do have their issues, but also advantages, which are beyond the scope of this simple show-and-tell.  There’s nothing sketchy going on here; no hiding of any declines; just showing you the data!

JRA-25 near-surface temperature anomalies (C) for 2009-2010 based upon a 1980-2009 baseline climatology. The green-smoothed line is a 45-day running average. Data are provided 4-times per day at 6-hourly synoptic intervals. Figure is research property of Dr. Ryan N. Maue (2011).

The blue-line is the zero-line corresponding to the 30-year mean.  Blow it up and you see, what people can observe is the weather, and weather is not climate — except when it is.  This plot shows you how temperature changes due to the global weather flow-regimes, which are modulated by all of the natural climate actors like El Nino, La Nina, the NAO, AO, AAO, etc.  The daily temperature time series is extremely noisy and fluctuates wildly, but there appears to be a rhythm to the madness.  I’ll leave that as homework exercise to explain the ups-and-downs (hint it’s weather).  I find it rather discouraging that the entire time series I plot up is boiled down to one annual number, and an AGW signal is somehow sucked out — with a blizzard attributed to it no less!  Even the IPCC AR4 models say we have many decades to go before seeing such visible changes.

Since we are using the previous 30-years as the baseline, the anomalies have course decreased in magnitude in the recent 1980-2009 period.  The usage of 1961-1990 or 1971-2000 will provide the same qualitative picture, but there will be some important differences (future post).  The Earth didn’t warm uniformly between the separate “climate normals”, and it isn’t expected to.  That’s part of the point of my message here.

Temperature Fluctuates Spatially:  Weather

Spatially, you can see the action of the temperature anomalies from the plot at the beginning of the post:

2010 JRA-25 Spatial temperature anomalies: bi-weekly and monthly averages.

This is a great way to visualize all of that global warming going on.  The image at the top is the most recent 14-day average ending December 30, 2010 showing the extreme Arctic warmth of +15 to +20C, and of course the northern Eurasian chill.  If you mouse over the plot, you can watch the course of the past year go by.  The development of the La Nina in the Pacific is apparent as the summer wanes.  You can find the Russian Heat Wave pretty easily in July, even though 2010 ended up pretty much average there.  If you desire, you can change the URL in your browser to see similar animations for the past 30-years:  197919891999 2009.  Have fun with the weekly animations of temperature — all of the major cold blasts are in there for the USA…

What’s the Temperature Right Now?

But, what is the actual temperature:  if it is 15 degrees C above normal in the Arctic, what does that mean:  well, here is a global temperature analysis and 7-day forecast from my Florida State Weather Map page.  Also, below this image, is the departure from normal, so you can see in real-time just how hot the planet is — and watch as 2011 starts off as just an average year.  You’ll hear a lot about the historically warm Arctic, but who cares at this point, no one lives there and it is still plenty cold.  Is that a global warming signal in winter up there?  I doubt it, how about storm tracks, blocks, the NAO, and some natural climate variability manifested in the weather?

NCEP GFS deterministic forecast model analysis and forecast 2-meter temperatures. Note that Fahrenheit is used here because that's what Americans typically use in their daily life.

Forecast maps: NCEP GFS temperature anomalies compared to the 1979-2009 baseline. Also, again degrees F.

We are talking hundredths here?  Really?

It’s a foregone conclusion that the official government data from whatever nation or agency will show that 2010 was the hottest year ever.  It just has to be that way — please don’t look at that snow burying NYC or the bone-chilling historical cold throughout the UK and Europe, that’s just the weather.  Instead, look at the articulate press releases with the bubble-plots from NOAA/NASA to see the real story of 2010, the hottest year ever by a few hundredths of a degree C.  Yes, we are talking about hundredths and tenths of a degree during the past 10 to 30 years– that’s all.  The Earth’s temperature varies a lot, from hour to hour, day to day, season to season, year to year for a bunch of reasons of which the sun is order 1, but even through all of that, you must know that the global temperature has changed only on the order of a 1-3 percent during the past 30-years.  And, it isn’t a spatially homogeneous change, either.  Not even close.  AGW is built upon the premise of a slow, very slow upward trend that will eventually accelerate.  But, that’s a long ways off — today, we are talking about hundredths of a degree C.  How many trillions of dollars is that worth to you?

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83 Responses to It’s such a cold December: 2010 ends on a chilly note where people live

  1. Oldjim says:

    Thank you for the informative post which explains the drop in Arctic sea ice to a remarkably (possibly unheard of) low level for this time of year.
    It will be interesting to see whether it recovers by the end of the freeze season or not

  2. John Kehr says:

    While I am sure GISS will come out with some impressively dire news, the satellite data which is actually scientifically usable has December at +0.18C. I have a little more at my website.

    John Kehr
    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  3. Ian W says:

    Just for once will someone explain how these ‘averages’ are obtained?

    Are these formed by:
    * generating the mathematical mean of the maximum and minimum temperature observations (a meaningless figure!)”?
    * Somehow using those ‘means’ to come up with an average temperature per square (cubic) kilometer of Earth’s surface (obviously skewed by the number and location of observation sites)?
    * Averaging those means to come up with a ‘global average’ with a false level of precision?

    And I must repeat while “weather is not climate” – “atmospheric temperature is not heat content”

    As this number is used to guide governments into not making sufficient preparations for cold weather; they are literally life and death related. In any other business where figures are safety related there is considerable rigorous quality management, but ‘quality management’ is one thing that appears to be lacking in climatology.

    [ryanm: the reanalysis dataset is gridded, and the temperatures are based upon 4 times daily instantaneous analysis of the near-surface temperature field. During the data assimilation process, all in-situ and satellite observations are used optimally to produce the best estimate of the true temperature, which is unknowable. Thanks for the reminder about temperature only being one metric]

  4. Espen says:

    There’s one more thing to notice here: As I’ve pointed out before: That big blob of positive anomaly up in the Canadian Arctic desert does not contain as much excess heat as an equally sized blob of positive anomaly in the tropics. The reason is that the total heat content (the enthalpy) of air depends not only on the temperature, but also the pressure and the water vapor content. And colder air is much, much drier than warmer air. In fact, even Sahara is moister than the Canadian desert, so a +10C anomaly in Sahara represents more excess heat than a +10C anomaly in Nunavut.

    It would be even harder to collect good quality data, and it would be much harder to “sell” to the public, but if climate scientists really wanted to present a measure of excess heat in the atmosphere, they should measure enthalpy, not global mean temperature. But since the heat capacity of the atmosphere is so low compared to the ocean, ocean heat content is the only really reliable measure (if done right, of course…) of global warming anyway…

  5. Patrick Davis says:

    Dunno about the NH being cold (Which it clearly is and is receiving coverage in the Australian MSM. Really like watching drivers trying to drive on ice without proper “boots” on) but our “downunder summer” is looking to be cold and wet, 21c max in the Sydney today.

  6. Cynthia Lauren Thorpe says:

    I appreciate your graphs and your explanation of the data.

    I can only share that we here in South Australia have seen only 1 day
    of 32C in the past 2 months of supposed ‘spring/’summer’ and each evening
    has basically been much like tonight, here on the coast below the Coorong:
    about 11-12C and while we’re NOT ‘stoking the fireplace’ ~ I’m getting
    another ‘duna’/comforter for the bed tonight.

    So much for our January ‘summer’ in the Southeast.

    C.L. Thorpe

  7. Günther Kirschbaum says:

    Wow, that red blot over the Arctic is impressive.

  8. alexjc38 says:

    “AGW is built upon the premise of a slow, very slow upward trend that will eventually accelerate. But, that’s a long ways off — today, we are talking about hundredths of a degree C. How many trillions of dollars is that worth to you?”

    This puts it all in perfect perspective – excellent post and Happy New Year!

  9. anna v says:

    Once more I would like to stress that averaging the anomalies is not the same as averaging temperatures. The whole game of averaging is to know the changes in energy content of the globe. It is the energy that makes the difference, not the anomaly on the temperature. The anomaly is a proxy for the temperature and the temperature is a proxy for the energy radiated.
    Energy flow=constant*T^4
    Anomaly is Delta(T)

    Here are some numbers: The arctic temperature is -20C
    The Africa temperature is +20C
    both show a 4C anomaly , setting parameters for the year 2010 .

    In terms of anomaly there is the same change.
    In terms of energy radiated (T arctic is -16C, T africa 24C)

    257.15: 247.9 W/m2 Arctic

    297.15: 442.1 W/m2 Africa

    The radiation from Africa is 194.2 Watts/meter^2 more than the one from the Arctic, whereas the anomalies are the same.

    Anomalies are bad proxies for energy and average anomalies worse for average energies.

    [ryanm: the plots here are calculated from the actual data, not averaging together the global anomalies. I am well aware of the variability at each grid point in the domain.]

  10. Speed says:

    Ryan,

    You say, ” … the global temperature has changed only on the order of a 1-3 percent during the past 30-years.”

    How did you calculate that number? 1-3 percent of 293 degrees C is 2.9 to 8.7 degrees C. Expressing the change in the “departure from normal” as a percent varies depending on what you use for the “normal” or baseline value.

    [ryanm: yes, true, and right]

  11. David says:

    Re Espen says:
    January 3, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Two excellent messages. I would add that changes in SWR have the dominant long term effect on OHC.

  12. BillD says:

    Yes, temperature is increasing slowly for humans, who often think of a decade as being a long time. However, the heating of the planet seems to be very fast compared to the past, where shifts in climate usually took 1000′s of years. A trend of 0.2 oC does not seem like a lot, but it’s really quite fast. The prediction of those pesky computer models is that warming should be strongest in the arctic, rather far from the UHI effect.

    [ryanm: 0.2C over a period of a several decades seems quite reasonable to me in terms of natural variability considering the effects of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation are likely around that number...]

  13. Ian W says:

    @Espen

    I think we are both saying the same thing- atmospheric temperature is not heat content due to the differing enthalpy of dry and humid air.

    As the polar vortices have both moved equatorwards this also mean that the drier polar airmasses are also extended equatorwards. This means that less heat has been needed to raise the atmospheric temperature.

    I am sure that climate ‘scientists’ realize this and also know that politicians and the public do not understand enthalpy. Therefore, they continue using atmospheric temperature as their metric despite its invalidity for quantifying atmospheric heat content.

    My concern is that this is hiding some really severe planetary heat energy loss and there will be total lack of preparedness for what that might cause.

  14. Fantastic tools to be used again and again!
    This really makes a difference.

    If i should mention “something” that might be changed:
    1) First of all, Denmark should be in the centre of this graphic, obviously:
    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/raw_temp.html

    2) Ok, in the above anomaly map (superbe!) then i would have preferred if the colour scheme perhaps better showed cold vs warm. Many grey areas are in fact hot, and thus you have to take some more time to get an impression of the overall temperatures.

    K.R. Frank Lansner

  15. Kev-in-UK says:

    My ‘local’ weather station shows 2010 as -0.9C compared to the average since recording commenced in 2003 – granted only 7 years of data, but the year is cooler than previous years.
    Here, Feb 2010 was quite a bit warmer (+5C) than normal, but Jan, Nov and Dec were all significantly cooler (-2 to -6), most other months average or slightly below. All of which I can remember quite well. There have certainly been quite a few low records set in the region generally.
    I haven’t got round to checking this against the ‘official’ Met office data, they won’t verify (set? LOL) Dec temps until around late Jan 2011 probably.
    I would like to make the point that we all ‘know’ our local weather – and, certainly in my experience, this never seems to tally with the officially published ‘view’, and certainly not since the AGW ‘global’ temp anomaly was quoted. I would suggest more people do the same and check their own local available data with the official stuff, just to see if they can ‘recognise’ their local weather is being properly represented and recorded! I think it would be interesting to note how the official ‘gridded’ data that encompasses my local area, and if it reflects our local weather after all the smoothing and adjustments, etc! Thats assuming one can get hold of said official data!

  16. Smokey says:

    BillD,

    Incorrect. Rapid shifts in temperature are not extraordinary, and they have nothing to do with CO2: click

  17. onion says:

    BillD is correct. 0.2C per decade would be very fast. In just 100 years that’s 2C warming which is a lot for a global amount.

    Smokey, that is an abrupt change triggered by an unstable climate, although in this case it’s regional. That’s precisely the kind of thing we have to worry about with a 0.2C per decade change. We could hit something abruptly on the way up.

    In fact it’s possible we’ve already started hitting something…*points at the snow storms in the UK and US*

  18. David L says:

    Since I started keeping Phila. PA temperature records going back to Jan 1 2011 we’ve had record high temps. Yesterday it was 51F! It’s unprecedented and worse than I thought. The trend is definitely predicting 200F temperatures this summer. Today it’s 23F but that’s just weather so it doesn’t count. I can hide that somehow with some sort of trick. I know, I’ll look at the latest tree rings in my woodpile before I burn them in my woodstove.. If they are large I’ll use that as a temp. proxy and throw out the actual readings. Next I’ll mount my thermometer on the chimney in direct sunlight for future readings.

  19. Larry says:

    Wasn’t the cold in europe supposed to be because of winds pulling cold air down from the arctic? Is that why the arctic is warmer?

  20. Ian W says:

    anna v says:
    January 3, 2011 at 3:18 am
    Once more I would like to stress that averaging the anomalies is not the same as averaging temperatures. The whole game of averaging is to know the changes in energy content of the globe. It is the energy that makes the difference, not the anomaly on the temperature. The anomaly is a proxy for the temperature and the temperature is a proxy for the energy radiated.
    Energy flow=constant*T^4
    Anomaly is Delta(T)

    Here are some numbers: The arctic temperature is -20C
    The Africa temperature is +20C
    both show a 4C anomaly , setting parameters for the year 2010 .

    In terms of anomaly there is the same change.
    In terms of energy radiated (T arctic is -16C, T africa 24C)

    257.15: 247.9 W/m2 Arctic

    297.15: 442.1 W/m2 Africa

    The radiation from Africa is 194.2 Watts/meter^2 more than the one from the Arctic, whereas the anomalies are the same.

    Anomalies are bad proxies for energy and average anomalies worse for average energies.

    Sounds all very good except much of the energy radiated from the troposphere comes from latent heat of state change of water. This is does NOT follow Stefan Boltzmann’s equation.

  21. Peter Dunford says:

    Thank you Dr Ryan for an interesting piece. In your future article about the selection of baseline period, can you also explain why climate scientists use a 30 year instead of 60 year baseline? It seems to me that if you are not capturing a full 60-ish year cycle for the baseline then you risk showing too large or too small an anomally if your baseline is not peak to trough in a cycle, but perhaps capturing the cooler thirty year period. Use of a 60 year base should compensate for the selection of baseline period.

  22. TerrySkinner says:

    The map with the ‘hot’ arctic is the familiar distorting projection. As always it grossly exaggerates the most northerly and southerly areas and greatly compresses everything nearer the equator. For example Greenland (836,109 sq miles) appears several times larger than India (1,269,346 sq miles). The green area in mid-Pacific looks about the same size as the Arctic red-area but in reality it must be several times bigger.

  23. Bill Illis says:

    Thanks Ryan, been using your weather model pages, they are great.

    The big hotspot over north east North America is only 3.0% of the global surface area. Given at least half of it is not getting any sunlight at all right now, it would represent less than 0.5% of the total global solar energy budget. I guess the warm anomalies must be moving in from somewhere else. That is the question.

    Another thing which might be going on right now with the global climate is that global water vapour levels are falling rapidly. After the El Nino’s impact peaked in April 10, total column water vapour levels were very high (in the NCEP reanalysis dataset).

    Now that we are in a La Nina and global temperatures are falling, those water vapour levels are also falling rapidly – probably below normal already in December. Perhaps that is why there seems to be so much rain and snowfall right now. The atmosphere has been dumping water vapour. The total change could end up being 10% from peak in April 10 to trough in April 11.

    http://img340.imageshack.us/img340/8490/ensotempsvstcwvnov10.png

    http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/1485/ensovstcwvnov10.png

  24. Jimbo says:

    “…but even through all of that, you must know that the global temperature has changed only on the order of a 1-3 percent during the past 30-years. “

    Q. Is this within the limits of natural climate variability?

  25. Louise says:

    I don’t understand the title of the piece. Surely Urban Heat Islands warm up the places where people live so why are these the cold areas?

  26. Katherine says:

    In the NCEP charts, why are the scales for positive and negative temperatures … disproportionate? For example, in the “NCEP GFS deterministic forecast model analysis and forecast 2-meter temperatures,” the first four grid marks to the right of “0″ are 8, 16, 24, and 32, but the corresponding marks to the left are -12, -30, -46, and -62. And it also uses “green” for temperatures below freezing. WUWT?

  27. Smokey says:

    Onion looks at the evidence that abrupt temperature changes have taken place during the Holocene, and then assumes that the *very mild* 0.7°C warming over the past century cannot be natural variability.

    Cognitive dissonance will do that to a person.

  28. John Peter says:

    “onion says:
    January 3, 2011 at 4:35 am
    BillD is correct. 0.2C per decade would be very fast. In just 100 years that’s 2C warming which is a lot for a global amount.
    Smokey, that is an abrupt change triggered by an unstable climate, although in this case it’s regional. That’s precisely the kind of thing we have to worry about with a 0.2C per decade change. We could hit something abruptly on the way up.
    In fact it’s possible we’ve already started hitting something…*points at the snow storms in the UK and US*”

    So where did 0.2C/decade come from? I thought there was general agreement on 0.6/7C only over at least 100 years. Also Onion has been duped into thinking that CO2 is causing the cold and snowstorms over UK and US. If it is caused by AGW surely it would have fallen as rain storms? So the lack of albedo over Arctic (no sun in winter) causes global warming and snow over UK/USA whereas the albedo from snow below Arctic is caused by AGW and also causes global warming, so everything causes AGW. I am sorry I am lost and can no longer follow the thinking of those believing in AGW.

  29. INGSOC says:

    I predict, owing to the lower water vapour levels elucidated eloquently by Mr Illis, likely due to the continued negative AMO and ENSO phases, we will see a cooler summer, which of course will be further proof of global warming. It will however be announced that it is the hottest summer ever, but only in obscure locations where nobody ever goes, like the current “hot spots” boiling through a balmy -35.5 instead of -36. All roads lead to global warming, no matter how convoluted. So just shut up and fork over your money or we’ll beat the crap out of you.

    Never mind that man behind the curtain.

  30. William Sears says:

    Thunder Bay, in North Western Ontario, must be a perpetual anomaly. It is always either colder or warmer than else where in North America. For most of December it has been very mild, with daily highs often above zero (Celsius). It is turning cold again now and I suspect than our usual winter temperatures of minus twenty to minus thirty will be back. The effect of Lake Superior and the position of the jet stream are the critical factors.

  31. LazyTeenager says:

    Ryan dismisses
    ————-
    But, that’s a long ways off — today, we are talking about hundredths of a degree C.  How many trillions of dollars is that worth to you?
    ————–
    Well I agree that nothing much has happened yet. But why is it so hard to appreciated that if we delay acting until we get a serious beating about the head then action will be too late to be effective.

    Maybe a parable will help. You are driving a long and see a car stopped in the middle of the road with its hazard lights on. No problem, you will just keep on driving and maybe accelerate, cos that person must be really stupid to stop in the middle of the road.

    Except there is a person collapsed from a heart attack while crossing the road and the other driver has stopped to help. It’s too late to stop and you run over them.

    Would it not have been better to slow down and look at the situation carefully before proceeding?

    [ryanm: save social security, medicare, and the US economy first before instituting carbon reform. Liberal solutions are not the only action possibilities -- if only the government were here to solve this problem. Please.]

  32. Robuk says:

    Is there actually any warming and how good are the numbers.

    New Zealand’s Climate Science Coalition has issued a press release detailing the end of the Kiwi-gate affair.

    The outcome is that data published in 2009 by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) entitled ‘Are we feeling warmer yet’ has been abandoned and replaced with real, unadjusted data that shows a picture that warmists don’t want you to see:

    “NIWA makes the huge admission that New Zealand has experienced hardly any warming during the last half-century. For all their talk about warming, for all their rushed invention of the “Eleven-Station Series” to prove warming, this new series shows that NO WARMING has occurred here since about 1960.

    So the rest of the planet is warming other than New Zealand, explanation please.

  33. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Thanks Ryan.
    My wife requests your photo. at the beginning of each of your posts! (lol).

  34. Pamela Gray says:

    For the warmers on the thread (BillD and Onion) please do not confuse weather pattern variation with AGW. You embarrass the climate scientists who have the task of separating such things and do so in reputable labs. The AO is clearly negative and has been sloping down for quite some time http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/JFM_season_ao_index.shtml , explaining quite well the warming of the Arctic from frigid glass breaking cold to just frigid cold during the Jan, Feb, Mar winter season. When the AO flips back to positive, the Arctic will return to frigid glass breaking cold.

  35. KD in Milwaukee says:

    BillD says:
    January 3, 2011 at 3:34 am
    Yes, temperature is increasing slowly for humans, who often think of a decade as being a long time. However, the heating of the planet seems to be very fast compared to the past, where shifts in climate usually took 1000′s of years. A trend of 0.2 oC does not seem like a lot, but it’s really quite fast. The prediction of those pesky computer models is that warming should be strongest in the arctic, rather far from the UHI effect.

    onion says:
    January 3, 2011 at 4:35 am
    BillD is correct. 0.2C per decade would be very fast. In just 100 years that’s 2C warming which is a lot for a global amount…

    In fact it’s possible we’ve already started hitting something…*points at the snow storms in the UK and US*
    _____________________________________________

    Gotta love the confidence here.

    @BillD – what DATA do you have for your statement:

    “However, the heating of the planet seems to be very fast compared to the past, where shifts in climate usually took 1000′s of years.”

    Do you have MEASURED temperature trends over 1000′s of years you would like to share? Or do you simply have PROXIES, calibrated versus, say, 150 years of actual (but highly suspect) measurements? And what level of UNCERTAINTY is associated with those PROXIES? Is the UNCERTAINTY small enough to let you make your claim with any CERTAINTY?

    @onion: What DATA do you have to support your statement:

    “In fact it’s possible we’ve already started hitting something…*points at the snow storms in the UK and US*”

    I’ve seen you make this statement many times now… would you mind sharing the DATA you have that PROVES that the recent snow storms are a result of AGW?

  36. jack morrow says:

    Onion says:
    Onion your comments always are…well, like onions.

  37. anna v says:

    Ian W says:
    January 3, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Sounds all very good except much of the energy radiated from the troposphere comes from latent heat of state change of water. This is does NOT follow Stefan Boltzmann’s equation.

    Enegy loss from radiation from the troposphere would be in addition to the one from the ground, which in my example is underestimated because we only get 2m atmospheric temperatures and not ground skin temperatures which are larger/smaller and more stable, but that is another sad story. In any case air has very little heat capacity and if it were not for radiation from the ground would very fast loose all its energy. And most of the air energy is transported by convection anyway before it radiates up high.

    The point in my post is to say that anomalies are very bad proxies of energy, even as a first approximation, not to lay out the energy scheme as it should be.

  38. Hu McCulloch says:

    Thanks for the interesting graphs, Ryan!

    However, the equirectangular plate carree projection that you use and which is favored by GISS exagerates the poles, where flucutations tend to be extreme and where data is in any event scarce.

    In a CA post at http://climateaudit.org/2008/02/12/equal-area-projections/, I discuss several equal-area projections. For your purposes, the Lambert Cylindrical Equal Area projection with a 2:1 aspect ratio would be most suitable. A 2:1 aspect ratio (originally proposed by CA’s John A) makes each meridian appear to be half the length of the equator, and makes the “reference latitudes” at which there is no shape distortion 40.8 deg. N&S.

    Another good option, but which distorts N/S relations, is the Mollweide projection, perhaps interrupted to reduce shape distortion.

    [ryanm: yes, I purposely use this worst map projection because it is a notorious way to scare folks with those extremely warm Arctic temperatures. For publication, I would never submit nor positively review such ugly plots. ]

  39. That’s 1-3% on the Celsius scale. Less than 1/10th of that in absolute terms.

  40. Louise says:

    Robuk – that’s not quite true I’m afraid.

    Even with the ‘new’ NIWA data, the picture hasn’t changed much. See http://hot-topic.co.nz/niwas-new-nz-temperature-series-plus-ca-change/

    Earlier this afternoon NIWA released its recalculated NZ temperature record and as expected the changes from the “old” seven station series are more or less negligible. The trend over the last 100 years is identical, 0.91ºC per century, as the graph above shows. There are minor differences in some years, and larger ones at some stations, but the net effect to is confirm what we already knew: New Zealand warmed significantly over the last century.

  41. dixonstalbert says:

    BillD is correct. 0.2C per decade would be very fast. In just 100 years that’s 2C warming which is a lot for a global amount.

    From JRA-25 graph above, the period of May 1, 2010 to May 15, 2010 shows global warming of about 0.7 C over the 2 weeks.

    That is equivalent to 18.2 degrees/year, 182 degrees/decade.

    In just 100 years that’s 1820C warming which is a lot for a global amount.

    [ryanm: awesome, Earth will become a molten slag]

  42. KD says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    January 3, 2011 at 6:24 am
    Ryan dismisses
    ————-
    But, that’s a long ways off — today, we are talking about hundredths of a degree C.  How many trillions of dollars is that worth to you?
    ————–
    Well I agree that nothing much has happened yet. But why is it so hard to appreciated that if we delay acting until we get a serious beating about the head then action will be too late to be effective.
    ———————-
    Well, because:

    1. You have not provided, and from what I can see no one else has, PROOF or EVIDENCE that we will “get a serious beating about the head” if we don’t act now. INCOMPLETE, INACCURATE models that have no PROVEN ABILITY to predict the climate are not PROOF of the assertion that something bad will happen if we don’t act.

    2. The POLITICAL motivations of those who claim doom is ahead is suspect, i.e. They are motivated to: a) provide results that show impending doom in order to obtain further research funding; b) believe in the redistribution of wealth and see cap and trade as a great means to that end; or, c) both.

    I strongly urge you to think critically about the motivations of the pro-AGW side (to spend YOUR money the way THEY see fit) versus the skeptical side (who have little or nothing to gain PERSONALLY, except, of course, keeping THEIR money and using it the way THEY see fit).

  43. lgl says:

    “The daily temperature time series is extremely noisy and fluctuates wildly, but there appears to be a rhythm to the madness. I’ll leave that as homework exercise to explain the ups-and-downs (hint it’s weather).”

    There’s a 27 days periodicity so it’s either the lunar perigee/apogee or the solar variation.

  44. Martin Brumby says:

    @LazyTeenager says: January 3, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Great fairy-story.

    So, if you see a car with hazard lights a-flashing, what you should REALLY do is to drive the car into the nearest tree and rush off to spend trillions on windmills.

    Yes?

    Do you never tire of posting pathetic and risible BS?

  45. Kev-in-UK says:

    jack morrow says:
    January 3, 2011 at 6:58 am

    did you mean that they bring one to tears? :)

  46. Bob Barker says:

    “How many trillions of dollars is that worth to you?”

    Not much. I moved south several years ago for a warmer climate and last winter I was hoping for some of that global warming to show up here but it was someplace else.

  47. TomRude says:

    “You must look at the weather — weather is part of the climate — and understand the high-frequency redistribution of heat, moisture, and momentum on the order of days and weeks. I will show you now why the weather matters.”

    Nice Ryan:

    How about quoting Climatologist Marcel Leroux who wrote: “basic knowledge about the real mechanisms of meteorological phenomena and about the processes whereby climatic modifications are transmitted, is necessary for the analysis and understanding of climatic evolution, across all scales of intensity, space and time.”

    “Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate Atmospheric Circulation, Perturbations, Climatic Evolution”, Springer-Praxis books in Environmental Sciences, 2nd ed., 2010, 440p., ISBN 978-3-642-04679-7.

    His updated doctoral dissertation contains the database of his African work on which he based his ideas on the general circulation [ "The weather and climate of tropical Africa, Springer Verlag, Springer-Praxis Books in Environmental Sciences, London, New York, 548 p. + CD: 300 p., 250 maps, 2001, ISBN: 978-3-540-42636-3].

    An unforgiving history of the global warming science [Global Warming: Myth or Reality? The Herring Ways of Climatology ", Springer-Praxis Books in Environmental Sciences, Berlin, Heidelberg, London, New York, 509p., 2005, ISBN: 978-3 -540-23909-3].

    [ryanm: that quote works -- and is more elegant.]

  48. LazyTeenager says:
    January 3, 2011 at 6:24 am

    “Maybe a parable will help. You are driving a long and see a car stopped in the middle of the road with its hazard lights on. No problem, you will just keep on driving and maybe accelerate, cos that person must be really stupid to stop in the middle of the road.

    Except there is a person collapsed from a heart attack while crossing the road and the other driver has stopped to help. It’s too late to stop and you run over them.”

    Alternatively, you slam on the brakes without thinking about the odds of some guy having a heart attack in the middle of the road who is both apparently invisible to you and able to cover his savior with his shield of invisibility (luckily for him his savior can see through such cloaks). As you slam on the brakes the semi-truck behind you crashes into to you, killing you and your entire family and smacks you into the people stupidly lying in the middle of the road.

    Imagination and conjecture! The heart of climate science and fear-mongering!

  49. Werner Brozek says:

    “AGW is built upon the premise of a slow, very slow upward trend that will eventually accelerate.”

    I am lost here. Even the IPCC says the effect of additional CO2 is logarithmic (law of diminishing returns). So even if we do assume CO2 does affect things, would it not be a deceleration? Or are they assuming positive feed backs that do not appear to have manifested themselves so far?

  50. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” The Earth’s temperature varies a lot, from hour to hour, day to day, season to season, year to year for a bunch of reasons of which the sun is order 1, but even through all of that, you must know that the global temperature has changed only on the order of a 1-3 percent during the past 30-years. “””””

    So that means in the last 30 years the global Temperature has changed by somewhere in the range of 2.88 to 8.64 deg C ?

    That seems like an awful lot of change to me.

    Well maybe it only changed by 0.15 to 0.45 deg C ; well unless it changed by 0.59 to 1.77 deg F. Does anyone measure weather on the Rankine Temperature scale ?

  51. Richard Sharpe says:

    Bob Barker says on January 3, 2011 at 8:27 am

    “How many trillions of dollars is that worth to you?”

    Not much. I moved south several years ago for a warmer climate and last winter I was hoping for some of that global warming to show up here but it was someplace else.

    Were you hoping for the cold type of global warming or the warm type? It seems that the cold type is all we can get these days.

  52. Anything is possible says:

    “You must look at the weather — weather is part of the climate”

    _____________________________________________________________

    As a big MLB fan, I like to use the following analogy, which I think sums it up pretty neatly:

    “Weather is a single game of baseball. Climate is the standings at the end of the season.”

  53. R John says:

    @LazyTeenager

    First, when did “cos”become an acceptable abbreviation for “because”?

    I have a different analogy for you. Let’s say your Dad tells you he wants you to re-paint your room white from the blood red color you thought would look cool. So, after cursing him under your breath, you put two coats of white paint on the wall. He comes by to inspect your work and sees that the red color is still bleeding through and tells you to put on two more coats of paint. Once again, you curse him under your breath but comply. The next day, he inspects your work and again asks you to put on one last coat of paint. You protest as there is no sign of any red paint bleeding through. He says, “I don’t care, paint it again to make me happy.” Cursing, you paint one last coat. After it dries, you do not notice any difference in the wall’s appearance.

    What is the point of this story? Man’s contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere is like that 5th coat of paint. The saturation point of non-human CO2 has already maxed out its greenhouse effect. So, go ahead an exhale – your CO2 in your lungs needs to be released freely without any guilt.

  54. Vuk etc says:

    lgl says:
    January 3, 2011 at 8:17 am
    There’s a 27 days periodicity so it’s either the lunar perigee/apogee or the solar variation.
    ……
    Sun has a magnetic bulge at about 240-250 heliocentric longitude.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC13.htm
    It drifts slowly from one cycle to the next.

  55. beng says:

    The “red blob” is right over the currently unfrozen part of Hudson Bay. I’d venture to say that the warm high-pressure over south Greenland is the reason that area of H Bay hasn’t frozen over yet, and why a hot-spot occurs right there (it’d normally be frozen over by now).

    Or maybe Canada has built a clandestine underwater nuke plant there….

  56. peterhodges says:

    it’s colder in nm, arizona, and california than in areas around hudson bay.

    funny how the co2 seems to make places warmer where there’s no sun, and turns the sunny desert southwest into siberia.

  57. JPeden says:

    onion says:
    January 3, 2011 at 4:35 am

    ["must panic"..."must disasterize"..."must always worry about the necessary CAGW apocalypse just around the next corner"..."must panic"] We could hit something abruptly on the way up.

    In fact it’s possible we’ve already started hitting something…*points at the snow storms in the UK and US* [my emphasis?]

    onion, you forgot one very important piece of “evidence” which should further accellerate the thrill you derive from your panic-seeking quest!!!! In some of the areas where heavy winter snow and significant above ground cold, are your necessarily-perceived evidence of unusual warming at least somewhere, the underground water mains supplying houses, etc., are apparently freezing and breaking, or at least breaking from ‘frost heave”, necessitating water rationing once they start leaking and draining the reservoirs!!!

    Enjoy!!!!!!

  58. lgl says:

    Thanks Vuk,

    And how does that change Earths temperature 0.6 deg C?

  59. sky says:

    anna v says:
    January 3, 2011 at 7:04 am

    You’re entirely correct in pointing out that (dry-bulb) temperature anomalies are a misleading proxy for global thermal energy variations. The thermodynamic concept of enthalpy, which also involves mechanical work done by pressure gradients, is required for accurate accounting. But skin temperatures on land are far more variable–both temporally and spatially–than air temperatures. That’s the reason that the 2m level is standard in meteorology. It gets the thermometer above the near-surface boundary layer wherein the temperature is far less stable. Otherwise it would have to be sampled at very high frequencies that are prohibitive in practice.

  60. Robin Edwards says:

    TerrySkinner in effect makes a point that I wish to endorse and enlarge on. This is that it would be more informative to present these excellent plots on an equal areas projection rather than on something presumably related to Mercator’s venerable method, which is excellent for navigational purposes but which severely distorts ones areal perception of the real globe. It would be more “honest”, I think, and would certainly change ideas on the relative importance of any changes.

    Louise tells us that the new NIWA data is scarcely different from their previous revelations. What the NIWA analysts seem to have missed is that in 1954 a step change in temperature took place in /all/ the seven sites that they presented. If you don’t believe this just try fitting least squares lines to the data split at 1954, and examine the inferential statistics, including confidence interval plots for the fitted LS lines. You may be considerably surprised.

  61. PhilJourdan says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    January 3, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Would it not have been better to slow down and look at the situation carefully before proceeding?
    Indeed, is that not what skeptics are saying? While the AGW crowd rushes ahead, the skeptics are saying “should we not understand the situation better before we run over society?”

  62. TonyR says:

    The weather patterns have a signature of global cooling-blocking over greenland-weaker jet stream which loops a lot more bringing cold air into Europe and most of North America. Coldest Dec. since 1683 in London-the year the greatest frost fair ever was held on the frozen Thames River. During the depths of a colder period known as the little ice age. Blocking over greenland was a rare occurrance during the warmer decades of the 20th century, but was frequent during little ice age which led to extreme cold and snow over western europe. The only thing mitigating it is the stored up warmth of the oceans which is making n. new england and e. canada very mild as the east winds blow off the warmer water-due to a southward expansion of the polar easterlies-which is caused by the cooling trend. A local effect of global cooling would be to make europe much colder in winter but n. new england and e. canada milder-at least initially.

  63. Kitefreak says:

    peterhodges says:
    January 3, 2011 at 11:30 am

    funny how the co2 seems to make places warmer where there’s no sun, and turns the sunny desert southwest into siberia.
    ——————————
    CO2 works in mysterious ways.

  64. TonyR says:

    To add, global cooling could actually warm the arctic during the winter-all the positive anomalies on the map occurred in conjunction with blocking anticyclones setting up shop in areas that normally dont have them. While the mid latitudes show a lot of very negative anomalies-the global anomaly looks to be below the average overall-and the weather patterns fit that very well.

  65. FrankK says:

    BillD says:
    January 3, 2011 at 3:34 am

    Yes, temperature is increasing slowly for humans, who often think of a decade as being a long time. However, the heating of the planet seems to be very fast compared to the past, where shifts in climate usually took 1000′s of years. A trend of 0.2 oC does not seem like a lot, but it’s really quite fast. The prediction of those pesky computer models is that warming should be strongest in the arctic, rather far from the UHI effect.
    =========================================================

    But your looking at a too-short-a record. The data quoted is on a historical rising “limb” over this period.

    Look at a much longer record:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET2.htm

    0.35 C deg per century.!!

  66. jimmi says:

    I note that the articles on the end-of-year RSS and UAH data published after this one have positive anomalies relative to the same 30 year period that this article uses. Why is there a difference? And which is a more accurate summary of the present state?

    [ryanm: the numerical weather prediction analysis will generate a different temperature estimate, and this is expected. That's the dilemma, to use only observational data, satellite data, a combination of both in a model context, or some other incarnation to get the "true" temperature. Here, I am plotting up 4 times a day snapshots of temperature -- clearly missing out on a lot of diurnal variability. Neither is completely right or wrong.]

  67. Doug Proctor says:

    The hotspot in HBay looks more like an open-water situation than an atmospheric warming. Current changes could be responsible for the less-than-normal ice in Hudson’s Bay, or more sunshine that melted the ice. What are the current and cloudcover stats like HBay over the last 15 years?

    [ryanm: anomalous easterly flow from the Atlantic into Canada -- the SST's if you look are much warmer than normal off the Canadian Atlantic coast...]

  68. Pascvaks says:

    Watch the Jets! The more they vary, the more variation to the weather (and climate). After the MWP and before the LIA there was a long period of great variation (hot and cold) with the up and down girations of the Jets. Betweem the recently ended ‘Modern Warm Period’ and the next LIA, the Jets are going to dance once again. Global Warming? Yes, sometimes; but not the ALGORE kind. Global Cooling? Yes, sometimes that too. What’s ahead? Another glacial, no bout a doubt it! Hummmm… wonder what the boys and girls at the UN are going to say and do about that? Bet it won’t be much different than what they’re crying about now. One thing you can always count on are politicians (and the weather).

  69. Gino says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who looks at those temp plots and thinks “wow, look at the earth hemorrhage heat into the arctic night while the rest of the globe freezes”.

  70. Ryan Maue says:

    The current Arctic heating is a trap that I expect many scientists to fall into, and lose their way.

  71. Peter Walker UK says:

    CET (Central England Temp) for December was -0.7 degrees C. This puts it
    at 351 out of 352 for the warmest December temperature.

    Or to put it the other way, the second coldest in the 352 year CET record.

  72. 1DandyTroll says:

    I have now concluded my analysis of the, at times, very, pretty, pictures.

    What with the anomaly color is green, in the first two images containing green, which denotes below normal, minor, but still, one can only conclude the overall is below normal.

    There’s a “huge” real frakking anomaly in the next to last image though. OMFG but W(ho)TF did chose pink as being colder ‘an blue for antarctica’s edges?

  73. Paul Vaughan says:

    The map color schemes used by these agencies are very poorly chosen.

  74. JPeden says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    January 3, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Well I agree that nothing much has happened yet [concerning temp. increases]. But why is it so hard to appreciated that if we delay acting until we get a serious beating about the head then action will be too late to be effective.

    Therefore, LT, according to you, there’s no evidence whatsoever of CAGW since there’s no significant warming “yet”, eh, not even a tropical trophospheric “hot spot”; so “let’s all try to commit suicide by getting back to being an underdeveloped nation as a precaution, before it’s too late”?

    Well, me, I’m sticking with the opposite fossil fuel and nuclear energy cure instead being enacted by two of those already existing underdeveloped nations, LT, India and China, as necessary to their survival and wellbeing; but I can see how you better keep going on ahead with your own bad self’s “precaution”, since you apparently feel sooo strongly that your facts and logic can never be falsified, eventually even in the face of the mighty Precautionary Principle!

    But please let me know exactly what you are doing in your own personal life to decrease your own “carbon footprint”, because you can probably do enough for the both of us, even if it might have to really mean committing suicide, as you seem to suggest it would for many people; and I wouldn’t want an altruistic person such as yourself to miss a chance at trying to personally “save” one more person!

  75. ferd berple says:

    I love it when people say “it is possible”. It is possible temperature will go up/down, sea levels will rise/fall, all due to whatever people will pay me to say. Most people keep their jobs by towing the line. How long for example, would Gavin last if he was to tell Hansen, hey guess what, I’ve check the numbers and you have it wrong, it wasn’t CO2 after all.

  76. vigilantfish says:

    TomRude:

    Your reference to the book “Global Warming: Myth or Reality? The Herring Ways of Climatology ” had me very excited: was there some fishy angle to CAGW I had missed in my studies? Alas, no, the book’s focus is on “Erring Ways”. But for a few moments I had visions of migrating climatologists…

  77. AusieDan says:

    Speed & Ryan
    if you are going to calculate percentage changes in temperature then you MUST work with a scale that has a real absolute zero.
    Speed – you are right – it is not optional!
    Calculating percentages off degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit is ABSOLUTELY wrong.

  78. AusieDan says:

    Come on Onion fair go!
    0.2 degrees per decade would be well within the error of measurement.
    In addition Ryan does not appear to have accounted for the UHI effect.

    After adjustment for UHI the real temperature must have been going down.

  79. savethesharks says:

    “You’ll hear a lot about the historically warm Arctic, but who cares at this point, no one lives there and it is still plenty cold.”

    ========================

    This quote repeated for effect.

    I would love to see this guy take on some of the hockey team and the IPCC bureaucrats.

    He’s one of the rising meteorological stars on the planet and would probably eat them for lunch in a debate.

    Keep it up, Ryan.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  80. Manny says:

    That big hot blob over Northern Canada is very suspicious.

  81. Sou says:

    It’s interesting how a few extreme record-breaking summers can distort memory. I expect we are able to acclimatise to hotter weather to some extent and we’re starting to accept it as the norm.

    Even though our summer down here in south eastern Australia feels cold, so far October, November and December 2010 were all still above the long term averages for Melbourne. Yes, even the most recent 1981-2010 30 year average, which was warmer than the 1971-2000 30 year average, which was warmer than the 1961-1990 30 year average .

    Yes, even in a cold, wet La Nina summer down in south eastern Australia the signs of warming are obvious. (One of the other signs, of course, being the record precipitation. Rain dumps that we’ve never before seen in this part of the world. And we’ve had La Nina’s before, needless to say.)

  82. Gordon in Minnesota says:

    Probably a better analysis of the warming effects of CO2 and othe greenhouse gases would be to measure the change in winter temperatures over the continental landmasses in the mid and high latitudes during the last 30 year period, as well as comparing each of the past 30-year normals back to the late 1800s when instrumental temperature records became widespread.

    The warming is unmistakable.

    The inclusion of temperatures from tropical and oceanic sites only ends up swamping the data, as the heat trapping effects of water vapor eclipses the effects of greenhouse gases in those locations.

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