A Big Picture Look At “Earth’s Temperature” – Quarterly Update

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

This format received a positive response in the previous article and apparently encouraged Skeptical Science to take A Big Picture Look at Global Warming, thus this article will be updated on a quarterly basis moving forward. In their article, Skeptical Science argued that “the planet is indeed warming rapidly” and this rate “is expected to increase”. Suggestions as to which data/graphics included below best demonstrate rapid warming are most welcome…

Please note that WUWT cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data/graphics within this article, nor influence the format or form of any of the graphics, as they are all linked from third party sources and WUWT is simply an aggregator. You can view each graphic at its source my simply clicking on it.

Update: John Christy points out via email that RSS and UAH anomalies are not comparable because they use different base periods, i.e., “RSS only uses 1979-1998 (20 years) while UAH uses the WMO standard of 1981-2010. So, March 2012 in RSS has an LT anomaly of -0.03 when based on the 1981-2010 mean annual cycle.”

Global Surface Temperatures:

Generally, when referring to Earth’s “climate” warming, proponents of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) narrative, refer to Earth’s Surface Temperature, e.g. “Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels.” NASA Earth Observatory

As such, here’s NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Monthly Mean Surface Temperature Anomaly – 1996 to Present;

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) - Click the pic to view at source

NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC) Annual Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Over Land & Sea – 1880 to Present;

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) - Click the pic to view at source

Note: The chart above hasn’t been updated with 2011 data for unknown reasons. The chart resides here and the data to update it is here. It appears that a significant decline in temperatures occurred during the last 15 months:

2010 1 0.6335

2010 2 0.6708

2010 3 0.7815

2010 4 0.7518

2010 5 0.7064

2010 6 0.6764

2010 7 0.6581

2010 8 0.5783

2010 9 0.4975

2010 10 0.5655

2010 11 0.7182

2010 12 0.4226

2011 1 0.3962

2011 2 0.4200

2011 3 0.5226

2011 4 0.5894

2011 5 0.5093

2011 6 0.5882

2011 7 0.5687

2011 8 0.5401

2011 9 0.5264

2011 10 0.5739

2011 11 0.4347

2011 12 0.4800

2012 1 0.3630

2012 2 0.3678

(Source: NOAA NCDC)

UK Met Office’s – Hadley Center – Climate Research Unit (CRU) Annual Global Average Land Temperature Anomaly – 1850 to Present;

Met Office - Hadley Center - Click the pic to view at source

and the UK Met Office – Hadley Center – Climate Research Unit (CRU) Monthly Global Average Land Temperature – 1850 to Present

Met Office - Hadley Center - Click the pic to view at source

Depending on the time frame, it certainly seems that Earth’s surface temperature has increased, though it does not appear to be “warming rapidly”. Furthermore, the surface temperature record is burdened with issues of questionable siting, changes in siting, changes in equipment, changes in the number of measurement locations, modeling to fill in gaps in measurement locations, corrections to account for missing, erroneous or biased measurements, and the urban heat island effect. Thus to see the big picture on the temperature Earth’s temperature, it helps to also look up.

Atmospheric Temperatures:

Since 1979 the temperature of Earth’s “climate” has also been measured via satellite. “The temperature measurements from space are verified by two direct and independent methods. The first involves actual in-situ measurements of the lower atmosphere made by balloon-borne observations around the world. The second uses intercalibration and comparison among identical experiments on different orbiting platforms. The result is that the satellite temperature measurements are accurate to within three one-hundredths of a degree Centigrade (0.03 C) when compared to ground-launched balloons taking measurements of the same region of the atmosphere at the same time.” NASA

The following are 4 Temperature Anomaly plots from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), each one increases in altitude as is illustrated here:

RSS Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

RSS Temperature Middle Troposphere (TMT)- Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

RSS Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) -Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

RSS Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present:

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

According to Remote Sensing Systems, “For Channel (TLT) (Lower Troposphere) and Channel (TMT) (Middle Troposphere), the anomaly time series is dominated by ENSO events and slow tropospheric warming. The three primary El Niños during the past 20 years are clearly evident as peaks in the time series occurring during 1982-83, 1987-88, and 1997-98, with the most recent one being the largest.” RSS

Also, the 2009 – 10 El Niño event is also called out on this RSS Latitudinal Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly from 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

and the 1998 El Niño event, along with the tropospheric cooling attributed to the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinitubo, is called out on this University of Alabama – Hunstville (UAH) Lower Atmosphere Temperature Anomalies – 1979 to Present:

University of Alabama - Huntsville (UAH) - Dr. Roy Spencer - Click the pic to view at source

Note that in March the UAH Lower Atmosphere Temperature Anomaly was 0.11 degrees C above the 30 year average, and the RSS Lower Troposphere Brightness Temperature was 0.075 degrees C above the 30 year average. Keep this mind the next time you see claims that recent weather was caused by Global Warming.

There are also regional variations in Lower Troposphere that contribute nuance to the picture. For example, RSS Northern Polar Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

shows a .334 K/C per decade increase, whereas the The RSS Southern Polar Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

shows a .011 K/C per decade decrease. I am still not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in the Lower Troposphere temperature trends between the poles.

The satellite record seems to show slow warming of Lower and Middle Tropospheric temperatures, overlaid with the El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, including four comparatively large El Niño events. Lower Tropospheric temperatures appear to have flattened since the large El Niño in 1998 and offer no indication of Earth “warming rapidly”.

Moving higher in the atmosphere, RSS Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

has been incredibly flat since, with a trend of just -.010 K/C per decade. The 1997-98 and 2009 – 10 El Niño events are still readily apparent in the plot, as is a spike from the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Note that the effect of Mt. Pinatubo is the opposite in the Lower and Middle Troposphere versus the Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS), i.e. “Large volcanic eruptions inject sulfur gases into the stratosphere; the gases convert into submicron particles (aerosol) with an e-folding time scale of about 1 year. The climate response to large eruptions (in historical times) lasts for several (2-3) years. The aerosol cloud causes cooling at the Earth’s surface, warming in stratosphere.”

Ellen Thomas, PHD Wesleyan University

It is interesting that, incorporating the impact of three significant surface driven warming events, Troposphere / Stratosphere Temperatures (TTS) have been quite stable, however there is nuance to this as well.

RSS Northern Hemisphere Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

has been increasing by .046 K/C per decade, whereas the RSS Southern Hemisphere Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

has been decreasing by -.066 K/C per decade.

Moving higher still in the atmosphere, the RSS Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

“is dominated by stratospheric cooling, punctuated by dramatic warming events caused by the eruptions of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991).” RSS

The eruptions of El Chichon and Mt Pinatubo are readily apparent in the Apparent Atmospheric Transmission of Solar Radiation at Mauna Loa, Hawaii:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) - Click the pic to view at source

“The stratosphere” … “in contrast to the troposphere, is heated, as the result of near infrared absorption of solar energy at the top of the aerosol cloud, and increased infra-red absorption of long-wave radiation from the Earth’s surface.”

“The stratospheric warming in the region of the stratospheric cloud increases the latitudinal temperature gradient after an eruption at low latitudes, disturbing the stratospheric-troposphere circulation, increasing the difference in height of the troposphere between high and low latitudes, and increasing the strength of the jet stream (polar vortex, especially in the northern hemisphere). This leads to warming during the northern hemisphere winter following a tropical eruption, and this warming effect tends to be larger than the cooling effect described above.” Ellen Thomas, PHD Wesleyan University

The Lower Stratosphere experienced “dramatic warming events caused by the eruptions of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991).” RSS “The long-term, global-mean cooling of the lower stratosphere stems from two downward steps in temperature, both of which are coincident with the cessation of transient warming after the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo.” … “Here we provide observational analyses that yield new insight into three key aspects of recent stratospheric climate change. First, we provide evidence that the unusual step-like behavior of global-mean stratospheric temperatures is dependent not only upon the trend but also on the temporal variability in global-mean ozone immediately following volcanic eruptions. Second, we argue that the warming/cooling pattern in global-mean temperatures following major volcanic eruptions is consistent with the competing radiative and chemical effects of volcanic eruptions on stratospheric temperature and ozone. Third, we reveal the contrasting latitudinal structures of recent stratospheric temperature and ozone trends are consistent with large-scale increases in the stratospheric overturning Brewer-Dobson circulation” David W. J. Thompson Colorado State University

Above the Stratosphere we have the Mesosphere and Thermosphere, neither of which have I identified current temperature time series for, but of note is that on “July 15, 2010” “A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere” occurred when “high above Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called “the thermosphere” recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.”

“This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,” says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19th issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). “It’s a Space Age record.”

The collapse happened during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009—a fact which comes as little surprise to researchers. The thermosphere always cools and contracts when solar activity is low. In this case, however, the magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.

“Something is going on that we do not understand,” says Emmert.

The thermosphere ranges in altitude from 90 km to 600+ km. It is a realm of meteors, auroras and satellites, which skim through the thermosphere as they circle Earth. It is also where solar radiation makes first contact with our planet. The thermosphere intercepts extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photons from the sun before they can reach the ground. When solar activity is high, solar EUV warms the thermosphere, causing it to puff up like a marshmallow held over a camp fire. (This heating can raise temperatures as high as 1400 K—hence the name thermosphere.) When solar activity is low, the opposite happens.” NASA

In summary, Earth’s Lower and Middle Troposphere appear to have warmed slowly, overlaid with the El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, including four comparatively large El Niño events, and tempered by the cooling effects of the eruption of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991). Lower and Middle Tropospheric temperatures appear to have flattened since the large El Niño in 1998 and offer no indication of “warming rapidly”. Tropospheric / Stratospheric temperatures appear to have been influenced by at least three significant surface driven warming events, the 1997-98 El Niño, and the eruptions of El Chichon in 1982 and Mt Pinatubo in 1991, but to have maintained a stable overall trajectory. Stratospheric temperatures appear to have experienced two “dramatic warming events caused by the eruptions of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991).”, and “unusual step-like behavior of global-mean stratospheric temperatures” which has resulted in a significant stratospheric cooling during the last 30 years. Lastly, “during deep solar minimum of 2008-2009” “the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years” occurred and “The magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.”

Ocean Temperatures:

“The oceans can hold much more heat than the atmosphere. Just the top 3.2 metres of ocean holds as much heat as all the world’s air.” Commonwealth of Australia – Parliamentary Library

As such, changes in Oceanic Oscillations, and Ocean Heat Content are critical to understanding “Earth’s Temperature”. Here is NOAA’s NODC Global Ocean Heat Content from 0-700 Meters – 1955 to Present;

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) - Click the pic to view at source

and here is the same from Ole Humlum’s valuable climate data site Climate4you.com, NODC Global Ocean Heat Content – 0-700 Meters – 1979 to Present:

climate4you.com - Ole Humlum - Professor, University of Oslo Department of Geosciences - Click the pic to view at source

It seems apparent from the plots above that Global Ocean Heat has increased over the last several decades, however Global Ocean Heat doesn’t appear to be “warming rapidly”. Furthermore, there is no evidence or indication of an increasing or accelerating rate, deceleration would appear to be a more accurate label.

Sea Level:

“Global sea level is currently rising as a result of both ocean thermal expansion and glacier melt, with each accounting for about half of the observed sea level rise, and each caused by recent increases in global mean temperature. For the period 1961-2003, the observed sea level rise due to thermal expansion was 0.42 millimeters per year and 0.69 millimeters per year due to total glacier melt (small glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets) (IPCC 2007). Between 1993 and 2003, the contribution to sea level rise increased for both sources to 1.60 millimeters per year and 1.19 millimeters per year respectively (IPCC 2007).” Source NISDC

Global Mean Sea Level Change – 1993 to Present:

climate4you.com - Ole Humlum - Professor, University of Oslo Department of Geosciences - Click the pic to view at source

Global Mean Sea Level Change Map with a “Correction” of 0.3 mm/year added May, 5th 2011, due to a “Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)” – 1993 to Present:

University of Colorado at Boulder - Click the pic to view at source

Snow and Ice:

A proxy often cited when measuring “Earth’s Temperature” is amount of Snow and Ice on Earth. According to the United States Geographical Survey (USGS), “The vast majority, almost 90 percent, of Earth’s ice mass is in Antarctica, while the Greenland ice cap contains 10 percent of the total global ice mass.” Source USGA However, there is currently there is no generally accepted measure of ice volume, as Cryosat is still in validation and the accuracy of measurements from Grace are still being challenged. Sea Ice Area and Extent are cited as proxies for “Earth’s Temperature” is Sea Ice Area, however there is significant evidence that the primary agents of change in Sea Ice Area and Extent are in fact wind and Atmospheric Oscillations. With this said, here are

Global, Arctic & Antarctic Sea Ice Area from 1979 to Present;

climate4you.com - Ole Humlum - Professor, University of Oslo Department of Geosciences - Click the pic to view at source

Global Sea Ice Area Anomaly – 1979 to Present:

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois - Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area Anomaly, 1979 to Present;

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois - Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area Anomaly, 1979 to Present;

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois - Click the pic to view at source

Arctic Sea Ice Extent – 15% or greater

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) - click to view at source

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent – 15% or Greater

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) - Click the pic to view at source

There appears to have been a negative trend in Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area and Extent and a positive trend in Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area and Extent, thus the resultant Global Sea Ice Area trend appears to be slightly negative.

In terms of land based data, here is 20 Year Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover with 1995 – 2009 Climatology

Florida State University - Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science - Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Anomalies 1966 – Present

Florida State University - Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science - Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Winter Snow Extent – 1967 to Present:

Rutgers University - Global Snow Lab (GSL) - Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Spring Snow Extent – 1967 to Present:

 alt=

Rutgers University - Global Snow Lab (GSL) - Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Fall Snow Extent – 1967 to Present:

Rutgers University - Global Snow Lab (GSL) - Click the pic to view at source

While neither Snow plot offers a global perspective, when looking at the Northern Hemisphere, there appears to have been a slight increase in Snowcover and Winter Snow Extent, a decrease in Spring Snow Extent and no change in Fall Snow Extent over the historical record.

Based on the limited Global Ice and Snow measurements available, and noting the questionable value of Sea Ice Area as a proxy for temperature, not much inference can currently be drawn from Earth’s Ice measurements. However, there does not appear to be any evidence in Earth’s Ice measurements of rapid warming.

Conclusion:

“Earth’s Temperature” appears to have increased during the last several decades, but there does not appear to be any evidence of “rapid warming”.

Additional information on “Earth’s Temperature” can be found in the WUWT Reference Pages, including the Global Temperature Page and Global Climatic History Page

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The last 15 months suggest, to the untutored eye, that a peak in global temperatures has passed even in the GISS data. The update has been delayed in the hope/belief that this coming spring/summer will bring the trend back up to Hansen-Gore-CAGW levels.
The history of adjusting temperatures up is biting NASA/Hansen et al. Like a public company that artificially boosts it stock value, the growth pattern dies if the real world doesn’t cooperate. Adjusting doesn’t work going forward, at least not when you don’t control all information.
If the European and other areas go into a cool six months, the averages will be dragged down. The contiguous continental has had a “hot” winter, which looks good as a stand-alone, red splotch, but wasn’t enough to drive up the global averages. One region doesn’t a world make, despite Hansen’s best efforts. Over the next six months there will be some sharp pencils looking to delete “bad” data to maintain the storyline at NASA. The open letter by ex-NASA workers was embarrassing, but there will be greater embarrassment if the global temperatures show a decline in the next short while.

John Blake

Assuming unadjusted raw data of integrity remains available, confirmed by valid statistical sampling in 3-D atmospheric volume over minimum 15-year time-scales, at what point will climate botanists be willing to say: “Declining global temperatures indicate that Earth’s 125-year+ rebound from her 500-year Little Age Age is fading fast. Now entering on a 70-year ‘dead sun’ Maunder Minimum, we expect an overdue reversion to cyclical Pleistocene Ice Time by c. 2113 at the latest”?
Of course, any major series of volcanic outbreaks could tip Gaia to a 102,000-year full-frost regime at any time. As for catastophic anthropogenic global warming, leave that to coulrophilic, coprophagic proctocranials expert in holding feet-to-fire.

Alex the skeptic

catastrophic global non-warming; catastrophic to the warmists who are seeing their theories melting like the greenlad ice would have if their wishes materialised.

KR

It’s also worth looking at the Spring Northern Hemisphere snow extent:
http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=nhland&ui_season=2
That shows a significant decline, and is indicative of less total snow to be melted over the years.

sophocles

Note: The chart above hasn’t been updated with 2011 data for unknown reasons.
==================================================================
Interesting. Could it be because the data is “obviously wrong”
and the “lost heat” hasn’t been found yet?
Is that a multitude of pencils, I hear, considering “adjustments” to fit the data to the
curve … or should that be story?

It is a bit delicious that there is not global total ice content change. Thanks! I was looking for something to write about!

Oldseadog

“Something is going on that we do not understand”.
Says it all, really.

kbray in california

KR says:
April 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm
It’s also worth looking at the Spring Northern Hemisphere snow extent:
That shows a significant decline, and is indicative of less total snow to be melted over the years.
——————————————————————————————————–
Hey, add 25 more horizontal lines to that chopped off chart and it looks more like normal variation to me….

George E. Smith

Well I would have found the graphs more interesting, if they had not been corrupted by extraneous, and uninformative noise additions. Specifically those silly straight lines imposed on the graphs, confuse the eye into believing that they somehow relate to the (presumably) measured points; they clearly aren’t related in any way.
And on the first picture, the inclusion of black and red points for presumably two different data sets, combine to create an optical illusion that the semblance of increase over time is amplified. The red has the effect of depressing the earlier data, while the black accentuates the later stationary data. And of course the short 16 year long interval isn’t long enough to show any real long term climate change; although it is (presumably) a good reflection of just those 16 years.
The addition of those purely theoretical model (statistical) lines, adds no information that isn’t already shown in the actual plotted points; namely that any combination of just a few spatially separated random points conveys no information about the vast unsampled space that isn’t included in the samples.
And is it possible for people to decide once and for all, whether these plots are just local anomaly values, or whether they are as is stated data on the earth’s mean surface TEMPERATURE. The earth surface, is a fairly definable location, generally a continuous phase boundary between gaseous components, and either liquid or solid components of the physical planet. How many of the plotted data locations are actually on this boundary ?
Statistical mathematicians; who presumably are NOT climate scientists; should know that INFORMATION is lost, when applying statistical methods to raw observational data; and fictional pseudo data is created that can not be measured anywhere in the real world.

KR

justthefactswuwt“Why would “global warming” influence Spring Snow Extent, but not Fall or Winter Snow Extent?”
The decline in spring extent indicates either (a) less total snow to be melted, (b) warmer spring temperatures causing the snowpack to melt faster, or (more likely) both. And looking at the snow cover report from that site (http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/files/Robinson_snowdata2011.pdf):
“Annual snow cover extent (SCE) over Northern Hemisphere (NH) lands averaged 24.7 million square kilometers in 2011. This is 0.3 million sq. km. less than the 42-year average and ranks 2011 as having the 17th least extensive cover on record (table 1).”
…it looks like total yearly snowfall is indeed decreasing. That ties in with observed lower stream flows (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/climatechange/reducedsnow_more.htm) as well.

KR

“It is a bit delicious that there is not global total ice content change.”
That really doesn’t match the current data: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-036#2, also http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/isamount.pdf

Rob Dawg

justthefactswuwt – “Why would “global warming” influence Spring Snow Extent, but not Fall or Winter Snow Extent?”
Urbanization plus UHI plus snow plowing. Nothing like a few million lane miles of blacktop exposed to reduce snow cover.

Pamela Gray

Sounds like this global warming is not much to write home about. Kinda pales to people gettin lost in a snow storm and having to survive on…well…let’s just say whatever you can scrounge up along the Donner Party trail.

Scarface

Well, that’s it then. Anyone who can make a catastrophe out of this needs his head examined.
I will try to get this post published in one of our national newspapers.
A 0,039% chance that I will succeed, but it’s worth a try.

Werner Brozek

It appears that a significant decline in temperatures occurred during the last 15 months:
This is true.
Here are the stats for 4 different data sets over the last 15 months.
RSS: 2011 was 12th warmest at 0.147. The first 3 months of 2012 so far are 26th warmest averaging -0.034.
UAH: 2011 was 9th warmest at 0.153. The first 3 months of 2012 so far are 18th warmest averaging -0.031.
GISS: 2011 was 9th warmest at 0.514. The first 3 months of 2012 so far are 14th warmest averaging 0.407.
Hadcrut3: 2011 was 12th warmest at 0.340. The first 2 months of 2012 so far are 19th warmest averaging 0.204.

Roger

Eyeballing, I really find it hard to believe the TMT RSS shows ANY trend. Also the TLT data is showing it hard to have any trend with the current data

Crispin in Johannesburg

Lower stream flow is indicative of reduced precipitation, not higher temperatures causing less snow. Reduced precipitation can be caused by lower temperatures. Is the cold N Pacific reducing evaporation?

Pamela Gray

A blade of grass is only taller than the others if you are a golfer on the 18th hole or an ant walking along the green skyscraper sidewalks in your backyard green carpet. To the rest of us, there is scant different between this blade or that blade.
From way out at the millennium view, these tiny temperature changes don’t even show up as vibrations, let alone a sharp rise or fall. Much ado about nothing, unless you are a golfer or an ant.

MrX

Part of me is somewhat satisfied to see data going against AGW, but really, I’m happy if the planet gets warmer. What I hate most about this war on warming is that humanity has been taken away the optimism of the future. Right now, we should be celebrating that we’re coming out of the LIA. It should be something to rejoice. But no, instead we get the pro AGW scared of a warmer planet, and skeptics showing data that shows a lack of warming. Realistically, everyone should want a warmer planet. It’s always been when humanity has had the most prosperity. If humans ever do get the technology to affect the climate, they will use it to make it warmer.

Marcos

how would those CRU anomaly charts look if 1961-1990 (which ran fairly cold) wasnt used as their ‘normal’ period?

DirkH

“Note: The chart above hasn’t been updated with 2011 data for unknown reasons. The chart resides here and the data to update it is here. It appears that a significant decline in temperatures occurred during the last 15 months:
2010 1 0.6335
[…]
2012 2 0.3678”

SØREN BUNDGAARD

We need next generation of newclear power,
witch’s is must safer 8:23 – James Hansen in Newsnight – Scotland, Tuesday 10 april 2012
http://youtu.be/H2NQVTiVgoU

Zac

It is cold this year in the UK, I’ve never had to carry full winter clothing on my push bike so late into April before or order a replenishment of coal for the bunker. Despite what the BBC says Bluebells are having a hard time of it.

DocMartyn

This is the change in sea level, 1992 to the start of 2012. Sea level increases are due to thermal expansion and melting of land based ice.
The black line is the CUSUM of the detrended data; essentially the rate of change of sea level without data loss by averaging.
http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/sealevel.jpg
Spring 2007 is the srat of the slowdown and the current slowing kicked in in 2010 big time.

justthefactswuwt says:
April 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm
KR says: April 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm
The decline in spring extent indicates either (a) less total snow to be melted, (b) warmer spring temperatures causing the snowpack to melt faster, or (more likely) both.
===================================================
I’m waiting until after May to update, but as of last year….. over the last 20 years (when the global warming is supposed to be at it’s worse), we see that the agregate snow coverage has a slight increase. http://suyts.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-rapidly-melting-snow-extent/
Why? I don’t know.

KR

justthefactswuwt“But wouldn’t the increace in Winter Snow Extent seem to contridict the hypothsis that there’s “less total snow to be melted”?”
Not necessarily. The slight increase in extent (not depth, mind you) may be due to higher amounts of weather activity, or shifts in precipitation patterns. But the decrease in spring extent (and the decrease in total yearly extent) indicates that the snow present just isn’t sticking around as long. That’s either less snow total – and/or warmer springs melting it faster.

pat

Forget global warming: Scientists discover glaciers in Asian mountain range are actually getting BIGGER
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2130184/Forget-global-warming-Scientists-discover-glaciers-Asia-getting-BIGGER.html#ixzz1s9X8iZLu

LazyTeenager

“unusual step-like behavior of global-mean stratospheric temperatures” which has resulted in a significant stratospheric cooling during the last 30 years.
———–
I can read the graph and I don’t see this. I also think drawing a cause and effect relationship here is trying to be sneaky.

LazyTeenager

“The magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.”
———-
The density of the thermosphere is very low. Which means its energy content is very low. Which means it has negligable heating effect on the lower atmosphere.
In short its irrelevant. Smells like FUD to me.

cui bono

Thanks for all the info, Justthefacts and Anthony. Excellent idea to have it as a regular item
A general question on ocean heat content. The article says: ‘It seems apparent from the plots
above that Global Ocean Heat has increased over the last several decades, however Global Ocean Heat doesn’t appear to be “warming rapidly”.’
Some (eg or possibly ie R. Gates) cite the 23 * 10^22 joules which have gone into the oceans as something which will come back and bite us in the a…in the atmosphere. If true, this is slightly disquieting.
Can somebody point me to something which would challenge this alarmism (this is a sceptical blog, after all)? I get kerflummoxed when dealing with numbers larger than 6 * 10^17. 🙂

LazyTeenager

however Global Ocean Heat doesn’t appear to be “warming rapidly”.
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Word games. A description such as “warming rapidly” is understood in terms of its context. Just the facts is trying to be shifty about the context by substituting his own

LazyTeenager

deceleration would appear to be a more accurate label
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Sorry, but I am accustomed to interpreting plots of noisy data. I don’t buy this.

Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta

So let me see if I have this straight. In the 52 years that I have been alive, the Earth’s temperature has risen 0.5°C and the oceans have risen 5 cm (2.5″)? I don’t think I’m quite ready to give all my Helly-Hansen undies to the Goodwill just yet and how much is it going to cost me to hem-up my pants? I can’t believe these people still enjoy any amount of credibility.

michael hart

KR: “The slight increase in extent (not depth, mind you) may be due to higher amounts of weather activity…”
Ummm, could you explain what constitutes “higher amounts of weather activity” ?
[I assume it’s different from “higher amounts of climate activity…”]

Goldie

Hmm I find the hemispheric differences probably the most suggestive of a human signature. As far back as the 70s folks noted that there was a significant disparity in background ozone concentrations in the lower troposphere between the hemisphere’s and this was postulated to be the residual photochemical product of human activity. Now ozone is nothing like carbon dioxide in the sense that whilst being radiatively active, it nevertheless has a relatively short half life in the lower troposhere, whereas as CO2 hangs around for much longer. The disparity could be a natural product of the different land:sea ratios in the two hemisphere’s but given that even in the eightees there were plenty of credible trackings of transcontinental ozone plumes it would seem more likely that the disparity is indeed human in origin.
Now whether this disparity carries over to CO2, whether CO2 differences are sufficient to cause the temperature disparity or the disparity is cuased by something else I would have to leave to other smarter people. However, some people have suggested that efforts to reduce photochemical precursors might explain some of the stalling in temperature increase we have seen in recent years.

michael hart

cui bono says: April 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm
“Some (eg or possibly ie R. Gates) cite the 23 * 10^22 joules which have gone into the oceans as something which will come back and bite us in the a…in the atmosphere. If true, this is slightly disquieting.”
Alarming, even. An alternative view is that “Trenberth’s missing heat” isn’t there. That it has gone into deep-space, never to return. That’s why he can’t find it, and that’s why he described it as a “tragedy” in the climate-gate emails. So it may just be the size of the error in their calculations. Alarming indeed, but only to those who attach credibility to IPCC model “projections”.

Roger

Recommend postees ALWAYS do a spell check. These guys (warmists) will hammer you to no end.

Henry Clark

I am still not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in the Lower Troposphere temperature trends between the poles.
It supports cloud cover changes (e.g. via cosmic ray variation) as a major climate influence. In the northern hemisphere and over most of the rest of the total world’s surface, warming occurs when low-lying cloud cover decreases as albedo decreases then, but, over the expanse of Antarctic ice, the ice sheets there can be more white than the cloud tops. An April 11th “does CO2 correlate” WUWT article discusses that more. Of course, a comprehensive look would also include factors like the Antarctic Circumpolar Current’s effect.
Incidentally, such as the Met Office graphs seen in this article have much historical revisionism. For instance, the fear of global cooling in the 1970s did not occur because previous temperatures had so next to nil decline from the late 1930s as the CRU graphs imply (even in the specifically Northern Hemisphere version of them like the CRU graph seen at http://hidethedecline.eu/media/Northern%20hemisphere%20temperatures/NHBROHANredSmall.jpg ).
Rather, history was as illustrated in this image of the November 1976 National Geographic graph:
http://www.freeimagehosting.net/newuploads/adwfb.jpg
… with the 1976 graph also fitting indirectly with
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticIce/Images/arctic_temp_trends_rt.gif
A comparison is at:
http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/decline-temperature-decline-1940-78-the-cold-data-war-170.php
There is so much more that forms the big picture.
For instance, sea level rise rate was on average no more in the second half of the 20th century than the first half (in fact not more than the rise rate in the late 19th century in prolonged recovery from the Little Ice Age), as illustrated by this:
http://i807.photobucket.com/albums/yy357/Gilthan_2009/sealevel20thcentury.jpg
which is from
http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Holgate/sealevel_change_poster_holgate.pdf
which notes:
The first half of the century (1904-1953) had a slightly higher rate (1.91 +/- 0.14 mm/yr) in comparison with the second half of the century (1.42 +/- 0.14 mm/yr 1954-2003).

KR

michael hart – Regarding ~20×10^22 Joules, that number comes from http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ – the 0-2000 meter heat content. ~20×10^22 Joules since 1961.
That’s ocean heat content, which represents ~92% or so of the available mass in the climate. If that energy went into the atmosphere it would have warmed by >40C, two Hiroshima bombs/second, enough energy (over the last 50 years) to boil Sydney Harbor completely dry – every 12 hours from full up (http://tinyurl.com/725v4zn).
Granted, there’s some uncertainty in the earlier OHC numbers. But I don’t think it makes a huge difference if the average energy took 24 hours to boil Sydney Harbor dry or only 6… it’s still a fair bit of heat.

eric1skeptic

KR mentioned “higher amounts of weather activity”. Does that mean a faster water cycle? How much net global cooling will the faster water cycle cause?

KR says:
“If that energy went into the atmosphere it would have warmed by >40C, two Hiroshima bombs/second, enough energy (over the last 50 years) to boil Sydney Harbor completely dry – every 12 hours from full up”
How much is that in Olympic sized swimming pools?

KR

eric1skeptic, michael hart – There doesn’t seem to be a significant trend from the data I’ve seen, but the increases in total water vapor (~4% since the ’70’s) and heat in the atmosphere _may possibly_ be resulting in more storm variations. But honestly, there’s not enough of a trend to be clear. However, given the rather small trend (I haven’t calculated whether it’s significant) in mid-winter extent, I would suspect simple changes in the weather patterns.
Either way – the reductions in spring extent (10-15% over the time shown) indicate either/both a reduction in total snowfall or/and warmer/earlier springs melting the snow faster.