What in the world is going on with global temperatures?

Multiple indicators show global temperatures headed down this month, and fast.

by Joe D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

As shown above (see the datapoint in the square box), the UAH AMSU daily temperatures are the coldest for the globe at 600mb of all the years tracked since 2002 (warmest 2010, previously coldest 2009).

The new Dr. Ryan Maue reanalysis based global temperature anomalies has declined dramatically this month – almost a full degree Celsius!

Forecasts for temperature 8 days in advance are appended to the reanalysis values.

Is this a reflection of the stratospheric warming pushing the cold to middle latitudes?

The cross section suggests that initial warm burst has ended. Often they repeat as the cold reloads and dumps again.

The 10mb warmth has only backed off slightly.

Notice at the north pole how temperatures warmed 50C (90F) at 10mb.

See how the warmth at the top has spread north then east then west.

Some lowering of the cold as warmth above presses down.

Meanwhile much of the lower 48 and western Europe is having a mild winter in contrast to recent years. It may end up among the coldest ever in Alaska. With a recent heat wave that I am sure Gerald Meehl at NOAA/NCAR is looking at  where temperatures in Fairbanks rose to a balmy -3 (warmest this month), the average monthly temperature is an amazing 16.5F below normal. In Anchroage it has been about 13F below normal with double the normal snowfall.

The Alaska temperatures follow with the PDO. A cold PDO (with cold water offshore) means colder than normal, a warm PDO warmer than normal.  Any surprise warming was observed as we moved from the La Nina rich cold PDO before 1977 to the El Ninos and +PDO in the 1980s and 1990s (attributed the CO2 of course). Any surprise with a negative 2 STD PDO and La Ninas, it is brutally cold again.

How will all of this play out in February and March???

BTW, instead of taking a PR cruise to Antarctica during their late summer to see melting ice maybe Hansen, Gore and Trenberth should go to Alaska in mid winter to see their fairy tale collapse as they freeze their tails.

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70 thoughts on “What in the world is going on with global temperatures?

  1. Excellant article. One minor point the coldest prior temperature looks to me to be 2008 not 2009. Its easy to get the colors mixed up form time to time.

  2. I think you’ll find the coldest previously recorded temp since 2002, was 2008.
    Otherwise, spot on!

    But, does it really have to have a meaning?

  3. The “average global temperature” may be falling, but my area of North Carolina didn’t get the memo. So far this winter we’ve only had about 4 days of barely-below-freezing weather. Lately, it’s been T-shirt weather during the day and high forties at night. I still have collards, kale, chard, and cabbage growing in my garden. Whatever is going on, I love it!

  4. How about Joe’s comments on the repeated Warmista meme
    that recent years have been among the very warmest on record?
    Since theire records are ‘adjusted’,
    how does their claim stack up against actual temperatures?

  5. Larry Hamlin –

    You beat me off the mark by precisely zero minutes…
    Are you a friend of the proprietor? :)

  6. Here in Christchurch NZ we have had a cool summer up to 0.7c cooler than normal.
    Todays min air temp of 4c and CLOUDY at this time of year is most likely not heard of.

  7. with regards to:
    “north pole how temperatures warmed 50C ”

    Please alert Kevin, we have found his missing heat….

  8. “The new Dr. Ryan Maue reanalysis based global temperature anomalies has declined dramatically this month – almost a full degree Celsius!”

    Isn’t this just an indication that it’s a noisy system?

  9. @Matt,

    The animation is showing temps at the 10mb height level (Ie….the very upper level of our atmosphere). The warming at this level near the North Pole usually translates into cooling at the surface.

  10. At higher altitudes, the Aqua satellite is already showing a slight temperature increase, despite being at minimums for this part of the year.

    Ecotretas

  11. Looks like they’ll have to make some changes to their climate models to prove how global cooling is also anthropogenic. Shouldn’t take more than a minute.

  12. @Matt

    The temperature drops when you move up in the troposphere, but in the stratosphere the temperature rises untill you will reach the mesosphere there the cycle reverses again.

  13. Very timely post, Joe.

    60 years ago tomorrow:

    “The first continuous measurements of the stratosphere were taken by Richard Scherhag in 1951. He used radiosondes to take reliable temperature readings in the upper stratosphere (~40 km). It was his persistence which led him to witness the first ever observed stratospheric warming on the 27th of January 1952. ”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_stratospheric_warming

  14. Utilidades says:
    January 26, 2012 at 9:14 am
    Good and complete Information about climate

    ____
    Good, though incomplete information about weather would be more accurate.

  15. Joe,
    you spotted, that temps go down, but you are not the only one….
    GISS is therefore remodelling global temps in retrospect, as recently came to light, and the UEA-
    warmers have the new HadCRUT4 out, which converts global cooling into global warming…(!).
    They are the WARM SPOT CHASERS: As soon as one temporary warm spot appears on your map, they are going to install new measuring units in these places and dismantle an equal amount of them in cold places, as the 2005 conversion from HadCRUT2 to HadCRUT3, now to HadCRUT4…….
    …….with new warm spots coming globally up here and then, UEA-chasers are already on
    location, before you detect it, and busy installing and dismantelling new devices…..
    ……this way..HadCRUT/GISS will always show global warming, this year, hiding in the Arctic, tomorrow in the next location…they guarantee no cooling will come, no matter how cold you
    feel…..

  16. ‘Louise says:
    January 26, 2012 at 9:52 am
    declined dramatically this month – almost a full degree Celsius!”

    Isn’t this just an indication that it’s a noisy system?’

    Lol! It wouldn’t be ‘noise’ if it was inclining *up though would it Louise? You’d call it proof of your failed theory I suspect. So predictable.

  17. Take a closer look at the CDAS 10-hPa Temp Anoms-animation. The warmth pops up just outside the Japanese coast and then spreads to north then east and west. What caused this warm pop-up in mid December?

    • Go back to last years El-Nino, you see the warm waters flow along the equator, touching the Asian coast and continue up to Japan and further into the Bering street and under the Arctic ice….,
      “popping up in the air” and flying airborn north into the Arctic……
      it is clear, once this El Nino Ocean Heat is exhausted by ice melt, then the Arctic will
      go back colder to the level as before….
      Now, the HadCRUT-warmists quickly installed some new measuring stations, for upping
      the HadCRUT3 into HadCRUT4 proving Warming… but this won’t help for the time
      after, lets say 2013, once this El-Nino heat is exhausted….
      ……then they will dismantle again at the cold spot (no doubt, unless they will swear not to do so….unlikely) and shift the measuring devices to the next warm spot, which will come up.in the future……

  18. @Joachim Seifert

    “…They are the WARM SPOT CHASERS: As soon as one temporary warm spot appears on your map, they are going to install new measuring units in these places and dismantle an equal amount of them in cold places, as the 2005 conversion from HadCRUT2 to HadCRUT3, now to HadCRUT4…….”

    Great! That will really start to stress the divergence problem!

  19. “It wouldn’t be ‘noise’ if it was inclining *up though would it Louise?”

    Of course it would – any change over 1 month is noise, up or down. Nobody really suggests that a change over 1 month means anything at all surely?

  20. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:13 am
    Warming stratosphere over the poles at a time of quiet sun ?

    _______
    First, this isn’t a “time of quiet sun”…if you haven’t noticed, we’re headed toward a solar max in a little over a year or so. Second, while some expansion and heating of the stratosphere is occurring from solar activity levels increasing this past year, a large mass of warm air bubbled up from the troposphere into the stratosphere, and that’s what the video in this post is showing. Similar events have happened in the recent past, especially NH winters.

    I will be more interested to see how strong of an El Nino we get around the time of the actual Solar Max 24, as this extra forcing coming from two sources will give a boost to global temperatures and the best chance to set new instrument record global temperatures.

  21. Here in CA – False Spring will be followed by a world of hurt. It’s going to be a bad year for ag. This cold / dry stuff is horrible. I think the type year for this would be something like … 1976!

    Argh!

  22. While you blokes have been arguing the toss. I’ve put me money where me mouth is.

    Those dirty little coal stocks are ganna make me rich..

    Greenhouse? Suckers, youse live in a refrigerator.

  23. SteveSadlov says:
    January 26, 2012 at 11:38 am
    “Here in CA – False Spring will be followed by a world of hurt. It’s going to be a bad year for ag. This cold / dry stuff is horrible. I think the type year for this would be something like … 1976! Argh!”

    Spot on. We have seen False Springs before.

  24. “First, this isn’t a “time of quiet sun”…if you haven’t noticed, we’re headed toward a solar max in a little over a year or so.”

    So far it is a feeble solar max and you have to consider the trends on a multidecadal basis over several solar cycles .

    ” a large mass of warm air bubbled up from the troposphere into the stratosphere, ”

    Such bubbles have a more prominent effect if they occur at a time of warming stratosphere rather than at a time of cooling stratosphere such as the late 20th century.

  25. Louise says:
    January 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

    “It wouldn’t be ‘noise’ if it was inclining *up though would it Louise?”

    Of course it would – any change over 1 month is noise, up or down. Nobody really suggests that a change over 1 month means anything at all surely?
    Reply————————-
    The lunar declinational tides in the atmosphere on both the 27.32 and 13.6 day periods show up well in the graph posted by Ryan, Maximum North culmination on the 6th January, crossing the equator headed south on the 13th, maximum South on the 20th, crossing the equator headed North on the 26th, and maximum North on the 3rd of February, all show nice little troughs (when crossing the equator) and bumps while at maximum culmination with both primary and secondary tidal bulges nicely represented.

    It is nice to see so easily the pulses in the atmospheric cooling as the moon pumps heat off of the equator to the poles for release to space. Not all “noise” is insignificant.

  26. Dr Maue’s graph appears to be at 2 meters above ground level.

    I can’t follow, what stratospheric warming would explain that.

    The 1 month drop appears to be the largest for decades.

  27. Weather is the new climate?.. Now we’re looking at monthly averages to assess ever-changing climate it seems. And oh, don’t forget the ubiquitous reader’s comment about this cold snap or this heat wave in his own particular city, or county or even state if he sees big.

  28. When are they going to stop using those lousy map projections that make the polar regions look many times bigger and more important than they are in reality?

  29. R. Gates. First, this isn’t a “time of quiet sun”…if you haven’t noticed
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Real eyes realize real lies:

    in case you hadn’t noticed.

  30. R. Gates says:
    January 26, 2012 at 11:34 am
    Stephen Wilde says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:13 am
    Warming stratosphere over the poles at a time of quiet sun ?

    _______
    First, this isn’t a “time of quiet sun”…if you haven’t noticed, we’re headed toward a solar max in a little over a year or so.

    Are you saying the sun isn’t quiet right now or future activity is affecting the current temps?

  31. I still say that to predict climate long-term you need to look at long-term history. The best I have seen is the moving monthly mean trend rate based on 30 year intervals. Study the plot at the foot of my Home page* and you can see these key facts ….

    (1) The rate of increase was about 0.6 deg.C / decade for the 30 years ending Dec 1930

    (2) That rate of increase has now reduced to about 0.5 deg.C / decade for the last 30 years (see yellow trend line)

    Projecting the declining trend line would indicate …

    (a) The likely increase in temperatures by 2100 should be under 1 degree

    (b) A long term (~1000 year) maximum may be likely before 2200 when the trend line for the rate of increase passes through zero. (It may start to decline faster if it is cyclic.)

    These figures are based on sea surface temperatures which are a better indicator than any which weight land by about 30% because the oceans have about 15 times the thermal energy of the land and should be weighted accordingly. When will someone produce figures that weight land and sea surface in this sort of ratio?

    * http://climate-change-theory.com

  32. Joachim Seifert says:
    January 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    That’s what I was thinking but uncertain due to the timing of this phenomena. Does such transition of El Nino into a jet stream of warm air occur in the end of every El Nino-period and does it have a name?

  33. Correction: Sorry I left out a zero – those figures in (1) & (2) should be 0.06 deg.C/decade and in (2) 0.05 deg.C/decade. (Note that these are the figures for the trend line, not the actual rates. The trend effectively adjusts for the 60 year cycle.)

  34. Apparently the Arctic oscillation is set to dip negative for the first time this winter. Is there still time to get any serious snow at the western end of Europe? If not my daughters will be disappointed.

  35. R. Gates says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:49 am
    Utilidades says:
    January 26, 2012 at 9:14 am
    Good and complete Information about climate

    ____
    Good, though incomplete information about weather would be more accurate.
    ============
    Be nice to the newbies, they know not where they have entered.
    Good job.

  36. This is NOT about weather.

    The temperature decrease may be the largest since the little ice age and more than twice than any other decrease since 1960

    and at the same time the solar geomagnetic index falls in percent terms by the largest amount for decades (or ever ;) ).

    This puts Svensmark theory into the driver’s seat of climate science.

    Monthly temperature variation

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/derivative

    Ap Index since 2000

    Long Term Ap Index:

  37. Last year, the temp anomaly for Jan was -0.01. The avg temp this year for the first 24 days of Jan compared to last year is about 0.09 colder. I’m just averaging the daily figures from the level 05 graph at Dr. Spencer’s site. It’s about 0.1 warmer than 2008. Not that this will be the final figure, but it does give us a good idea what kind of anomaly we could expect. The free fall has ceased and temps are rising slightly. If that trend continues, I’d guess an anomaly of between -0.05 to -0.1 would be likely. If it stays around current levels, -0.1 to -0.15 would be likely. But the next couple months bear watching for sure. Could be large negative anomalies for those months if there is no real warming trend from the current level.

  38. I sure would have liked to obtained an air sample just above the water off the stern of the ice breaker that recently arrived in Nome ahead of the fuel tanker. I would liked to have known what the CO2 concentration was. I would also like to have had a sample of sea water for the same purpose and then compared those measurements to another sample set from say, Seattle, Long Beach, and/or Tampa.

  39. R. Gates says:
    January 26, 2012 at 11:34 am
    “I will be more interested to see how strong of an El Nino we get around the time of the actual Solar Max 24, as this extra forcing coming from two sources will give a boost to global temperatures and the best chance to set new instrument record global temperatures.”

    That can only be from one source as El Nino episodes are a response to a drop in solar activity. If we get an El Nino at solar cycle maximum it will be at the Ap drop that is typical at solar max.

  40. Can anyone tell me WHERE it’s cold? Because here in Charlotte, NC, we have a real chance of going 100% snowless without even a TRACE for the first time in the 133 year record.

  41. Meanwhile here in HK
    “Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Hongkongers shivered through the coldest Lunar New Year holiday in 16 years, with the mercury plunging to seven degrees Celsius in urban areas yesterday and going under three degrees in Ngong Ping on Lantau.
    The third day of the Year of the Water Dragon brought frost to high places in the Northern New Territories and a chilling 5.6 degrees outdoors for residents.

    The Hong Kong Observatory said it was the coldest Lunar New Year holiday since 1996 and that the cold snap will continue for a few days, though it will be slightly warmer at the weekend.

    Hong Kong Union Hospital said 13 people were admitted to its accident and emergency ward with hypothermia over the past two days.

    http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=11&art_id=119082&sid=35190873&con_type=3&d_str=20120126&fc=4

  42. The HadCrut3 data for December very recently appeared and it also confirms this slide lately. At 0.340, 2011 is only the 12th warmest on its record. Even 1997 beat 2011. You can get a very small but insignificant negative slope for 14 years and 10 months, back to March 1997. I do not expect January to be much different from December, so if that happens, the insignificant but negative slope will stretch back to 15 years on HadCrut3 once the January numbers are in. The December anomaly was 0.252. Naturally, this would not be expected to be the case for all of 2012, but if it were, then 2012 would be the 18th warmest on the HadCrut3 data set.

  43. See how the warmth at the top has spread north then east then west.

    Whoa. Have another look at that animation. Watch for an area of heat to exit the southern polar latitudes and reappear in the northern. That looks like it’s going through the magnetic axis to me.

  44. Here in Iceland the weather has been very unusual. November was rather warm, but December and January have been unusually cold. I think we have not seen as much snow in Reykjavik since about 1984.

  45. So where is that mid troposphere heat anomaly now? GHG’s are still rising, By natural means since we only inject 3% of the global CO2 production into the atmosphere.

  46. North America, generally, is warmer than normal this winter.

    Traditionally, a La Nina leaves a big cold swath from Alaska to Oregon to Minnesota. Right in the middle of that triangle is the normally the coldest.

    This winter, however, the circulation pattern is setting up so that Alaska is absorbing all of the cold and it is not building south. It is almost like Alaska has its own polar vortex and the rotation is sweeping warmer air from the Pacific across the middle of the continent. If one watches some of the longer animations, this is exactly what is happening.

    Just an example of how a La Nina, a stratospheric warming event (polar vortex breaks up into two or three smaller ones off of the pole – one in Alaska in this case – the other over Asia) can lead to general weather conditions over a season.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30a.rnl.html

  47. Are we moving towards geological pole shift???We are definitely in magnetic pole shift.Are Global storms next?The magnetosphere is damaged. Does that make us more prey to Gamma rays?

  48. Ryan Maue had a graph of daily changes in global anomalies much like the current one back around 2008. It was discontinued when NOAA changed how it distributed its data, which made gathering the data necessary for the graph too difficult, for a time.

    A copy of the old graph would be very interesting to look at. It really opened my eyes, at the time, for up until then I had no idea how dramatically the world anomalies could shift, on a day to day basis. What was really amazing was the free fall that occurred, as the 2007 El Nino gave way to the 2008-2009 double dip La Nina. Off the top of my head, I recall the anomalies dropped a full degree in a little over thirty days. Therefore it is likely wrong to describe the current drop as “Unprecedented.”

    However it is also likely wrong to attempt to discount the current plunge as mere “noise.” After all,
    we are expected to get all freaked out by a .8 degree rise over thirty years. How can we then go “Ho Hum” when that entire rise is more than erased in only thirty days?

    I’d like to add that the current double-dip La Nina is by no means over. The various models have been so very wrong, when it came to predicting the second dip, that I cannot trust them when they say a third dip will not occur. Triple dippers occurred before, (1954-57, 1973-76, 1983-86, 1999-2002,) and can happen again.

    Last winter was odd, for usually La Ninas are kind to the Northeast USA, even as the rest of the world chills. I lived in Maine during the 1973-76 La Nina, and because I was young I was all bummed out by kindly winters I now appreciate. However I then saw something which seems true more often than not: It is the winter after the La Nina fades away that the Northeast gets blasted by the arctic.

    The winter of 1976-77 saw harbors freeze right down to Baltimore. Because I was young and invulnerable, I went for walks up on the sea-ice in Maine that now make me shudder, because there are places where tidal currents keep the ice thin. However one moonlit night I walked out on Casco Bay from Harraseetket Harbor past Crab Island all the way to Harpswell. The cold persisted, and a couple of years later I skated from South Freeport down to the Royal River in Yarmouth, on the ice by the shore. It was so cold that powdered sea-salt drifted over the surface of the ice without melting it.

    That was great, when I was young and hot blooded, but now that I’m old and in charge of the heating bills, I’m hoping the current La Nina is a triple dipper. I am a great believer in procrastination, and would like to put off the eventual arctic response to La Ninas, in the Northeast USA, for another fifteen months, if possible.

  49. To be fair, here in western Maryland the winter has been relatively mild & rainy. The only thing remarkable is a general lack of winds so far. The soil is saturated & any major rain/snow event will cause big flooding.

    And looking out the window, onion-grass is tough — grows even in the middle of the winter if it’s not too cold.

  50. In my opinion if you want to predict the rest of 2012 winter ,the key is to look at similar past patterns like the 1984 AO winter and AO spring pattern from Feb-June and look NCDC National temperature pattern for the same period . We will have well below average temperatures March , April and May . Things will not wam up until June. Things are just back end loaded this winter . It will be cold during this period .

  51. 2010 was probably the last hurrah for the peak of this AMO cycle. It should be heading down over the next two decades. That should moderate NH average temperatures and possibly slow the decline in Arctic sea ice as well.

  52. Caleb says:
    January 27, 2012 at 6:36 am
    What was really amazing was the free fall that occurred, as the 2007 El Nino gave way to the 2008-2009 double dip La Nina. Off the top of my head, I recall the anomalies dropped a full degree in a little over thirty days.Therefore it is likely wrong to describe the current drop as “Unprecedented.”
    ————————————————
    No, the temperatures dropped only 0.35 degrees in 4 months. This would be unprecedented since the little ice age.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2007/to:2009

  53. Caleb says:
    January 27, 2012 at 6:36 am
    —————————————————

    Actually, you are right. I messed up monthly changes with averaged monty changes.

  54. Manfred,

    Thanks for doing the hard work. I was just recalling stuff off the top of my head. It always pays to double check memory.

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