September 2010 UAH Global Temperature Update: +0.60 deg. C

By Dr. Roy Spencer

Despite cooling in the tropics, the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly has stubbornly refused to follow suit: +0.60 deg. C for September, 2010.

Since the daily global average sea surface temperature anomalies on our NASA Discover web page have now cooled to well below the 2002-2010 average, there remains a rather large discrepancy between these two measures. Without digging into the regional differences in the two datasets, I currently have no explanation for this.

UAH_LT_1979_thru_Sept_10

For those following the race for warmest year in the satellite tropospheric temperature record (which began in 1979), 2010 is slowly approaching the record warm year of 1998. Here are the 1998 and 2010 averages for Julian Days 1 through 273:

1998 +0.590

2010 +0.553

  YR    MON  GLOBE    NH      SH     TROPICS

 2009    1   0.251   0.472   0.030  -0.068

 2009    2   0.247   0.565  -0.071  -0.045

 2009    3   0.191   0.324   0.058  -0.159

 2009    4   0.162   0.315   0.008   0.012

 2009    5   0.139   0.161   0.118  -0.059

 2009    6   0.041  -0.021   0.103   0.105

 2009    7   0.429   0.190   0.668   0.506

 2009    8   0.242   0.236   0.248   0.406

 2009    9   0.505   0.597   0.413   0.594

 2009   10   0.362   0.332   0.393   0.383

 2009   11   0.498   0.453   0.543   0.479

 2009   12   0.284   0.358   0.211   0.506

 2010    1   0.648   0.860   0.436   0.681

 2010    2   0.603   0.720   0.486   0.791

 2010    3   0.653   0.850   0.455   0.726

 2010    4   0.501   0.799   0.203   0.633

 2010    5   0.534   0.775   0.292   0.708

 2010    6   0.436   0.550   0.323   0.476

 2010    7   0.489   0.635   0.342   0.420

 2010    8   0.511   0.674   0.347   0.364

 2010    9   0.603   0.556   0.651   0.284

[NOTE: These satellite measurements are not calibrated to surface thermometer data in any way, but instead use on-board redundant precision platinum resistance thermometers (PRTs) carried on the satellite radiometers. The PRT’s are individually calibrated in a laboratory before being installed in the instruments.]

Meanwhile, Sea Surface Temperatures Continue to Fall

Since I just provided the September 2010 global tropospheric temperature update, I decided it was time to update the global SST data record from the AMSR-E instrument flying on Aqua.

The following plot, updated through yesterday (October 4, 2010) shows that both the global average SST, and the Nino3.4 region average from the tropical E. Pacific, continue to cool.

(click on the plot for the full-size, undistorted version. Note that the global values have been multiplied by 10 for easier intercomparison with Nino3.4)

Past experience (and radiative-convective equilibrium) dictates that the global tropospheric temperature, still riding high at +0.60 deg. C for September, must cool in response to the cool ocean conditions.

But given Mother Nature’s sense of humor, I’ve given up predicting when that might occur. :)

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mikef2

…can I get in before Mr Gates to say its CO2……..?

LabMunkey

“But given Mother Nature’s sense of humor, I’ve given up predicting when that might occur. ”
i can wholly sympathise.
Good read, thanks.

Sean Peake

Could this be the result of residual water vapour ( created by the latest El Nino) in that portion of the atmosphere?

Enneagram

I currently have no explanation for this.
More temperature=More alms for the GW church. That’s i it!

Enneagram

BTW Al Gore will be preaching next Oct.13th. in Lima, Peru, South America….It seems that unbelievers have lately increased too much in the US for him to preach there, and times are hard ya know..gotto work… energy bills keeps on increasing.

D. Patterson

Does the Naitonal Data Buoy Center (NDBC) SST data comparisons offer any clues?
BTW, one of the buoys near Honolulu is reporting a tsunami event.

jeanparisot

How tightly connected are tropospheric temperature and surface temperature measurements? (in terms of energy and time)

John Day

Temperature and heat are not the same thing. We should be more concerned with the relative changes in heat (energy). Since water has a much higher heat capacity than the atmosphere, most of this is happening in the oceans.

Djozar

Groan – what’s the carbon footprint for beer?

John from CA

The time frame you’ve chosen skews the Southern hemisphere warmer because it predominately represents Summer and the end of the last El Nino?
[REPLY – I doubt it. it’s compared with all the other Septembers. and El Nino has been gone for a while. ~ Evan]

Isn’t this completely logical? If you have a body of energy if one part cools the other part warms. Just displacement. The energy has to go some where.
[REPLY – Not in this case. La Nina results (eventually) in cooler air temperatures. The cooler ocean surface is an increase of upwelling of cooler water from the (slightly) deeper ocean. It didn’t get cooler, it was cool in the first place. ~ Evan]

rbateman

“Since the daily global average sea surface temperature anomalies on our NASA Discover web page have now cooled to well below the 2002-2010 average, there remains a rather large discrepancy between these two measures. Without digging into the regional differences in the two datasets, I currently have no explanation for this. ”
Indeed, there may be an explanation, but it’s a very odd one.
I have downloaded and compared every Unisys image Anomaly & Data for the last 2 months.
The Anomaly moves and is cooling, but the Data image seems to be nearly frozen.
It is as if the Data image being presented has not been updated, but the Anomaly has.
Somebody has computed the Anomaly, but thrown the Data away.
Holy Anomalymometers, Dr. Spencer, the Thermometer is now in the museum of climatology modeling.

John Day

> Isn’t this completely logical? If you have a body of energy if one part cools the other
> part warms. Just displacement. The energy has to go some where.
Yes, but eventually they should reach equilibrium and have the same temperature, unless there is a _forcing_ that disturbs equilibrium. That’s what Dr. Spencer is looking for. I’m sure he’ll find it. The important issue in this search is to consider all of the feasible radiative forcings, yes even GHG’s and insolation.
😐

DR

SST dropping, LT rising; it means a temperature crash is coming in the next six months. Check the current SOI.
Average SOI for last 30 days: 24.8
Average SOI for last 90 days: 21.6
Daily contribution to SOI calculation: 26.4

Rob Vermeulen

Why not mention that this is actually a RECORD anomaly for september in the whole dataset? Also, the 13-month running average sets a new record high.
Despite these two remarkable (but strangely overlooked) feats, the words “cooler” and “cooling” are used again and again in Dr Spencer’s post. [snip -personal attack]

Douglas DC

Soo-I would predict a blizzard in Lima, Peru, on the 13th?

David Reese

Where can information be found regarding cloud cover and its variation? How does the shift in PDO affect average cloud cover over land vs water?

Jordan

“Without digging into the regional differences in the two datasets, I currently have no explanation for this.”
Is there a plot of the un-smoothed measurements at much finer resolution (e.g. daily). I’d like to see if these show a nice transition across the month. If they are highly variable from sample-to-sample, it would tend to support my concern that the trend is distorted by (spatial) aliasing and there would be no point in trying to interpret aliased data.
Does anybody have a plot of the dailyt data?

Doug Lahey

Dr. Spenser,
Your AMSU temperature trends from NOAA-15 show consistantly lower temps since early June as compared to 2009. I would guess that September should be in the +.4 to .5 range. How is this different from what is displayed here?

rbateman says: “I have downloaded and compared every Unisys image Anomaly & Data for the last 2 months.”
The weekly animation from Unisys shows variability for the past two months, as you said:
http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom_loop.gif
But the NCDC’s OI.v2 SST data has finally decided to drop globally:
http://i53.tinypic.com/14jc4gg.jpg
The drop is tough to pick up in the map animation.

Roald

It also seems that the running 13-month average has reached a new high. Little wonder with the hottest September in satellite record. Perhaps an active sun is to blame, who knows. However, what goes up must come down. I’m already looking forward to the cooling that’s been predicted for some time.

MartinGAtkins

Southern hemisphere up by 0.31?

RichieP

Enneagram says:
October 5, 2010 at 8:23 am
‘BTW Al Gore will be preaching next Oct.13th. in Lima, Peru, South America’
Hasn’t he realised how cold it was down there over their winter? Tough gig eh? One can hope the bum’s rush awaits him when he tells them how hot things are getting.

RR Kampen

There was this theory that the satellite measurements might react a bit strongly to El Niño/La Niña events. This was my impression too (see the graph, also outside the monster Niño peak of 1998).
Is this connection starting to break, or is it too soon to conclude this? If it is so, could the change have been introduced by recent adjustments to the measurement methodology?

Rob Potter

Teasing out the numbers, there is a very large increase in the SH anomaly from August to September. Given that this is winter in the SH, does this represent an increase in the absolute temperature (as the mean would also be increasing from August to September)?
I can easily see that monthly changes in the anomaly can be the result of comparing a stable absolute to a moving average, but in this case, that doesn’t apply. A jump of >0.3 C in absolute terms in one month represents a massive transfer of energy from somewhere. As mentioned above, transfer from the ocean is the only option as it is the only source large enough for this.
A few days/weeks ago, Anthony had a posting showing the cooling of the SST after passage of hurricanes, but this was in the tropics/north Atlantic. Does anyone know if there has been similar activity in the SH?
I would have expected an increase in NH and tropical tropospheric temps to go along with the energy transfer from hurricane activity (and subsequent drop in SST), although this may have happened in absolute terms since the drop seen this month is the anomaly (not the absolute).
Need to keep remembering that the anomaly is only relative to the mean and it is not the absolute when it comes to trying to understand the energy transfers.

Bill Marsh

I did see from the UAH site that yesterday, for the first time this year, the lower tropospheric temperature for 2010 fell below the same day for 2009. There appears to be a fairly rapid cooling of the troposphere in progress.
The surface temps continued to remain uniformly below the same day last year by about .25F, just as they have every day since the el Nino dissipated in mid-June.

wow,
I want the color palette for that global map

Enneagram

RichieP says:
October 5, 2010 at 9:52 am
Surely he will be not speaking out but uttering truths and dogmas “Ex-Cathedra”, to believe in not to doubt or ask about them.
Kind of a novel from H.P.Lovecraft: One of the “other gods” menaces to scare innocent people.

That is strange. I noticed already earlier in the year that the 2010 El Nino had risen 0.2 degrees higher than it had any right to rise judging by the depth of the 2008 La Nina. However, you are not sampling ocean temperatures in the right place to predict the tropospheric temperature. Forget Nino 3.4 and global ocean. If you must have a single probe put your probe near the South American coast where the equatorial countercurrent discharges. You also show a globe with a beautiful view of the Eastern Pacific and the Americas. It is apparently meant to tell us something about ocean temperatures but it is worthless for that. The massive red band centered on the equator is so overexposed that you cannot get any idea of what is going on there. You have to adjust the exposure to show the two equatorial currents, the equatorial countercurrent, the basins north and south of them, and the temperature along the coast at least twenty degrees in both directions. It is this water along the coasts that determines tropospheric temperature, not Nino 3.4 which is in the middle of the countercurrent and out of phase or any other part of the ocean.

Keep in mind that Dr. Spencer’s Global SST anomaly data is NOT global. He excludes data poleward of 60N & 60S. And the heat released from an El Nino migrates to the poles. Monthly Global SST anomaly data has not dropped significantly, similarly to the TLT data. Here’s a graph of the preliminary Global OI.v2 SST anomaly data through September 2010:
http://i56.tinypic.com/152dser.jpg
The graph is from this post:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/09/preliminary-september-2010-sst-anomaly.html
But as noted in an earlier comment, the weekly global SST anomalies have dropped significantly over the past week and should continue to drop in response to the La Niña:
http://i53.tinypic.com/14jc4gg.jpg
The persistence of elevated SST anomalies after an El Niño is not unusual:
http://i54.tinypic.com/15qvpft.jpg

Roald

Could it be that some residual heat from solar irradiation becomes trapped under the satellite’s wings? This might explain some bias in the temperature readings.

jorgekafkazar

From the sea surface temperature graph on the NASA Discover web page:
“The temperature on 10/03/2010 is 529.48 deg F cooler than this day last year.”

crosspatch

Something Joe Bastardi wrote last Saturday comes to mind. Where you have a circulation pattern of air, when you have blobs of cold air (his “lava lamp analogy”) moving South, you will have blobs of warmer air moving North to replace it. If those Northward moving blobs are moving over land, they can be heated by radiation from the land. If the Northward flow is over water, it is moderated by the ocean surface temperature. He noted that the major Northerly flow has been across the Eastern US and their temperatures have been warmer than normal.
So it isn’t only the direction of movement that could have an impact as much as it is also where that movement is taking place. If the Northerly flow was in the Atlantic Ocean, it might not get much/any additional warming from solar radiation.
But looking at the numbers, the warming was (surprise!) in the Southern Hemisphere. The anomaly in the tropics and the NH declined while the anomaly in the SH nearly doubled. What is interesting here is that there was exactly one month last year where the SH anomaly was over 0.6 (July) and it was bracketed by months with much lower anomalies. This might just be a one-month “burp” in the SH as it seems to do from time to time.
If I were a betting man, I would say that it is likely that this month’s anomaly is noise. (not instrumentation noise, but natural variation “noise”) and that the Southern Hemisphere will return to more “normal” values in the coming month … unless, of course, it doesn’t. But looking at what I believe to be most LIKELY to happen, it is most likely that this is just a bump and temperatures will drop next month.

Ian W

Perhaps it should be pointed out again that using temperature to assess atmospheric heat content is a totally false metric.
But more importantly you say ” lower tropospheric temperature” is this really the case? I presume that the satellites are using a physical vertical distance above the surface (or from the satellite). However, the tropopause in the tropics is around 60,000 feet plus and less than half that at the poles. So a satellite measure at 20,000ft will be in the lower third of the troposphere in the tropics and almost at the tropopause at the poles. So the measure will be of lower troposphere at the tropics and upper troposphere at the poles. These are potentially very different atmospheric measures.
So the temperature is used incorrectly as a metric for atmospheric heat content, it appears it is not measured where it is claimed to be measured and it is then averaged.
Why should it surprise anyone that the observed surface level weather does not appear to bear any relation to the satellite ‘metrics’?

The last strong El Nino in 1998 resulted in elevated temperatures until November of that year. This shows up in the CRU, Hadley, UAH and RSS data. The system is very large and it seems that it takes time for the energy to work its way through the system.
The La Nina that was forming in the fall of 1998 was comparable to what is happening now. I see little reason for the temperatures to fall faster now than they did in 1998. In fact now the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has been stronger (slightly) in the first half of this year compared to 1998. That is additional energy that will work its way out.
I am still not sure who Mother Nature is playing the joke on. I hope she lets us in on it soon. 🙂

AdrianS

I think the good thing is Dr Spencer doesnt try to cook the books— he says its warmer but I dont know why. He tells us what he’s found

MSS shows a downturn by 0.06, in contrast to the UAH upturn. However, the trends of tropics, SH, NH are similar, and quite large. Thus, for the total numbers, there is a lot of compensation. UAH and MSS have differed in the past, so let’s wait for October.

Lets see…. Ocean cooling means it’s dumping a lot of heat. Heat leaves the ocean as water vapor (and we’ve had a lot of rain and snow). Water vapor condenses way up high in cloud tops to fall as snow, hail, and rain. Dumping heat way up high. And we find that the cooling oceans are matched to a warm ‘up high’.
I don’t see the problem.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Bill Illis

The increase seems to be in the Southern Hemisphere – +0.3C
Southern Hemisphere ocean SSTs have fallen over the last 3 months (by quite a bit) and is actually a negative number right now (1971 – 2000 climatology); Australia was quite cool; South America and Africa might have been a little above average but I don’t see how overall the Southern Hemisphere jumped 0.3C.
A troposphere effect versus the surface?
There was a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event at the south pole at the end of July (only the second one) so this might have something to do with it.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat-trop/gif_files/time_pres_TEMP_ANOM_JAS_SH_2010.gif

Ulric Lyons pointed out 2010 to me over 3 years ago, and generally via the web for the last 2 years I believe, as the next shrieking point for the CO2 crowd.
\sarcasm
Now all we need is to show how planetary harmonics affect CO2 levels which, in turn, affect global T.
/sarcasm

Robin Pittwood

The heat transfer suggested by EM Smith is interesting and touches on an area not often talked about. Enthalpy. It takes a huge amount of energy to change water from liquid to gas, and likewise, it gives it all back on condensation. ie: water vapour holds a lot of energy – but its not measured in degrees F or C.

R. Gates

mikef2 says:
October 5, 2010 at 8:09 am
…can I get in before Mr Gates to say its CO2……..?
_____
We can only speak of probabilities and consistencies over a longer term. This years warmth is consistent with that which would be expected and predicted by GCM’s over the longer term when taking increasing amounts of CO2 in the troposphere into account. One year, cold or warm makes no difference, just as one snowstorm or heatwave are unimportant. One would expect for example, according to GCM’s and AGW, the period of 2010-2020 to be warmer overall than the period of 2000-2010, just as 2000-2010 was warmer than 1990-2000.
More interesting to me this summer are the extreme hydrological events around the world, from the U.S., to South America, to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, we’ve seen extreme downpours and flooding setting all sorts of records. While this also is not proof of AGW, it is certainly quite consistent with what is to be expected as CO2 continues to increase…but of course, for AGW skeptics, these extreme hydrological events are unimportant.

SS

Notice that the tropical temps have continued to drop. Perhaps we have ‘stepped’ up. Or may be it’s just a peak. By January or February we should know more.

Enneagram

Bill Illis says:
October 5, 2010 at 11:30 am
We are, in SA, at two degrees centigrade less minimum temperature as compared with last year. Minimum temperatures is where the decrease it is better observed.

Maud Kipz

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:
October 5, 2010 at 11:29 am
It’s dropping quite dramatically now.
http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+002

If you turn on the “Average” and “Record highs” ticky boxes, you can see that the deviation above average is not changing appreciably and that it is skirting the record high.

R Gates said;
“More interesting to me this summer are the extreme hydrological events around the world, from the U.S., to South America, to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, we’ve seen extreme downpours and flooding setting all sorts of records. While this also is not proof of AGW, it is certainly quite consistent with what is to be expected as CO2 continues to increase…but of course, for AGW skeptics, these extreme hydrological events are unimportant.”
Extreme compared to when and what sort of records?
Tonyb

Sean Peake

If that heat is held by water vapour, that moisture will have to fall out somewhere and it could be as snow, like we had in Toronto in January 1999, when we got hammered with several (5?) feet in a few weeks, and which fits with the weather pattern expected with a La Nina. I’m moving my shovel to the front of the shed.

Ian George

I note that both NH and Tropics have cooled a little but SH has almost doubled its anomaly. Australia just had its coolest September maximum temp average since 1984 and, although the minimums were above, September’s mean temp was below average. See:
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/month/aus/summary.shtml
If SSTs are dropping, where did all the warming for the SH occur?

R Gates:
Please can you post the data which show that current hydrological “events” are more extreme than previous ones, or that such “events” are increasing?