Feb UAH global temperature anomaly goes slightly negative

From Dr. Roy Spencer:

UAH_LT_1979_thru_Feb_2011

Latest Global Average Tropospheric Temperatures

(Want to see how the current month’s temperatures are shaping up? Check this out.)

Since 1979, NOAA satellites have been carrying instruments which measure the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere. The signals that these microwave radiometers measure at different microwave frequencies are directly proportional to the temperature of different, deep layers of the atmosphere. Every month, John Christy and I update global temperature datasets (see here and here)that represent the piecing together of the temperature data from a total of eleven instruments flying on eleven different satellites over the years. As of early 2011, our most stable instrument for this monitoring is the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A) flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite and providing data since late 2002.

The graph above represents the latest update; updates are usually made within the first week of every month. Contrary to some reports, the satellite measurements are not calibrated in any way with the global surface-based thermometer record of temperature. They instead use their own on-board precision redundant platinum resistance thermometers calibrated to a laboratory reference standard before launch.

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76 thoughts on “Feb UAH global temperature anomaly goes slightly negative

  1. can we have (or is theresomewhere) a direct comparison graph – equally scaled – with all (i.e, GISS, HAdcrut, CET, etc) the major various surface station datasets? and possibly also the SST data?
    It would be interesting to note if the satellite data reflects/mirrors any of these datasets…..

  2. I was expecting a plunge at least comparable with 2008 and 1999. In fact from the fanfare preceeding it, I was expecting at to be a real decent dip down comparable with the 1990’s. Seems to be shaping up as a damp squib.

  3. It will be interesting to see how this year responds. La Nina may or may not fade and the North Atlantic is cooling. Curious weather ahead.

  4. Whoopeee! Ever recovered one of the ” on-board precision redundant platinum resistance thermometers calibrated to a laboratory reference standard before launch” to see what it is like after being exposed to the space (and launch) environment for a while? Along with the rest of the electronics? Oh right, after nearly 9 years on orbit without a lab recalibration this data can give you an anomaly to less than 1/100th of a degree?

    I wouldn’t guarantee any electronic package to be that good even though I have a nice thermostated pressure sensor I built in 1990 which appears to be within 0.5Hpa after 20 years and ~150,000 hours of operation.

  5. Is it me? Can I detect a correlation to temperature, & potentially sunspot activity, & financial/economic conditions in the west. I can certainly see something for the UK. . Late 1970s, economic hardship & financial disaster. Early 1980s, recession. Early 1990s, recession. Early 2010s upwards, recession? Perhaps not, but perhaps! William Herschel allegedly did win bets on the price of wheat by watching Sunspot numbers! Then again it was probably all that latent heat waiting in the wings with ever increasing levels of CO2. :-)) sarc!

  6. Presumably this pattern of getting colder is exactly what the models predicted as a result of global warming?

    Will the climate cavalry, including Gore, Hansen, Foster, Romm, Clark, Mashey, Lambert etc ride to the rescue, or just start shooting at each other again?

  7. What interests me is why the figures fluctuate so much (or should that be so little).

    It looks like more than noise, but is this indicating that the total global heat content of the air changes all the time?

    If so why?

  8. If I may ask two honest questions of AGW proponents. These questions are not meant to imply that the AGW theory is wrong, but to assess whether the anomaly measurements can be used to shift perceptions.

    For how long would the UAH anomaly need to be at or below zero for you to accept that the AGW theory is incorrect?

    How low would the UAH anomaly need to be for you to accept that the AGW theory is incorrect?

    It may be futile to consider only a single measurement, but I hope the sentiment is clear. For me, to see UAH go to -0.5C would suggest that there is no overall trend, and I’d be more set against the AGW theory.

    Thanks,
    D O’L.

  9. I suppose two trillion dollar questions are;

    a) Will it continue to drop, and

    b) Will it go as low as the 1999/2000 reference?

  10. Dr. Ryan N. Maue’s site, which charts the day to day variations, is pretty interesting, though he doesn’t have time to update it every day:

    Before I saw this graph I had no idea temperatures varied so much, over short periods of time. Last November’s crash is especially interesting.

    Another neat site is the NCEP Gfs 2m Raw Temperature anomalies map. The present tense map, (before they run the model,) has the present tense anomalies in red letters just to the upper right of the map. This one seems to read a bit low, but it gives you a general idea of what the world temperatures are doing, before UAH or RSS come out with any figures.

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/raw_temp_c.html#picture

    [ryanmaue: thanks for the plug, i have time to update it now ;-) ]

  11. Didn’t Bastardi predict this some time ago?

    What did the climate models predict for this month or year, say ten years ago? What were the models saying twenty years ago for last month? Thirty years ago?

    What did Dr. Hansen say back in 1988?

    Just trying to keep track of various predictive agents.

  12. 1998 is such an outlier (recognizing that it is only 30 years of data) and the ramp up is so great, might there not be another source for this exceptional spike? I read something about a suspected gamma ray burst about a year ago but nothing since. Any information on this hypothesis or other suggestions why ’98 was such a large change in less than a year?

    Bill

  13. I was hoping to see the February temperature cool more. Whilst I dislike the cool, I would like to see a prolonged period of cooling to help bring the politians to their senses.

    The lack of cooling suggests that the present La Nina is or has bottomed out and that it is not as strong as the 1999 equivalent. The SH should now be cooling and it will be interesting to see how the NH bounces back from a cold and snowy winter.

    It will also be interesting to see whether the anomaly climbs back up to and hovers around the 0.2C level (ie., around the 2001/7 average). If we are in for a cooler period as many predict then the anomaly ought not to rise much above the 0.2C level. However, I recall reading that it was particularly cloudless in the Indian and Pacific oceans for some time and this will have resulted in quite some replenishment of ocean heat content. If this is so, then this will drive up temperatures.

    I for one would like Anthony to post the sea temperature data at the same time as he posts the global temperature anomaly since one needs to keep both of these in mind when trying to assess the situation.

    This year will be interesting!

  14. As the satellite also measures water content of the atmosphere, is there any planned effort to calculate the atmospheric enthalpy and thus its actual heat content, rather than a relatively meaningless temperature metric?

  15. Well I must have confused AMSU data with this lower troposphere data ? because AMSU does not show -0.02C more like -0.13 to 0.18C. see for yourselves…

  16. Could someone please explain how the PRTs are used in the derivation of a temperature value for the lower troposphere from detected microwaves?

    Or, indeed, how the temperature values are derived at all?

  17. So 2011 is shaping up to be the warmest on record – at least this is the spin we can expect the alarmists to put on these figures, either that or a deafening silence.

    Completely off topic, Britain’s Daily Telegraph carried the following story yesterday:

    “The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end, the head of Britain’s power network said yesterday.

    Families would have to get used to only using power, when it was available, rather than constantly, said Steve Holliday, chief executive of the National Grid.

    Mr Holliday was challenged over how the country would “keep the lights on” when it relied more on wind farms…………………

    Mr Holliday told Radio 4’s Today program that people would have to “change their behaviour. The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030…………………We are going to change our behaviour and consume electricity when it is available and available cheaply.”

    Planned ‘brownouts and blackouts’ in the future is now the official policy of the goofball politicians who ‘run’ the UK. This is the worst insanity I have ever witnessed from those forcing us to use ever increasing amounts of expensive, unreliable, green energy.

    Anthony, my apologies – I am not smart enough to put this into your tips section.

    [ You just read “tips” like any other topic and make the comment at the bottom. -ModE ]

  18. Jay Currie says:
    March 3, 2011 at 12:05 am
    Cool.

    In more ways than one.

    Thanks for the update

    Cool?? In what way? Despite a strong La Nina, deep solar minimum and negative PDO (or is it?) LT temperatures have only dropped to the average for the 1981-2010 period. Current temperatures are still above most of those recorded in the 1980s and 1990s – and only slightly down on temperatures recorded during the peak of the 1986/87 El Nino .

    Unless there is another dip in temperatures this looks like being the warmest La Nina on record.

  19. The temp may go up a little in March, or stay about the same again, but I expect it is likely to then continue down until June, to about -0.2 to -0.4 °C. If the ocean oscillations crowd is right, the trend over the next 10 years should be around a baseline of 0.1 °C, varying by only about -0.01 °C per year (invisible to the eye from year to year).

    The AGW believers and luke-warmers are trying to negotiate a bailout for the credibility of climate science, but serious consideration should be given to the view that anyone still promulgating the current AGW consensus (or the “greenhouse effect”, or radiation transfer theory as currently applied in climate science) should be thrown out as incompetent. Let the bad science fail, don’t bail it out.

  20. “Since 1979, NOAA satellites have been carrying instruments which measure the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere. The signals that these microwave radiometers measure at different microwave frequencies are directly proportional to the temperature of different, deep layers of the atmosphere.”

    So 20% of the atmosphere, oxygen, does infact radiate based on its temperature.
    I assume this must go up and down and effect the surface. : ).
    Now what about N2.

  21. John Flynn

    Since we are at the top of a 60 year sine wave the temperature for 2011 will be noticeably cooler than 2010. This cooling trend will continue until 2030 or so and by that time CAGW will be dead.

    The temperature since records began can be explained very well by a 1/2 ° C per century ramp and a 60 year sine wave. Since we are at the top of the sine wave the chicken littles are worried but as it cools the sinusoidal nature will be obvious to everyone.

    The low part of the last cycle was 1978 when the earth is cooling articles were written. The high part was in 1998 [approx] when the Kyoto Protocol was signed.

    This is the third repetition of the cycle since records began. You would think the CAGW crowd would see the obvious wouldn’t you?

    Here is a peer reviewed paper which explains it better than I can.

    http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/pdf/two_natural_components_recent_climate_change.pdf

  22. SO whatever weather-like happens now can not be related to “global warming”, since the planet is as warm/or cool as in 1980. Or..?

  23. So 32 years of SUV’s, BBQ’s, Coal Fired Electricity and all the Warmistas have to show for it is a 0.02 drop in global temperature?

    They obviously didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

  24. Kev-in-Uk says:
    March 3, 2011 at 12:25 am

    can we have (or is theresomewhere) a direct comparison graph – equally scaled – with all (i.e, GISS, HAdcrut, CET, etc) the major various surface station datasets? and possibly also the SST data?
    It would be interesting to note if the satellite data reflects/mirrors any of these datasets…..

    http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateReflections.htm#20080927:%20Reflections%20on%20the%20correlation%20between%20global%20temperature%20and%20atmospheric%20CO2

  25. In reply to Dermot O’Logical’s questions above.

    The UAH anomaly being at or just below zero does not indicate a cooling trend over any period longer than the last few months. The overall trend of the UAH temperature record (since Dec 1978) is still decidedly upward. It was +0.140C/decade (with standard error of about 0.01) in January and it fell to +0.139C/decade in February. If next month’s figure is -0.5C, that would simply reduce the overall upward trend to +0.136C/decade.

    If the anomaly fell to -0.5C and stayed there until September 2014, then the overall trend since 1978 would become statistically insignificant (although still upward). At that point, I’d certainly be having some serious doubts about whether the world is actually in a warming trend.

    It is often said that there has been no warming since 1998. But the trend in UAH data since January 1998 is still positive (albeit not statistically distinguishable from zero). To get a statistically significant negative trend from 1998, the anomaly would have to remain at or below its current level until early 2014, or would have to fall to -0.5 and stay there or below for the rest of this year. Again, if either of those things were to happen (without a massive volcanic event), then I’d start to seriously doubt that the earth is in a warming trend.

    But for now, any rational investigation of the available data is going to conclude that the earth is warming. There’s nothing in UAH or any other data set that suggests otherwise.

  26. ****
    John Finn says:
    March 3, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Cool?? In what way? Despite a strong La Nina, deep solar minimum and negative PDO (or is it?) LT temperatures have only dropped to the average for the 1981-2010 period.
    ****

    “Deep solar minimum” has no effect, in my & some others’ opinions. IMO, Atlantic & Arctic oscillations do, and they’re not in their coldest modes by any means.

  27. Not having a higher resolution graph to view, it looks like the highest temps each year are in the 1st Quarter of the year and the lowest in the 2nd or 3rd Quarter of the year.

    Are the Southern hemisphere or Equitorial temperatures weighted or over-sampled?

    With this year’s 1st Quarter being more the 0.5 cooler then last years 1st Quarter, it is clear that the La Nina has an effect on global averages.

  28. Nigel Harris,
    I think you made a typo in your final paragraph.
    In the penultimate paragraph you say that the trend over the last 13 years is not statistically distinguishable from zero.
    The statement in the final paragraph should therefore be:
    “any rational investigation of the available data is going to conclude that the earth is not warming”.

  29. netdr2 says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:48 am
    John Flynn

    It’s Finn actually but we’ll let that pass.

    Since we are at the top of a 60 year sine wave the temperature for 2011 will be noticeably cooler than 2010. This cooling trend will continue until 2030 or so and by that time CAGW will be dead.

    Are you prepared to bet on that. Exactly the same things were being said in 2008/2009 during and after the last La Nina.

    The temperature since records began can be explained very well by a 1/2 ° C per century ramp and a 60 year sine wave. Since we are at the top of the sine wave the chicken littles are worried but as it cools the sinusoidal nature will be obvious to everyone.

    Can it? There might be oscillatory factors at play but the underlying trend cannot be easily explained. It certainly cna’t be explained by Akasofu who without any justification (or data) whatsoever assumes the 19th century trend was the same as the 20th century trend. Long term records suggest that the 19th century temperature trends were essentially flat.

    The low part of the last cycle was 1978 when the earth is cooling articles were written. The high part was in 1998 [approx] when the Kyoto Protocol was signed.

    So there should have been cooling since 1998. There hasn’t been. It should also be noted that you chose the anomalously warm year of 1998 as the ‘peak’. However, the years immediately before 1998 were much cooler than those between 2001-2010.

    This is the third repetition of the cycle since records began. You would think the CAGW crowd would see the obvious wouldn’t you?

    I don’t know about the CAGW crowd, but I am familiar with the pattern of 20th century temperatures. I am also familiar with the CET record, the Uppsala record, the Armagh record and several other long term regional records. I fully expect decadal (and possibly longer) pauses in warming but there is no evidence of significant cooling.

  30. And in reply to Nigel Harris (as pointed out previously in this comment thread) this rise in global temperatures is the same as has been seen three times over the past 150 years or so and so does not signify anything other than natural variation.

    Very few people argue that the “global mean temperature” has NOT increased since 1978, the issue is whether humans have anything to do with it. I hesitate to suggest what CAGW proponents really would treat as evidence they were wrong, but suggesting three very cold years (to bring down the average precipitously) is ignoring the approximately 30 year cycles we have been seeing for the past century and a half.

    Sadly, I doubt even the three years you suggest would do very much for most CAGW proponents.

  31. Ok so it seems that readjustment of ch 5 AMSU satellite data at the end of the month gives -0.02C. I will accept anything Roy Spencer says or does, concerning climate, period.

  32. This article answers a question for those still confused about how O2 and N2 can absorb/emit energy, yet accomplish this without absorbing/emitting in the thermal IR spectrum. How would an individual O2 or N2 molecule cool off in a vacuum, if not by emitting photons in the thermal IR spectrum?

    The article specifies that the satellites detect the temperature of O2 by taking readings in the microwave spectrum. Thus, O2 absorbs/emits in the microwave spectrum (which is directly adjacent to the thermal IR spectrum). It’s too bad that this wasn’t easily available with a Google search of “O2 absorption spectrum”. But if you change that to “O2 microwave absorption” you’ll get plenty of hits. As for N2, the only article I could find is behind a paywall. Radio band energy emission?

    The physical chemists are right. A black body is an imaginary, ideal surface that can absorb/emit any wavelength. Individual atoms can only absorb/emit in specific quanta. The larger the variety of atoms in your object, the more it will approximate a black body. The more your object is composed of a single lighter element, the less it will approximate a black body (fewer orbiting electrons equals fewer possibilities in energy level changes).

  33. Thanks for the update Dr. Spencer,
    Btw, NASA did a great job with the new 3D presentation of satellite data. Its a shame data isn’t available for many of the satellites but I’m guessing it will be at some point.

    There appears to be a mistake on the website pages:
    http://climate.nasa.gov/ indicates 3.27mm sea level rise/year
    http://climate.nasa.gov/Eyes/ indicates 3.27mm sea level rise since 1992

    Based on other sites that record sea level data — 3.27mm sea level rise since 1992 is likely to be the correct value but as the 3D satellite presentation ( http://climate.nasa.gov/Eyes/ ) clearly shows, it relative to the region, time of year, etc.

    I hope NASA gets funding to extend the 3D data modeling for the public, what a fantastic educational tool and I can’t wait to see overlays of various satellite data sets.

  34. I’m not sure what is the significance of a global temperature record of only 30 year duration. Even if 2011 turns out to be the hottest on record, the record is only 30 years long, it is not relevent. Planning to alter our entire global economy due to a 30 year trend is like changing our economy based on the stock market trend during the final .1 seconds before the closing bell rings. Three decades in earth years does not a trend make.

  35. ***
    Nigel Harris says:
    March 3, 2011 at 6:33 am
    In reply to Dermot O’Logical’s questions above.

    ***

    Thanks Nigel – I understand the point that a single month at -0.5C does not ‘stop’ the trend.

    Would it be valid to interpret your position as “if the anomaly is statistically zero from 1978 to the present day, then we are not in a warming world, let alone a man-made-warming world” ?

    Anyone else?

  36. To someone who was there, 2010-2011 looks very much like 1975-1976. Most of February was warm in 1976. However, 1976 was the beginning of remarkably cold weather in most of the nation but especially in the midwest. In fact, 1977 through 1982 were the stuff of nightmare in the midwest. That is what I expect for the next five years.

  37. In response to an earlier comment, deep solar minimum certainly does have an effect as does the strong La Nina. Given two marked ‘negative’ forcings the global temperatures have remained remarkably high. I wonder what other forcing might be at work here?

  38. John Finn said:
    “So there should have been cooling since 1998. There hasn’t been. It should also be noted that you chose the anomalously warm year of 1998 as the ‘peak’. However, the years immediately before 1998 were much cooler than those between 2001-2010. ”
    I think we can agree that temps have been flat since 1998. The big question now is whether solar forcing is starting to show up. Although the latest thinking is that it is only a .25 watt/sqmtr compared to 1 watt/sqmtr from ghg forcing we shall now see as we continue with the obviously low cycle 24 and the decline in solar wind as measured by the Ulysses satellite. The Altai glacier solar proxy/temperature reconstruction shows a twenty year lag between group sunspot number and temperature change in the atmosphere as preserved in the ice core. This is probably due to the thermal lag of the ocean and the integrative affect of the change in the solar parameters. Therefore a temperature decrease due to solar forcing should start to show up now. The jury is out, it will be fun to watch.

    http://lch.web.psi.ch/files/Publikationen/analytic/Eichleretal_GRL2009.pdf

  39. Juraj V. says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:48 am
    SO whatever weather-like happens now can not be related to “global warming”, since the planet is as warm/or cool as in 1980. Or..?
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Whilst this point is rather simplistic, whenever any one suggests to me that recent ‘extreme’ events are caused by global warming, this is the response that I give them. It is crazy to suggest that a warming of a few tenths of a degree C can have caused so called recent extrem events.

  40. @ beng says:
    March 3, 2011 at 6:40 am
    ““Deep solar minimum” has no effect”

    Cold N.H. winters are more likely at solar minimums with more rather than less sunspots. This last minimum was an exception to that, and had very low solar wind speeds occurring at times over the last 2 winters, partly due to a less coronal holes.
    The most common time for cold months is around solar cycle maximum.

  41. Nigel Harris says:
    March 3, 2011 at 6:33 am
    “….But for now, any rational investigation of the available data is going to conclude that the earth is warming. There’s nothing in UAH or any other data set that suggests otherwise.”
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    The interpretation of the graph is inherently subjective. However, my view of the graph is that if I were to draw a line through the graph, I would in fact draw two flat lenes, the first at about -0.16C level covering the period between 1979 and 1996 and a second flat line at about + 0.2C level covering the period between 2001 to date.

    During these periods there does not appear to have been any statistical warming. There appears to have been a step change around the 1998 El Nino which released a lot of energy (heat) into the atmosphere.

  42. Beng

    I think you mean that you and others are hoping that there is no correlation between Solar Minimums and colder temperatures. We certainly cannot rely on the junk data from NASA GISS.

  43. Skeptics that are looking for a fast falling trend are probably going to be disappointed. Remember, the general skeptical view is a slight warming of .5-1C per doubling of CO2. So, a flat trend over many years should be in keeping with that view while it does not support the alarmist view.

    The current state of around .2C increase in 30 years is right in line with the skeptical view. Yes, it will warm and for the most part it will be beneficial. If it really starts to cool then it means the no one is even close to understanding the situation.

  44. COLA is showing pretty massive cooling in all continents (except Africa). This does not concurr with previous AMSU satellite data ie 2008 (probably sea temps are up?)
    http://wxmaps.org/pix/clim.html click on temps for each comntinent/ This is why I question current AMSU data

  45. Kev-in-Uk says:
    March 3, 2011 at 12:25 am
    can we have (or is theresomewhere) a direct comparison graph

    Kev,

    Try
    http://www.climate4you.com

    Go to global temperature (left bar),
    then ‘recent land temperatures’,
    then scroll down until you get the comparative graphs for UAH,RSS, HadCRUt, NCDC and GISS, all with the same starting points.

    Its a very informative site, and all original sources are cited…

    AB

  46. John Finn says:
    March 3, 2011 at 4:49 am
    “…and only slightly down on temperatures recorded during the peak of the 1986/87 El Nino . ”

    You have forgotten the cooling of that time. In 1982 El Chichon in Mexico put up even more ash than Pinatubo did in 1991. Check out this graph of Mauna Loa data at:

    In essence, the 1986/87 is bracketed by two major volcanic cooling events. Is it any wonder that world temperatures of that time were a bit subdued?

    What do you think current temperatures would look like, if they were bracketed by volcanoes like El Chichon and Pinatubo?

  47. Bon from the UK said

    “I was expecting a plunge at least comparable with 2008 and 1999. In fact from the fanfare preceeding it, I was expecting at to be a real decent dip down comparable with the 1990′s. Seems to be shaping up as a damp squib.”

    If you look at the data for 1999 there were months where temps bumped up before falling lower.

    I dont know what will happen from here but I would NOT be amazed if it had a fall in March. Even if la-nina ends the subsequent warming has some lag of a few months..

    My looking at the ocean ref page and the ENSO ref page ocean profiles makes me think La nina is about to weaken but again I am no expert so what would I know, I could be completely wrong.

  48. John Finn says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:25 am

    netdr2 says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Since we are at the top of a 60 year sine wave the temperature for 2011 will be noticeably cooler than 2010. This cooling trend will continue until 2030 or so and by that time CAGW will be dead.

    Are you prepared to bet on that. Exactly the same things were being said in 2008/2009 during and after the last La Nina.

    There’s a site for that (betting on climate): https://www.intrade.com/v4/home/

  49. Caleb says:
    March 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm
    John Finn says:
    March 3, 2011 at 4:49 am
    “…and only slightly down on temperatures recorded during the peak of the 1986/87 El Nino . ”

    You have forgotten the cooling of that time. In 1982 El Chichon in Mexico put up even more ash than Pinatubo did in 1991. Check out this graph of Mauna Loa data at:

    In essence, the 1986/87 is bracketed by two major volcanic cooling events. Is it any wonder that world temperatures of that time were a bit subdued?

    What do you think current temperatures would look like, if they were bracketed by volcanoes like El Chichon and Pinatubo?

    1. El Chichon was in 1982. El Nino was in 1986/87. Stratospheric aerosols cleared long before then as your Mauna Loa link shows.
    2. Pinatubo cannot possibly have had any effect on global temperatures in 1986/87.

  50. La Nina is continues in the Pacific, though weakening. So temperature will continue to go further negative.

  51. Realizing this is only 31 years of data, but there is an obvious step change around late ’97/early ’98. Eye balling the period of ’79-’97 and you get an apparent mean of -0.15 (my best guess). Now look at the ’98-‘2010 data and I see a mean of +0.22, a step change of +0.37 approx.

    Step changes indicate that an additional input occurred, not the gradual warming projected by the AGW camp. This happened in the second half of Solar Cycle 23, which was the biggest of three close together and intense Solar Cycles. We saw the PDO go negative in ’02 and the AMO is supposedly swinging to negative now. These should have resulted in more cooling than are seeing in the satellite data, even accounting for the thermal lag from Earth’s oceans. I believe that some external source of energy other than our Sun’s raised the mean temp of the Earth and is finally gradually dissipating. Any comments, ideas or suggestions as to the source of this step change? Again, a gamma ray burst might be the cause.

    Bill

  52. richard verney says: “There appears to have been a step change around the 1998 El Nino which released a lot of energy (heat) into the atmosphere.”

    The warm water released from the Pacific Warm Pool during the 1997/98 El Nino was also redistributed throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, keep in mind that the surface warming outside of the tropical Pacific during an El Nino is the result of teleconnections (changes in atmospheric circulation) and not the direct transfer of heat.

  53. ****
    Sunspot says:
    March 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Beng

    I think you mean that you and others are hoping that there is no correlation between Solar Minimums and colder temperatures. We certainly cannot rely on the junk data from NASA GISS.
    ****

    No, I’m not hoping anything, just what I observe from Leif S’s very extensive & detailed work on this subject. I’ll agree that it isn’t settled yet.

  54. Richard Varney

    My apology, I missed your post.

    You and I came to the same conclusion. I doubt this step change was due to the El Nino, because the Earth’s mean temp has not reacted as strongly in the negative direction after the ’98 El Nino as it has done in the past. We definitely see a step change in the satellite data around ’98, and are only now seeing that excess energy dissipate!

    Bill

  55. To those who have posted links to my initial query – thank you. I have added them to be viewed more thoroughly later.

  56. Maybe it’s not been noticed but Mike Borgelt asked what I think is a very pertinent question in his comment above, concerning the reliability of the instrument in question. Perhaps Roy S or John C could find some time to answer it — I think a number of visitors here are wondering the same thing.

    This is one thing I appreciate about WUWT versus the alarmist sites: critical thinking and skepticism from all directions is considered health, encouraged, and openly discussed. And enough knowledgeable folks — like Mike himself — visit here with expertise that raises the bar for discussion of such subjects.

  57. Beng

    I didn’t mean to offend. All hell will break loose if there is any correlation and subsequently the penny drops that we cannot control climate. It’s early days yet and there are very interesting times ahead in the solar department. Current SC24 has shattered the dreams of many a high profile Solar Physicists. I know Leif said that SC 25 will be a big one but my theory is SC25 will be a dud and if it is it will be a real test of any climate correlation.

  58. RE: John Finn says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm
    “1. El Chichon was in 1982. El Nino was in 1986/87. Stratospheric aerosols cleared long before then as your Mauna Loa link shows.
    2. Pinatubo cannot possibly have had any effect on global temperatures in 1986/87.”

    Remarkable. Truly remarkable.

    May I remind you that you are the one who brought up the subject of “cooling events.” You are the one who suggested current “cooling events” should have dropped world temperatures lower than minus .02, and therefore current cooling actually proves how warm it is.

    However current “cooling events” involve things such as the “quiet sun,” which many dispute has any effect at all.

    Then I bring up the subject of the two biggest “cooling events” of the past hundred years, which everyone knows did have an effect.

    And you say they had no effect.

    Remarkable. Truly remarkable.

  59. “Dermot O’Logical says:
    March 3, 2011 at 2:50 am

    If I may ask two honest questions of AGW proponents.

    For how long would the UAH anomaly need to be at or below zero for you to accept that the AGW theory is incorrect?

    How low would the UAH anomaly need to be for you to accept that the AGW theory is incorrect?”

    I am not an AGW proponent, but talked to one about a year ago. We discussed Phil Jones’ answers from the February, 2010 interview regarding the past 8 years (cooling by 0.12 C per decade) and the past 15 years (warming by 0.12 C per decade). He said he did not pay much attention to anything 8 years or less but 15 years was somewhat significant. He was also extremely upset with newspapers simply giving the headline “No warming for 15 years” without mentioning the other detail about the significance.

    So in terms of the questions raised above, I would say the questions need to be modified slightly to read as follows: If the UAH anomaly averages 0 until the end of October, 2011, would it be the case that one could say that the significance level of warming over the last 15 years is less than 50%, or that the significance level of no change over the last 15 years is more than 50%? (As you may guess, I chose October since that is just before the next big conference in South Africa.) I know the experts at WUWT can wordsmith my questions much better. I do have one question of the statistics experts here. If an average of 0 over the next 8 months does not allow that statement to be made, what would the average anomaly have to be over the next 8 months so we can say there is less than a 50% chance of warming over the last 15 years?

  60. Caleb says:
    March 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I’m not sure what your point is. I commented that current LT temperatures – during a La Nina AND a weak solar cycle – were only slightly lower than LT temperatures during the 1986/87 El Nino when the sun was particularly active. Now we know that ENSO events (El Nino/La Nina) can affect global temperatures by up to 0.5 deg. This suggests

    1. Solar activity is a bit part player in climate change. This is something we know already since the sun’s output does not change sufficiently to explain the changes.
    2. Some other factor apart from the known factors such as ENSO is causing warming.

    You mentioned that Pinatubo and El Chichon may be a factor in the lower 1986/87 temperatures. I responded by saying that stratospheric aerosols had cleared by the mid-1980s and that Pinatubo could no possibley have affected the 1986/87 temepratures. Perhaps you think it could. You might not be alone here. After all, a number of people seem to think that a solar cycle which didn’t get underway until 1964 was responsible for post-1940 cooling.

    That, like your suggestion that the 1991 Pinatubo eruption somehow caused coolings ~5 year earlier, would be “remarkable”.

    [Change your tone – lose the sarcasm – or your next comment will be snipped. The other commenter may be in error, but you can at least be more civil ~jove, mod]

  61. John Finn,

    Hope you read this, though it has slipped off the bottom of the home page.

    Your tone does not bother me. I understand I must exasperate you, especially by seeing an event which occurred 1986/87 as having any connection to an event which didn’t even happen until 1991. How could cooling which didn’t happen until 1991 have any effect on 1986?

    OK. I’ll concede that point, just for the moment, to calm you down. This still doesn’t erace the cooling from El Chichon. Although El Chichon’s ash may have been washed from the atmosphere by 1986/87, the cooling it caused is still somewhere in the system. It may be “down stream,” but it still exists.

    Now let me un-concede the point about 1991 effecting 1986/87, just for the fun of making you adopt my over-view, rather than being stuck in the present tense.

    You state, “2. Pinatubo cannot possibly have had any effect on global temperatures in 1986/87.”

    That would seem a logical statement, but apply it to other events in nature and it becomes less than logical.

    For example, my goats start to grow thicker coats before the weather gets cool. Using your logic the fact they grow thicker coats in August has nothing to do with weather cooling in September. In the same manner, before a minor earthquake in New Hampshire, which was barely felt, my goats became restless and made a lot of noise. Your logic states there is no way they could have sensed the earthquake before it happened.

    Does the climate system contain anything that could have sensed Pinatubo before it happened? Hmmm. How about plankton? Plankton may not have a brain, or computers, but it has been around for eons, and may have natural responces to factors we are blithely unaware of. And when plankton vents, the climate listens. (Not just when it vents CO2, either; bromine and clorine effect the ozone layer.)

    It seems fairly obvious “something” was going on that led to a couple of big volcanic eruptions. You can perhaps dismiss the “something” as sheer coincidence. And you may be right. On the other hand, you may be wrong.

    Just for the fun of driving you bonkers, I will play the devil and suggest your logic is limited. You are sticking Pinatubo in a little compartment, relegating it to 1991, and in doing so you are inadvertantly stating nothing that occurred in 1986/87 had anything to do with setting Pinatubo off in 1991. You are denying cause and effect, and stating Pinatubo occurred without reason.

    Another view would be that “something” was occurring between 1980 and 1991 that caused two huge volcanoes to pop off. That “something,” whatever it was, likely had effects on other aspects of climate, ranging from plankton, to methane-produced-by-my-goats, to world temperatures. Signs of that “something” would be all over the place, like clues strewn about for a detective to find.

    You view data like an ant walking along the clothesline of world temperatures. El Chichon is like a heavy, wet pair of pants hung on the clothes line, dipping it down right on top of you, but Pinatubo hasn’t happened yet, so you keep crawling along the clothesline, unaware of what you are in the middle of, until 1991, when POW! The second pair of pants hits you.

    I stand back and see the two eruptions hanging there on the clothesline, bracketing the 1986/87 El Nino, and I think about what I am seeing in a manner very different from you.

    Note to Moderator: I have a thick skin. Don’t worry if Mr. Finn is now very rude to me. After all, I’m asking for it.

    [Thanks, but the point is to raise the standard of politeness; somedays I’d have let it go, but feeling zero-tolerant today, ~jove, mod]

  62. Bear in mind that Dr Spencer recently moved the anomaly ‘zero reference’ up by about 0.1C
    – the anomaly used to reference to the average for 1979 – 2000, and now it’s referenced to the 1970 – 2010 average.
    – and since the temperature of the period 2000 – 2010 were generally higher than peceding 20 years, this (re-calibrating the anomaly zero reference) has had the effect of bringing all the anomalies down by 0.1C

    – so, if Dr Spencer had still been using the zero point he was using last year, then last month’s anomoly would have would have been about +0.1C.
    – and so the headline wouldn’t have been quite so eye-catching.

  63. Can I just add this correction…
    – the anomaly used to reference to the average for 1979 – 2000, and now it’s referenced to the 1979 – 2010 average.

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