August 2013 Global Surface (Land+Ocean) Temperature Anomaly Update

I figured today would be a good day to post this, with David Rose’s article in the “Sunday Mail” Met Office proof that global warming is still ‘on pause’ as climate summit confirms global temperature has stopped rising. This post is available just in case someone wants to back David by linking this post once or twice in comments on that thread. It’s really tough to miss the pause in the time-series graphs, and the trend graphs sock the message home.

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Initial Notes: This post contains graphs of running trends in global surface temperature anomalies for periods of 12+ and 16+ years using the NCDC Global (Land and Ocean) Surface Temperature data. They indicate that we have not seen a warming hiatus this long since the 1970s.

Much of the following text is boilerplate. It is intended for those new to the presentation of global surface temperature anomaly data.


Introduction: The GISS Land Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data is a product of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Starting with their January 2013 update, it uses NCDC ERSST.v3b sea surface temperature data. The impact of the recent change in sea surface temperature datasets is discussed here. GISS adjusts GHCN and other land surface temperature data via a number of methods and infills missing data using 1200km smoothing. Refer to the GISS description here. Unlike the UK Met Office and NCDC products, GISS masks sea surface temperature data at the poles where seasonal sea ice exists, and they extend land surface temperature data out over the oceans in those locations. Refer to the discussions here and here. GISS uses the base years of 1951-1980 as the reference period for anomalies. The data source is here.

Update: The August 2013 GISS global temperature anomaly is +0.62 deg C. It warmed (an increase of about 0.09 deg C) since July 2013.





Introduction: The NOAA Global (Land and Ocean) Surface Temperature Anomaly dataset is a product of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NCDC merges their Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 3b (ERSST.v3b) with the Global Historical Climatology Network-Monthly (GHCN-M) version 3.2.0 for land surface air temperatures. NOAA infills missing data for both land and sea surface temperature datasets using methods presented in Smith et al (2008). Keep in mind, when reading Smith et al (2008), that the NCDC removed the satellite-based sea surface temperature data because it changed the annual global temperature rankings. Since most of Smith et al (2008) was about the satellite-based data and the benefits of incorporating it into the reconstruction, one might consider that the NCDC temperature product is no longer supported by a peer-reviewed paper.

The NCDC data source is usually here. NCDC uses 1901 to 2000 for the base years for anomalies.

Update: The August 2013 NCDC global land plus sea surface temperature anomaly is also +0.62 deg C. It increased 0.02 deg C since July 2013.


NCDC Global (Land and Ocean) Surface Temperature Anomalies


Introduction: The UK Met Office HADCRUT4 dataset merges CRUTEM4 land-surface air temperature dataset and the HadSST3 sea-surface temperature (SST) dataset. CRUTEM4 is the product of the combined efforts of the Met Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. And HadSST3 is a product of the Hadley Centre. Unlike the GISS and NCDC products, missing data is not infilled in the HADCRUT4 product. That is, if a 5-deg latitude by 5-deg longitude grid does not have a temperature anomaly value in a given month, it is not included in the global average value of HADCRUT4. The HADCRUT4 dataset is described in the Morice et al (2012) paper here. The CRUTEM4 data is described in Jones et al (2012) here. And the HadSST3 data is presented in the 2-part Kennedy et al (2012) paper here and here. The UKMO uses the base years of 1961-1990 for anomalies. The data source is here.

Update (Lags One Month): The July 2013 HADCRUT4 global temperature anomaly is +0.51 deg C. It increased (about 0.06 deg C) since June 2013.




As noted in my post Open Letter to the Royal Meteorological Society Regarding Dr. Trenberth’s Article “Has Global Warming Stalled?”, Kevin Trenberth of NCAR presented 10-year period-averaged temperatures in his article for the Royal Meteorological Society. He was attempting to show that the recent hiatus in global warming since 2001 was not unusual. Kevin Trenberth conveniently overlooked the fact that, based on his selected start year of 2001, the hiatus has lasted 12+ years, not 10.

The period from January 2001 to August 2013 is now 152-months long. Refer to the following graph of running 152-month trends from January 1880 to May 2013, using the GISS LOTI global temperature anomaly product. The last data point in the graph is the linear trend (in deg C per decade) from January 2001 to the current month. It is basically zero. That, of course, indicates global surface temperatures have not warmed during the most recent 152-month period. Working back in time, the data point immediately before the last one represents the linear trend for the 152-month period of December 2000 to July 2013, and the data point before it shows the trend in deg C per decade for November 2000 to June 2013, and so on.

NCDC 152-Month Trends

152-Month Linear Trends

The highest recent rate of warming based on its linear trend occurred during the 152-month period that ended in late 2003, but warming trends have dropped drastically since then. Also note that about the early 1970s was the last time there had been a 152-month period without global warming—before recently.


In his RMS article, Kevin Trenberth also conveniently overlooked the fact that the discussions about the warming hiatus are now for a time period of about 16 years, not 10 years—ever since David Rose’s DailyMail article titled “Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it”. In my response to Trenberth’s article, I updated David Rose’s graph, noting that surface temperatures in April 2013 were basically the same as they were in June 1997. We’ll use June 1997 as the start month for the running 16-year trends. The period is now 195-months long. The following graph is similar to the one above, except that it’s presenting running trends for 195-month periods.

NCDC 195-Month Trends

195-Month Linear Trends

The last time global surface temperatures warmed at the minimal rate of 0.03 deg C per decade for a 195-month period was the late 1970s.

The most widely used metric of global warming — global surface temperatures — the metric most often used in predictions of future gloom and doom, indicates that the rate of global warming has slowed drastically and that the duration of the hiatus in global warming is unusual during a period when global surface temperatures are allegedly being warmed from the hypothetical impacts of manmade greenhouse gases.


There is very little difference in the end point trends of 12+year and 16+year running trends if HADCRUT4 or NCDC products are used in place of GISS data. The major difference in the graphs is with the HADCRUT4 data and it can be seen in a graph of the 12+year trends. I suspect this is caused by the updates to the HADSST3 data that have not been applied to the ERSST.v3b sea surface temperature data used by GISS and NCDC.


The GISS, HADCRUT4 and NCDC global surface temperature anomalies are compared in the next three time-series graphs. The first graph compares the three global surface temperature anomaly products starting in 1979. Again, due to the timing of this post, the HADCRUT4 data lags the GISS and NCDC products by a month. The graph also includes the linear trends. Because the three datasets share common source data, (GISS and NCDC also use the same sea surface temperature data) it should come as no surprise that they are so similar. For those wanting a closer look at the more recent wiggles and trends, the second graph starts in 1998, which was the start year used by von Storch et al (2013) Can climate models explain the recent stagnation in global warming? They, of course found that the CMIP3 (IPCC AR4) and CMIP5 (IPCC AR5) models could NOT explain the recent hiatus.

The third comparison graph starts with Kevin Trenberth’s chosen year of 2001. All three of those comparison graphs present the anomalies using the base years of 1981 to 2010. Referring to their discussion under FAQ 9 here, according to NOAA:

This period is used in order to comply with a recommended World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Policy, which suggests using the latest decade for the 30-year average.

Comparison 1979 Start

Comparison Starting in 1979


Comparison 1998 Start

Comparison Starting in 1998


Comparison 2001 Start

Comparison Starting in 2001


The last graph presents the average of the GISS, HADCRUT and NCDC land plus sea surface temperature anomaly products. Again because the HADCRUT4 data lags one month in this update, the most current average only includes the GISS and NCDC products. The flatness of the data since 2001 is very obvious, as is the fact that surface temperatures have rarely risen above those created by the 1997/98 El Niño.


Average of Global Land+Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Products


I published the post Models Fail: Land versus Sea Surface Warming Rates a few days after I published my ebook Climate Models Fail. Though the graphs in the post were from the book, the Table and text were not. That method of showing and discussing the models’ failings occurred to me after I published Climate Models Fail.

I’ve decided to make available the additional posts about climate model failings, as they’re posted, as supplements to Climate Models Fail, in .pdf format. So if you’d like a copy of the post Models Fail: Land versus Sea Surface Warming Rates in .pdf format, click here. I’ll also include them as links on the post that introduced Climate Models Fail.

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September 29, 2013 9:24 pm

Thanks, Bob! That is a very convincing analysis and presentation. Let’s see how the policy makers respond to all this good news!

September 29, 2013 9:30 pm

Come on now!
Give up on the linear temperature graph and at least plot an “S” curve … Flat in the mid-70’s, rising to the late 90’s, then flat again since 1996. 8<)
Then again, it's getting bad for the CAGW crowd when even GISS is plottin' negative slopes.

Rob Dawg
September 29, 2013 9:55 pm

The distinctive lack of warming is obviously human caused and the horrible consequence is that the well documented benefits of a warming climate are not being enjoyed by the world’s poorest.

September 29, 2013 10:57 pm

Rob Dawg, I think you have put you finger on the pulse. There are in many countries, a great division between the rich and poor, India, China, America too, Pakistan, Indonesia. There must be internal resentments and religious tensions. So the UN say their problems are caused by the developed countries, including their poverty. I just think that we can’t help them change their natural environment (Well we can and introduce better farming methodologies) or political and often corrupt governments. If you have ever lived in the Middle East as I have, poverty in some sections of the community is very noticeable, and its the Orthodox Christians that are generally better off than the Muslim communities. (In Cyprus). Or the Jews as in Israel. We have to accept this and although we can help, the religious and ideological differences hold people back like the Hindu cast system, and can you blame them for wanting to flee and come here? The climate has nothing to do with it, it the social/political/religious/economic status of millions of people who are caught in the poverty trap.

September 29, 2013 11:54 pm

Don’t leave out Russia there, bushbunny. Putin has five yachts and fifty eight private aircraft. It truly is just mindbogglingly corrupt.
And… Here, nothing changes, we’ve three corrupt turds of administrations in a row. Check out the 5th anniversary interview.

Tatonka Chesli
September 30, 2013 1:49 am

If temperatures maintain even a weak upward trend to the end of the year, then there could be a steep drop in temperatures in the start of 2014. If you look at el Nino and La Nina events, large temperature drops after an el Nino always start in Jan-Feb, and significantly reduce global temperatures. By contrast, the temperature falls after peaks in summer are always weaker (and form part of a rising trend). We are not of course in an el Nino, nor really La Nina – the ENSO status (Nina 3.4 index) has persisted around zero for an unusually long time. But if a temperature drop is going to take place, the most likely time for this to begin, for synchrony with the normal annual phase-locked ENSO cycling, is after the new year.
It has been noted in regard to the longer term record over tens of millennia – i.e. the recent few glacial-interglacial cycles, that temperatures are less stable and fluctuate more widely during periods of cooling compared with warming periods. This might also be true on smaller decadal scales, the graphs of 152 and 195 month averaged trends seem to indicate this. The curve is more ragged during the 1890-1920 and the 1945-1975 cooling periods compared to the warmer periods.

September 30, 2013 2:10 am

Why is the period 1951 to 1980 being used. It used to be 1961 to 1990 although by now it should surely be 1981 to 2010.
What would your first graph look like if rebased to the latest climatic period of 30 years?

September 30, 2013 2:40 am

Supposing the 1981 to 2010 is 0.2K warmer than the one used in the graphs. You subtract 0.2 form the y axis !!
If the annual cycle is a little smaller/larger in the recent period, the residual annual noise will be a little larger/smaller in the ” anomaly ” plot.
What are you expecting to see?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 30, 2013 3:17 am

The UAH satellite record, from start of 1979 to start of 2013, also expressed as decade-long trend lines, with start/stop years spaced out in three year increments, from WoodForTrees:
UAH 1979-2013 w/ trends
What does this tell you about “global warming”? Sort of looks like a noisy step change between flat sections.
For comparison, look at the same thing but with GISTEMP LOTI instead. Note how these trends look more homogenous:
GISTEMP LOTI 1979-2013 w/ trends
Notice how UAH shows an almost flat trend in the earlier periods, where GISTEMP shows significant warming.
For example, the UAH trend for 1979-89 is only +0.0014°C/yr, while the insignificant warming of 2003-13 is more than twice as much, +0.0033°C/yr.
But GISTEMP? For 2003-13 they actually show only a tenth of what UAH does, a tiny +0.0003°C/yr.
However for 1979-89, GISTEMP shows a shocking +0.0090°C/yr, six times more than UAH. From effectively nothing for UAH, to practically a full Celsius degree a century for GISTEMP, way back when atmospheric CO₂ concentrations were much lower.
Clearly 1979-89 has become much worse than we knew it was then, according to GISS.
Apparently “The Pause” must be very shocking to the keepers of the GISS temperature data records, as they haven’t allowed themselves to see anything like it for over 34 years.

September 30, 2013 5:47 am

“It is intended for those new to the presentation of global surface temperature anomaly data.”
Maybe include a table of acronyms or APA style for those newbies. I see it constantly where folks in specific industries or disciplines assume everyone is clairvoyant. -thanks

September 30, 2013 6:33 am

and yet –
28 Sept: WalesOnline: Ex Met Office chief in global warming appeal
Sir John Houghton says UN report leaves ‘almost no doubt at all’ humans are to blame for global warming
Former head of the Met Office Sir John Houghton said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that even if we “turned off the carbon dioxide tap” the planet would continue heating up for another half a century.
Sir John, who is a former Nobel Prize winning chair of the Intergovernmental Panel, said the report shows the risks of failing to act over global warming are now simply too great to gamble on…
The retired scientist, from Aberdyfi, in Gwynedd, who was among a group of researchers to accept the Nobel Prize in 2007 on behalf of the IPCC – an honour they shared with former US vice president Al Gore – added: “If we don’t turn it off now, but wait 10 or 20 years then we’ll have even more to try to adjust to.”…
But others maintain a pause in warming since 1998 supports their claims climate change has been exaggerated.
Dutch science writer Marcel Crok has expressed doubts about the scale of the sensitivity of the climate to carbon emissions.
He told the BBC: “The sceptics now have a feeling of being on the winning side of the debate thanks to the pause.
“You are now starting to see a normalisation of climate science. Suddenly mainstream researchers, who all agree that greenhouse gases play a huge role, start to disagree about the cause of the pause.”
But the Climate Change Commission for Wales, which includes scientists, business leaders and politicians, said the IPCC’s report shows it’s time for urgent action….

Bruce Hall
September 30, 2013 6:40 am

I’ve often commented that if you pick the low point of a cyclical time series, you will always get a rising or, at a minimum, flat trend. So go back exactly 100 years as do your trend analysis… high point to high point. What do you get? Surprise, surprise.

Doug Proctor
September 30, 2013 8:01 am

It goes on and on: “statistics” shows either a continued warming, with a 98-05 “natural” extra warming and an 05-13 natural extra cooling, or a warming to about 2001 and a standstill since then (or minor cooling).
The public thinks that statistics ferrets out hidden, inviolable, rock-hard truths. Fact is, statistics finds the kind of things it is structured to find, if the data is structured that they can be found. The public also thinks – correctly, actually – that a statistical treatment of the past is useful for predicting the future. Ironically enough, the IPCC use statistics in this way – unprecedented, warmest decade for hundreds of years etc. – while denying that the past has relevance to the special days of the present.
Why are we using linear interpretations on clearly cyclic phenomena? Because the IPCC, with their Unique Solution of post-LIA temperature changes due to anthropogenic CO2 (at least that is how they have informed the public) model a direct connection of temperature to CO2 levels. All non-linear behaviour, by definition, cannot be CO2 and must be minor variations on a linear relationship to CO2. An item of circular reasoning. If we were to – correctly – show that the changes in temperatures were cyclic with step-functions, it would be, by definition, wrong, as it would confound a CO2-linear rise with natural cyclic variations.
Statistics are tools, not results, as a chisel is not a Chippendale chair. But the public does not understand this.

September 30, 2013 10:29 am

highflight56433 says: “Maybe include a table of acronyms or APA style for those newbies. I see it constantly where folks in specific industries or disciplines assume everyone is clairvoyant. -thanks”
There’s a glossary concealed above on the WUWT menu under “Resources.”

September 30, 2013 10:37 am

What 10 to 17 to 18 year pause? Based on your 152 month chart, there hasn’t been any global warming in 118 years. I won’t be holding my breath for the “No Global Warming For Last 118 Years” headline to pop up anywhere though.

September 30, 2013 11:49 am

pat says:
“Sir John, who is a former Nobel Prize winning chair of the Intergovernmental Panel”
Interesting wording by Wales Online.
Was he formerly a Nobel Prize winner? Or was he formerly a chair of the panel who claimed to have won a Nobel Prize, like so many others claimed?

September 30, 2013 12:55 pm

Whilst entirely supportive in wishing to see a little warming – longer growing season, etc. – I fear that a little global cooling ma come our way.
Bob Tisdale:[Admiral; Engineer; Professor; Vicar; whosoever?] your graphs above are clear.
And – ever-so-hugely worrying.
What if the climate change is negative?
Even – on average, remember, half a degree [F or C – impact is parallel] – it’ll be cooler.
We’re trying to feed 7+ billion people. Per Willis E, not all of the social and political systems are set up to do that.
Sound – but can we not do a little bit more?

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