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

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

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

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

2009 seems to be following in 2008’s footsteps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fred Lightfoot

Who released this ? It was supposed to be adjusted !

Hmmmmn.
No volcanoes.
No sulfates (from the US at least.)
Increasing CO2 the whole time.
Gee. What is wrong with this AGW theory?

RR Kampen

Another interpretation would be that 2008 and 2009 are as cold in the US as they can get these days. Look at the graph: the dips in it have risen above the overall average. How clear must a trend be?
Experience in Holland learns that summer average temperatures will not fall below the norm 1971-2000 unless we get the impossible: three full months of strong northerly flow. Last really cool summermonth was July 2000. That was also the last normal summer. All summers since have been warm to exceptionally hot. Independent of dominant circulation types.

Jack Simmons

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

Geoff Sherrington

It would help me greatly to obtain some good references to support the mechanism behind “Then along came the 1998 El Niño, which raised both global and U.S. temperatures to record values, and our national temperatures remained elevated for 10 years thereafter”
The more I look into spatial/temporal aspects of the 1998 hot year, the more I find it riddled with mystery.
Climatologists tend to try to smooth data and look at trends. In geochemistry, we welcomed the rare highly anomalous value because it often had useful additional information, which was sometimes key. Readers, what were the detailed characteristics of 1998 in your region? e.g. What was the weekly or monthly pattern of temperatures in 1998?
An interim comment: it is very difficult to see if or how GHG simply enter the 1998 picture.

Interesting that Central Europe did not feel any effect of 1998 El Nino on temperatures compared to US, neither El Chichon and Pinatubo. Our truly rural station on Lomnicky peak showed cooling since 1940 till 1990, then with AMO turning warm it jumped up a bit and remained til now on a plateau, a bit warmer than 40ties.
No wonder this station dropped out from GISS dataset after 1989.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=641119300000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

roddy baird

Is it possible that El Nino events influence temperatures partly by increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere? If they did, how persistent would this effect be? Years?
Also, surely given the physics of how CO2 “traps” heat, the effects of an increase in CO2 levels on the temperature of the atmosphere should be immediate?
Yes, the earth’s climate is a complicated thing, making those questions tricky, but isn’t that our whole point?

Tenuc

Good to see some solid evidence that temperatures are getting back down to lower levels. Unfortunately, as most of the temperature increases happened in the NH winter, I expect were in for much longer and colder winters, unless the sun decides to get back to the high levels seen in the 80’s and 90’s.
With Earth’s climate returning to cooler mode, time to wrap up warm – time to buy Damart shares anyone?

rbateman

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

RR Kampen
Aligner

rbateman (04:32:33) :

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

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

H.R.

I’m glad to see the word normal in quotes.
It really irritates me when the local weather jockeys report that we’re above or below “normal.” Every now and then one of them will slip up and report that we’re above or below average. (Can they be fired for that?) I can’t see how it would be so hard for broadcasters to report that “temperatures today will be X degrees above the YYYY to YYYY average.”
As for temperatures reverting to the mean; unlike Lake Woebegone children, all of the temperatures can’t be above average.

hunter

‘normal’: As is every year.

Ron de Haan

Nov 10, 2009
New geologic evidence of past periods of oscillating, abrupt warming, and cooling
(We have to know our past to know our future)
By Dr. Don Easterbrook
http://www.icecap.us

Mike Bryant

Panic!!! Panic!!! Panic!!!
People are causing
CATASTROPHIC ANTHROPOGENIC AVERAGE TEMPERATURES !!!!!!
CAAT is gonna kill us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bill Illis

Here are a few charts of US temperatures back to 1895 using a 12 month moving average (there is too much variability to show the data in the form we are used to seeing). It is a little more more informative than the the usual NOAA/NCDC chart.
12-month moving average in Degrees F. Substantial cooling since early 2006.
http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/8913/ustempsf.png
And then in the Anomaly form in Degrees C. US Temps have fallen about 1.3C in the last 2 and a half years and is now back to about the 1895 to 2009 average.
http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/3491/usmonthlyanom.png

John Galt

It is obviously worse than we thought! Do something now!

In regard to the last sentence:
“No wonder the U.S. Senate is slow to get behind the need for restricting our fossil fuel-related energy supply in the name of climate change.”
Please note that ‘fossil fuels’ are NOT from fossils:
‘Fossil’ Fuels are NOT from fossils:
• “Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm have managed to prove that fossils from animals and plants are not necessary for crude oil and natural gas to be generated. The findings are revolutionary since this means, on the one hand, that it will be much easier to find these sources of energy and, on the other hand, that they can be found all over the globe.”
The Swedish Research Council, “Fossils From Animals And Plants Are Not Necessary For Crude Oil And Natural Gas, Swedish Researchers Find,” September 12, 2009, ScienceDaily.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910084259.htm
Come on, people. Think about how absurd the premise was to begin with.

TerryBixler

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

Gary

“No wonder the U.S. Senate is slow to get behind the need for restricting our fossil fuel-related energy supply in the name of climate change.”
You give those clowns too much credit. The only meteorological measurement they notice is which way the political winds are blowing.

Leone

US temperature record seems to be quite similar to station records from Greenland, Scandinavia and Russian rural stations. And 80 -year trend seems to be quite flat in these records. So from where comes the rising trend to GISTEMP Northern latitudes?
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.B.lrg.gif

Vincent

RR Kampen,
“Another interpretation would be that 2008 and 2009 are as cold in the US as they can get these days.”
An interesting variation on the theme “it would have been colder if it weren’t for global warming.”
Boy, you’re good.

Wondering Aloud

Holland appears to be the exception. Remove bad site selection and NASA introduced fudge factors and I wonder what the North American record looks like? Of course that’s only 8 million square miles, certainly not global.
We in the US are often accused of being provincial but Holland? How many million square miles is that? How good are their temperature records? Ours are known to have a big warm bias and yet we have no warming. When I talk about cold weather around me I am talking about an area at least the size of Western Europe, I wouldn’t mention it if it was that local. RR how has it been in Switzerland? Norway? Ukraine?
The midwest (think Rapid City to Toronto and St Louis and North) is not showing warming. Best guess based on the themometer records is the early 70’s were colder but 20s and 30s were quite a bit warmer than today. You would call this local weather and not global. I would agree. But Holland as a counter example? Seriously?

Vincent

“‘Fossil’ Fuels are NOT from fossils: Come on, people. Think about how absurd the premise was to begin with.”
Former soviet scientitst know that oil has an abiogenic origin deep in the earths crust. They have published the chemical reactions and have created oil in the lab (similar to the way diamonds can be artificially created). Ever wondered why the Saudi oil fields haven’t emptied after 50 years of production?
The ideathat oil somehow accrues from dead animals was floated way back in the nineteenth century, but was latched onto as if it is fact. Like most wrong theories, they eventually give way in a paradigm shift. Eg dinosaurs became extinct because mammals ate their eggs, and CO2 causes the climate to warm dangerously. Oh wait, the last one has still got a few years left to run.

Tom in Florida

RR Kampen (00:54:17) : “Experience in Holland learns that summer average temperatures will not fall below the norm 1971-2000 …”
Nice cherry pick. Did you not read the baseline in this article is from 1895 -2009?

maz2

The Glory of the Arctic: Jupi Angootealuk.
“Jupi Angootealuk, 17, was stranded on the same ice floe as a polar bear and her two cubs.”
“That’s the glory of the Arctic,” Ms. Griffin said. “A 17-year-old young man and he’s seasoned enough that he was able to save his own life – so very resilient.
“It is amazing.”
…-
“Alone and adrift, teen refuses to give up
As the ice heaved and cracked beneath him and temperatures dipped below -20, teen hunter persevered for two days before rescuers parachuted onto the floes”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/alone-and-adrift-teen-refuses-to-give-up/article1357482/

Frank

Correlates to the deep solar minimum.

morganovich

the clearest signal in this data is the PDO. warm mode up until the early 40’s, then cold until 1976, the warm until 2006-7, now shifting cold again. it’s a very visible cycle. recall that at the end of the last cold mode in the 70’s, the media was predicting a new ice age. now they predict a catastrophic warming.
the simple fact is that any trend that goes on for a long time tends to get extrapolated into the future, but, doing so with a cyclical system like this one leads to very bad guesses. it’s like trying to draw a trend line on a sin curve.

Pamela Gray

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

Steve Keohane

Between this adjustment, which seems mildly insane in light of UHI, plus UHI, plus Hansen’s fantasy adjustments, all up of course, equals anthropogenic warming.
http://i42.tinypic.com/2luqma8.jpg

Dan

This is confusing to me.
So rising temps were due to El Nino and not poorly situated temp sensors?
And we are at normal temps despite neg PDO, neg AMO, minimum solar activity, increased volcanic activity?
The skier in me longs for those winters of yore (60s, 70s even 80s-years, not temps)

SteveSadlov

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

Pamela Gray

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

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

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

Regarding Figure 2, it always amazes me that there are those who can’t see the multiyear impacts of major El Nino events (those that aren’t countered by volcanic aerosols).
That progression from Figure 1 to Figure 2 is remarkable.

David S

Normal! OMG it must be our fault!

Jimmy Haigh

Vincent (06:14:25) :
Gordon Bennet.

Wondering Aloud

Excellent example and question here.
Steve Keohane (06:51:41) :
Between this adjustment, which seems mildly insane in light of UHI, plus UHI, plus Hansen’s fantasy adjustments, all up of course, equals anthropogenic warming.
http://i42.tinypic.com/2luqma8.jpg
If we remove the obvious fudge factor of these adjustment the entire signal of warming is gone isn’t it?

Jimmy Haigh

Sorry to Vincent at (06:14:25) :
I should have read the earlier posts. I see you were being sarcastic.
Gordon Bennet of course is ‘who is your creator’- who posted at (05:56:17) :

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

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

Seems we had a mild summer which in turns can be a brutal Winter. Not looking forward to it at all here in the Midwest.

Tim

Another normal year?! How is that going to help sell newspapers?

NK

Phil. (07:59:48) :
“And yet the PDO index has been positive for the last three months.”
Phil– the PDO did turn positive in recent months, and the mid-2007 to mid 2009 cooling trend almost immediately abated. You are admitting to the clear correlation between PDO and temp. readings –i.e real data. That PDO correlation is the best correlation to actual data I have seen anyone come up with. Again, correlation is not causation, but there is strong circumstantial evidence. Oh, and 2007-2009 levels of that sinister CO2? Yes much higher than at the beginning of the cooling trend. You are hereby on record as admitting that whatever temperature affect CO2 has, it is far outweighed by the effect of the PDO. The only question left is whether CO2 has any measureable effect. That will take time and a lot of measurement data. But in the meantime we do have this area of agreement. Right Phil?

Pamela Gray

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

Ron de Haan

Anthony, please publish the new report from Don Easterbrook:
Nov 10, 2009
New geologic evidence of past periods of oscillating, abrupt warming, and cooling
By Dr. Don Easterbrook from icecap.us?
I think it’s very significant.

Scouse Pete

Phil. (07:59:48) :
morganovich (06:45:18) :
the clearest signal in this data is the PDO. warm mode up until the early 40’s, then cold until 1976, the warm until 2006-7, now shifting cold again. it’s a very visible cycle. recall that at the end of the last cold mode in the 70’s, the media was predicting a new ice age. now they predict a catastrophic warming.
And yet the PDO index has been positive for the last three months.
Indeed the PDO for Sep/Oct/Nov posted 0.09 /0.52 / 0.27, quite normal to have a +ve spike in PDO Cool conditions when an EL Nino is present. See also the spikes in 2007 and 2005. The PDO is a very long decadal oscillation, looking at just 3 months of slightly +ve spiking is a little unwise!

John B

OT – I haven’t seen any discussion of Sunspot 1030.
Is this spot a throwback to cycle 23, or is cycle 24 winding down and we’re seeing the beginnings of cycle 25?

Doug

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

jeffrey

The USA is only is small part of the world. Globally 2009 will be warmer than normal.