GISS LOTI & NCDC Global Temperature Data Drop in February 2014

This post will serve as February 2014 Global Surface (Land+Ocean) Temperature Anomaly Update

First GISS: Global surface temperatures, as represented by the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data, dropped about 0.25 deg C from January to February 2014. See Figure 1. While month-to-month variations of that magnitude are not unusual, it stands out like a sore thumb sitting there on the end…and helps to draw the eye to the absence of warming since the turn of the century.


Figure 1 – GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index

The following .gif animation presents the January and February 2014 global surface temperature anomaly maps from the GISS map-making webpage. The new option of Robinson projections does a reasonable job of reducing the relative importance of the poles.

GISS LOTI Jan-Feb 2014

Animation 1


Initial Notes: This post contains graphs of running trends in global surface temperature anomalies for periods of 13+ and 16+ years using NCDC global (land+ocean) surface temperature data. They indicate that we have not seen a warming halt (based on 13 years+ trends) this long since the early-1970s or a warming slowdown (based on 16-years+ trends) since the late-1970s.

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

Most of the update graphs in the following start in 1979. That’s a commonly used start year for global temperature products because many of the satellite-based temperature datasets start then.

We discussed why the three suppliers use different base years for anomalies in the post Why Aren’t Global Surface Temperature Data Produced in Absolute Form?


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, GISS LOTI 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 February 2014 GISS global temperature anomaly is +0.45 deg C. It cooled (a decrease of about -0.25 deg C) since January 2014. See Figure 1, above.


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. (Note: the NCDC has been slow with updating the normal data source webpage, so I’ve used the value listed on their State of the Climate Report for February 2014.)

Update: The February 2014 NCDC global land plus sea surface temperature anomaly was +0.41 deg C. See Figure 2. It also dropped considerably (a decrease of -0.24 deg C) since January 2014.


Figure 2 – 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 January 2013 HADCRUT4 global temperature anomaly is +0.51 deg C. See Figure 3. It increased a slight amount (about +0.02 deg C) since December 2013.


Figure 3 – HADCRUT4


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 halt in global warming since 2001 was not unusual. Kevin Trenberth conveniently overlooked the fact that, based on his selected start year of 2001, the halt at that time had lasted 12+ years, not 10.

The period from January 2001 to January 2014 is now 158-months long—more than 13 years. Refer to the following graph of running 158-month trends from January 1880 to January 2014, using the GISS LOTI global temperature anomaly product.

An explanation of what’s being presented in Figure 4: The last data point in the graph is the linear trend (in deg C per decade) from January 2001 to February 2014. It is basically zero. That, of course, indicates global surface temperatures have not warmed during the most recent 157-month period. Working back in time, the data point immediately before the last one represents the linear trend for the 158-month period of December 2000 to January 2013, and the data point before it shows the trend in deg C per decade for November 2000 to November 2013, and so on.

04 NCDC 158-Mnth Trends

Figure 4 – 158-Month Linear Trends

The highest recent rate of warming based on its linear trend occurred during the 158-month period that ended about 2004, but warming trends have dropped drastically since then. There was a similar drop in the 1940s, and as you’ll recall, global surface temperatures remained relatively flat from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. Also note that the early-1970s was the last time there had been a 158-month period without global warming—before recently.


In his RMS article, Kevin Trenberth also conveniently overlooked the fact that the discussions about the warming halt 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 201-months long. The following graph is similar to the one above, except that it’s presenting running trends for 201-month periods.

05 NCDC 201-Mnth Trends

Figure 5 – 201-Month Linear Trends

The last time global surface temperatures warmed at this low a rate for a 201-month period was the late 1970s. Also note that the sharp decline is similar to the drop in the 1940s, and, again, as you’ll recall, global surface temperatures remained relatively flat from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s.

The most widely used metric of global warming—global surface temperatures—indicates that the rate of global warming has slowed drastically and that the duration of the halt 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 13+ year and 16+ year running trends if HADCRUT4 or NCDC or GISS data are used. The major difference in the graphs is with the HADCRUT4 data and it can be seen in a graph of the 13+ 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. Figure 6 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, Figure 7 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 halt in warming.

Figure 8 starts in 2001 which was the year Kevin Trenberth chose for the start of the warming halt in his RMS article mentioned and linked earlier. Because the suppliers all use different base years for calculating anomalies, I’ve referenced them to a common 30-year period: 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.

06 Comparison Starting 1979

Figure 6 – Comparison Starting in 1979


07 Comparison Starting 1998

Figure 7 – Comparison Starting in 1998


08 Comparison Starting 2001

Figure 8 – Comparison Starting in 2001


Figure 9 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.

09 Average

Figure 9 – Average of Global Land+Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly 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. There is a very simple reason for this: the 1997/98 El Niño released enough sunlight-created warm water from beneath the surface of the tropical Pacific to permanently raise the temperature of about 66% of the surface of the global oceans by almost 0.2 deg C. Sea surface temperatures for that portion of the global oceans remained relatively flat until the El Niño of 2009/10, when the surface temperatures of the portion of the global oceans shifted slightly higher again. Prior to that, it was the 1986/87/88 El Niño that caused surface temperatures to shift upwards. If these naturally occurring upward shifts in surface temperatures are new to you, please see the illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” (42mb) for an introduction.


The most recent sea surface temperature update can be found here. The satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature data (Reynolds OI.2) are presented in global, hemispheric and ocean-basin bases.

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March 19, 2014 12:14 pm

the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data, dropped about 0.25 deg C from January to February 2014. See Figure 1. While month-to-month variations of that magnitude are not unusual, it stands out like a sore thumb sitting there on the end…and helps to draw the eye to the absence of warming since the turn of the century.

And like a thumbs-down verdict on AGW.
And like a pointer to the future down-trend this year I’ve been predicting for months: “Going Down!”

March 19, 2014 12:18 pm

And this shows even after their “adjustments,” I presume.

March 19, 2014 12:22 pm

It looks about like the plunge in the AMO chart line.

Box of Rocks
March 19, 2014 12:22 pm

It would be interest to show the highs pressure ridges, low pressure areas and the polar jet superimposed on Animation 1.
I bet it would show the large amounts of polar warming are being caused by high pressure ridges injecting large amounts of air into the polar regions.

Bryan A
March 19, 2014 12:31 pm

Don’t worry too much about that pesky downward trend. Once the Trend is more apparent, the data will be adjusted to eliminate it

March 19, 2014 12:38 pm

Why use the ridiculous 1200 km smoothing? The 250 km option is much more reasonable. It would also make sense to move on to the WMO recommended 1981-2010 anomaly period

Ralph Kramdon
March 19, 2014 12:44 pm

The UAH global temperature for 09/2013 was 0.37 C. The NBC evening news said “the planet is sizzling”. But of course they won’t mention a drop in the global temperature. I hope the general public is aware of such biased reporting.

March 19, 2014 1:15 pm

Looks like another batch of cold air is going to drop down again next week. Wonder how the GISS LOTI & NCDC will look come April.

March 19, 2014 1:42 pm

the 3 month models don’t look good for the warmers
JMA April To June

Tom In Indy
March 19, 2014 1:43 pm

Why aren’t anomalies calculated as deviations from the pre-1950 trend? Wouldn’t the pre-1950 trend do a better job of capturing the trend in natural warming, so that deviations from the pre-1950 trend could be considered an “anomaly”.
It makes no sense to use the current methodology of selecting an arbitrary 30 (or whatever) year period to compute a simple average and claim anything that differs from that fixed point is an “anomaly”.
I’m guessing someone has done this, does anyone have a link?

Village Idiot
March 19, 2014 1:50 pm

Excuse me for being so thick, Professor Bob. You say:
“First GISS: …and helps to draw the eye to the absence of warming since the turn of the century.”
But…GISS ranks 2010 & 2009 as the warmest years, then 2007…then 2003.
Looks from here that the ‘pause’ may be a bit of a myth

Village Idiot
March 19, 2014 1:58 pm

And then NCDC rank 2010 as warmest and 2005 as 2nd warmest.
Again….Looks from here that the ‘pause’ may be a bit of a myth

March 19, 2014 2:02 pm

If you understand the word ‘warming’ to mean derivative of temperature curve greater than zero, and the phrase ‘pause in warming’ to mean the derivative of the temperature curve is statistically zero, then you will understand.
Warming means heating up: pause in warming doesn’t mean cooling off, nor does it mean no longer hot.
Have a great day!

March 19, 2014 2:02 pm

While month-to-month variations of that magnitude are not unusual, it stands out like a sore thumb sitting there on the end…and helps to draw the eye to the absence of warming since the turn of the century.
Oh, we can do better than that:
It helps draw the eye to the absence of warming — in fact, the cooling of almost 0.1 C — from the beginning of 1981 to the present.
Of course this is cherrypicking — but it does lead to a number of interesting questions involving non-Markovian time evolution from a given set of initial conditions. And if you go all the way back to 1940:
GISS LOTI only shows around 0.5 C of warming over the entire period of increasing CO_2, and almost all of that warming occurred in a single stretch 15 years long where (we are told) 15 years is too short an interval to establish a trend as opposed to an state-based coincidence. The average temperature rise from 1940 to today without cherrypicking any particular date is around 0.5/7.5 = 2/3 C/decade. And this is with GISS LOTI — HADCRUT4 is even less impressive, more like 0.6 C/decade.
It will be very, very interesting to see what happens if the NAO follows the same cycle it has followed in the “recent” (thermometric era) past. “The Pause”, or “The Hiatus” could easily extend out two more decades before another bout of warming occurs, and that statement would be independent of possible heterodyning of the various decadal oscillations and the grand solar minimum lasting 2-4 cycles that has at least been credibly hypothesized.
It will be equally interesting to see if HADCRUT4 follows GISS and the LTTs down. There is an entirely puzzling difference of around 0.1 C between the two at the present, making one ask “Anomalies of what, exactly?” that one would be tempted to rack up to the inclusion of UHI in GISS LOTI if it weren’t for the fact that it has the wrong sign.

Gunga Din
March 19, 2014 2:12 pm

Village Idiot says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Uhhh…you (or they) chose 1950 as a starting point. Why not choose 1945 or 1944?
But the real question is still, as it has always been, what did Man have to do with it and what could Man possibly do about it?

March 19, 2014 2:13 pm

Has anyone compared Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) estimate of heating days by region with other estimates put out by U.S. government agencies or funded institutes. For example, Harold Ambler posted a chart earlier prepared by NCDC which showed that temperatures in New England were near normal this winter. In contrast, EIA states that the North East was 13 degrees cooler than last winter. I tend to believe EIA.

March 19, 2014 2:20 pm

This is beginning to have the look of a nice Sine wave fit. If you look at the pre-adjusted temp data showing the 1930’s to be as or hotter than 1998. Gee maybe it’s tide something like a 60 +/- year ocean cycles. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? 🙂

Steve from Rockwood
March 19, 2014 2:23 pm

Village Idiot says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Apparently it takes a village to raise an idiot.
In your first post you show data from 1950 to present where Tisdale was referring to 2000 onward.
In your second link the text “The year 2013 ties with 2003 as the fourth warmest” confirms Tisdale’s point in that it hasn’t warmed in 10 years, otherwise 2013 would be warmer than 2003.
But of course you know that when something peaks and then pauses, the pauses may be near or at the peak for 13 years but they are not continuously increasing (a warming world). Not only is the world not warming but the measured data is falling further and further below the model predictions.

March 19, 2014 2:43 pm

They have their hockey sticks and we have ours!!

March 19, 2014 2:51 pm

Thanks, Bob. An even better article than your always excellent monthly update.
Let us hope last month is not the beginning of a downward trend in temperature.

March 19, 2014 3:17 pm

Village, you really should spend a little time figuring out the difference between United States, and the entire world.

March 19, 2014 3:24 pm

Village Idiot says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm
Looks from here that the ‘pause’ may be a bit of a myth
GISS is flat from July 2001 to February 2014, or 12 years and 8 months. A warm 2010 does not negate that fact.

Ralph Kramdon
March 19, 2014 4:00 pm

I apologize to NBC evening news for saying they don’t mention cold temperatures. This evening they said, “it was the coldest February in 20 years”.

March 19, 2014 4:00 pm

Village Idiot says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm
Looks from here that the ‘pause’ may be a bit of a myth

Strange that AR5 devotes all of Box 9.2 in chapter 9 (which covers pages) to the “pause” if it is “a bit of a myth”. Goodness, all of those climate scientists, writing up three or four distinct possible explanations for a myth that is clearly visible to them in the data!
For all of that, they omitted the most likely explanation — the General Circulation Models do not work and have a substantial warming bias, so the “pause” is, in fact, a myth! It isn’t a pause in ongoing anthropogenic warming, because the predictions of anthropogenic warming that is supposedly pausing are based on broken computational modeling programs.
So I agree, it may well be “mythical” to assert that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming has paused, because it may well never have begun, or may be far smaller than the natural variability, which is currently completely suppressing it.

March 19, 2014 4:10 pm

rgbatduke says:
March 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Well said.
Catastrophic, no.
Anthropogenic, probably not significantly.
Global Warming, probably, starting c. AD 1700, as a centennial scale uptick (with multidecadal fluctuations around the trend line) in the millennial scale cooling trend dating from c. 1000 BC.

Eamon Butler
March 19, 2014 4:23 pm

Nice work Bob. Thanks.

March 19, 2014 4:31 pm

Nothing but data.
Is it crucial, work around, or fix it later ?

Patrick B
March 19, 2014 4:44 pm

I do hope someone is keeping track of all the “16 years is not long enough” comments from the Alarmists. If we ever see any warming, we can use that line for an equivalent period. So even if warming started next month, it would be 2030 before that argument lost its validity.

Pamela Gray
March 19, 2014 6:59 pm

The pause is vewy vewy dangerous and is caused by humans 5…4…3…2…1

March 19, 2014 7:59 pm

milodonharlani as you pointed out to Village Idiot it been warming since AD 1700, let me throw some more gas on the fire the temperature has been on a downward trend since Roman times with a warm bump in the medieval Warming period but the overall trend is down. So let me put it this way. Than God(or Giaa) whom every you worship that is is warm period and let us hope it continues and that this pause is only that since if it is actually a cooling period only disguised by creative accounting God(or Gaia) help us.

Ed, 'Mr' Jones
March 19, 2014 8:37 pm

Village Idiot,
You ought to change your moniker to ‘Village OF Idiots’.
There’s enough in you to pull it off.

John F. Hultquist
March 19, 2014 9:54 pm

Tom In Indy says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm
“. . . an arbitrary 30 (or whatever) year . . .

Near the top, below the first world map, there is a link you might have missed. Beyond that there is always the WMO definition of “normal” that goes back to the mid-1930s. This was before cAGW and modern computers but now people and organizations seem to want something else. If all charts and data sets are clear about what they are using, that’s about the best we can hope for.

John F. Hultquist
March 19, 2014 10:11 pm

Over the past several months I have read many comments by Village Idiot (a he?). It remains unclear to me just what his concern is. The comments are about things of no significance. Apparently he belives CO2 is a serious problem and the world is doomed. And apparently he thinks others do not believe as he does and therefore he must annoy us with trifles.
Maybe, instead of more of the same, Village Idiot can make a statement as to what he thinks about global temperature and whether or not he has any suggestions as to who should do what to make him feel better or less guilty.

Digital Olive
March 19, 2014 11:21 pm

Ed, ‘Mr’ Jones: March 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm: Steve from Rockwood: March 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm:
“Apparently it takes a village to raise an idiot.”
‘Village OF Idiots’.
Comments which are more perceptive than you know!

Stephen Richards
March 20, 2014 2:17 am

jauntycyclist says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm
the 3 month models don’t look good for the warmers
I’m sorry to say this, but as an ex-professional presenter, you video was the worse thing I’ve seen in 50 years and at that time it was film.

Stephen Richards
March 20, 2014 2:20 am

The ‘ village idiot ‘ came from the in-breeding within english villages in medieval times where, because the villages were so isolated after the black death, the only breeding stock available was your familly. Presumably the greenie beenies have been in-breeding for some time now to build up the numbers for attacks on their outside civilisation.

March 20, 2014 3:40 am

Steve from Rockwood says:
March 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm
Village Idiot says:
March 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Apparently it takes a village to raise an idiot.

Nice. LOL.

March 20, 2014 7:34 am

I has a brainwave the other night about “The Pause” and climate sciences explanation for it.
If the science in climate science is settled why wasn’t there peer review papers predicting the pause.
Skeptical Science and climate science can come out with all its explanations after the fact, but the pause wasn’t predicted.
The big (billion dollar) question is why ?
Why didn’t one of the thousands of climate scientists employed around the world predict the slowing down & flat lining of global temperatures.
The explanations for the pause are all well and good, but why weren’t these predicted BEFORE the pause.
Why didn’t climate science predict the oceans wouldn’t take up the excess heat for example ?
The way to pick climate science apart is to ask the questions about the failure of their own predictions.

george e. conant
March 20, 2014 5:32 pm

It takes an idiot to raize a village….should the CAGW policy driving herd run our civilization over the cliffs of mas hysteria while smart lemmings are hiding out with their swedish bow saws and axes and slitting mauls and secreted away their ilegal woodstoves… it will be the cagw skeptics that will get to say ‘I told you so” as starving freezing millions wonder where their leaders are to explain the lack of heat and food and amenities. Sadly, this is a real possibility, should the sun decide to take a nap for 30 years or 300 years, or 3000 years, or 30,000 years, with mile high ice fields plowing under entire cityscapes. Ice Ages are not fun. Food production will be driven toward the equator. After this winter, I am worried we are in for another harsh one 2014/15. Lets see what the next six month’s bring in observed measurements and what the alarmists say about it.

March 21, 2014 12:53 pm

Looking at the ENSO page there is currently this face-off between subsurface warm water in the west Equatorial Pacific and cool subsurface water to the east. Depending on which one wins there could follow either an el Nino or La Nina – my money would be on the latter. That could cool down the remainder of 2014.

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