UAH Global Temperature Update for March, 2014 – status quo

Included in this update, Dr. Spencer also discusses the probability on an El Niño this year, plus what will happen to the trend if it does occur.

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The Version 5.6 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for March, 2014 is +0.17 deg. C, unchanged from February (click for full size version):

UAH_LT_1979_thru_March_2014_v5The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 15 months are:


2013 1 +0.497 +0.517 +0.478 +0.386

2013 2 +0.203 +0.372 +0.033 +0.195

2013 3 +0.200 +0.333 +0.067 +0.243

2013 4 +0.114 +0.128 +0.101 +0.165

2013 5 +0.082 +0.180 -0.015 +0.112

2013 6 +0.295 +0.335 +0.255 +0.220

2013 7 +0.173 +0.134 +0.211 +0.074

2013 8 +0.158 +0.111 +0.206 +0.009

2013 9 +0.365 +0.339 +0.390 +0.190

2013 10 +0.290 +0.331 +0.249 +0.031

2013 11 +0.193 +0.160 +0.226 +0.020

2013 12 +0.266 +0.272 +0.260 +0.057

2014 1 +0.291 +0.387 +0.194 -0.029

2014 2 +0.170 +0.320 +0.020 -0.103

2014 3 +0.170 +0.337 +0.002 -0.002

Potential 2014-15 El Nino Discussion

With the possibility of an El Nino developing later this year (still considered a 50% probability in the latest Climate Prediction Center discussion), there is the possibility of a new record high global temperature if the El Nino is sufficiently strong enough. I personally don’t think this is going to happen, because we are in the negative phase of the PDO (which favors stronger La Nina and weaker El Nino).

If El Nino does develop, peak tropospheric warmth as measured by the satellites tends to lag the surface warming. John Christy sent me this summary of past El Ninos during the satellite record:

82-83 peaked in Mar

86-87 peaked in Feb (86-88 was a weird one)

87-88 peaked in Dec

91-92 fouled up by Pinatubo

94-95 peaked in Apr

97-98 peaked in Apr (just above Feb)

02-03 peaked in Jan

04-05 peaked in Apr

06-07 peaked in Jan

09-10 peaked in Mar

Of course, an El Nino at the end of the record will increase the global temperature trend…at least temporarily…but El Nino is often followed by a cool La Nina, which would basically cancel out that effect.

The global image for March should be available in the next day or so here.

Popular monthly data files (these might take a few days to update):

uahncdc_lt_5.6.txt (Lower Troposphere)

uahncdc_mt_5.6.txt (Mid-Troposphere)

uahncdc_ls_5.6.txt (Lower Stratosphere)

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April 7, 2014 8:54 am

I usually include a link to the preliminary sea surface temperature update on this thread. This month it’s the full update for March 2014:
I’ll try to finish a post tonight about the development phase of the 2014/15 El Nino.

April 7, 2014 8:57 am

Thanks, Dr. Spencer. Good information.
I have posted your new graph in my pages.
And the global temperature is standing still even more. We would get some natural warming from the upcoming El Niño.

April 7, 2014 9:06 am

Will the AMO play a role in all this? If it goes negative and stays that way over the next several decades, and the PDO stays negative, is there a possibility that the temps will begin to fall over the next several decades?

Mark Bofill
April 7, 2014 9:35 am

I’m laying in a stock of popcorn in anticipation of reading headlines like ‘warming resumes with a vengeance, the end is nigh!’ from popular media outlets.

April 7, 2014 9:43 am

Kenny says:
April 7, 2014 at 9:06 am
Will the AMO play a role in all this? If it goes negative and stays that way over the next several decades, and the PDO stays negative,
Since 1850, the PDO cycle phase (30-yr warming/cooling cycles) have matched very well with the warming/cooling trends over the past 163 years as seen in this color coded graph with each color representing a different PDO cycle. The rising colored trends all occurred during PDO warm cycles and all the falling colored temp trends occurred during PDO cool cycles.
The current 30-yr PDO cool cycle started in 2005, so there is a good chance we’ll see cooling temp trends from now until around 2035, especially in light of the AMO entering its 30-yr cool cycle around 2020 and the high probability the next solar cycle from 2020 will be the lowest since the Maunder ended in 1715… There is even some speculation the Sun could enter a 80-yr Grand Solar Minimum starting from 2020 because the Umbral Magnetic Field is continues to collapse (Penn & Livingston et al).
Nature is certainly conspiring against the CAGW warmunists… I almost feel sorry for them…..almost…

April 7, 2014 9:49 am

All the climate models predict temperatures over the tropics should warm much faster than surface temperatures due to increasing mid-troposphere water vapor. But the current temperature anomaly over the tropics is -0.002 deg. C (relative to the 1981-2010 average).
Looks like the millions of weather balloons that measured declining mid-troposphere relative humidity were correct after all! The NOAA radiosonde relative humidity:

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
April 7, 2014 10:09 am

Isn’t there a restless volcano in Ecuador? That might cancel out an El Nino if it goes pop. Yes, no?

April 7, 2014 10:37 am

As far as I understood the ENSO is unpredictable beyond a year or at most two. According to a bit of research I have done multi-variant ENSO is ‘correlated’ to the tectonic activity in the area with about a year delay, which may (or may not) be reason for cause of its unpredictability.

April 7, 2014 10:37 am

Gore might get another Nobel prize with the return of El Nino, of any magnitude.

April 7, 2014 10:44 am

Since WFT uses the 5.5 version, and since the 5.6 version was not changed, I would be pretty close if I assumed the 5.5 version was also unchanged for March. The average for the first quarter of the year would then be 0.163 which would rank it 10th warmest. The record is 1998 at 0.419. So we can calculate what would be required as a 9 month average to set a record as follows: 12(0.419) = 3(0.163) + 9x. Then x would be 0.504. Below is a plot of UAH version 5.5 since 1996 with a mean of 9 months.
So to set a record, it must average 0.504 over the next 9 months and get as high as the 1998 peak. It is starting higher now than in 1997, so it certainly cannot be ruled out that this height can be reached. However I do not believe there is enough time for this to happen in 2014. In 1997, the El Nino started in May 1997 and the peak was not reached until April 1998. Remember, it is not an anomaly of 0.504 in November or December that is needed, but an average of 0.504 over the next nine months. So if April does not show a huge jump, the remaining fewer months have to be higher. And at the moment, we are still in neutral as far as ENSO is concerned.

James at 48
April 7, 2014 10:54 am

Any of the US folks (and folks in other places using internet TV) happen to see the Warming Fest on NBC last night? Neverrrrrrrr mellllllllllting fasterrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

April 7, 2014 11:10 am

Right about now in the Northern Hemisphere, the day over day temperature increase is at it’s max for the year.

Keith A. Nonemaker
April 7, 2014 12:21 pm

RSS now show zero warming for more than half of the entire satellite record.

April 7, 2014 12:49 pm

Not seeing anything yet to indicate a strong El Nino. Trade winds after having slackened some last month look like they are starting to pick up again. Some eastward anomaly in the far western Pacific but reduced from a week or so ago. Not seeing any loading of the Western Pacific Warm Pool, either. So far, if there is going to be an El Nino sort of event, it looks to me like a 2012 weak event.

April 7, 2014 1:50 pm

Since the ENSO can be easily identified and it’s results are well known, would it not be disingenuous to place the blame for any temp increase on CO2?

Mike Maguire
April 7, 2014 2:17 pm

Here’s an article I wrote for our local paper. The title “they” picked out “Carbon dioxide increase not to blame for global warming” is misleading..
If you read the article, I state “This is not to say that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas. It may have been responsible for around half of the mostly beneficial 1 degree Celsius of warming since the Industrial Revolution”
Oh well, they’ve always had a wide open door policy to my articles on weather and climate the last few decades(I was chief meteorologist for a local tv station from 1982-1993)

April 7, 2014 4:01 pm

The SOI is starting to rise again at
Remember that things are upside down “down under” so higher values indicate La Nina, and lower values indicate El Nino. Daily values have risen from -17.95 at the end of March to +11.17 April 7th. The 30 day values are used as forecast indices. -8 or lower indicates El Nino, and +8 or higher indicates La Nina. The 30-day average has just risen above -8, so it’s backing off from the El Nino signal.

April 7, 2014 5:09 pm

Interesting comments on current ENSO conditions. We could be looking at more like a 2007 than a 1997 scenario, i.e. an eventual strong La Nina after near neutrality.

April 7, 2014 6:05 pm

crosspatch (April 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm) “Not seeing anything yet to indicate a strong El Nino. Trade winds after having slackened some last month look like they are starting to pick up again.”
I always look at this index each month:
We are falling far short of 1997’s pace.

April 7, 2014 8:40 pm

Walter Dnes says April 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm
Might be better than you think Walter, those means aren’t centred:
OTOH might just be a flash in the pan:,-12,466

Eric Webb
April 8, 2014 2:19 am

The -PDO is not a viable reason to assume a weaker El Nino, its just an after-effect of ENSO & not to mention, its actually been neutral to slightly positive this year, so that argument has no validity. Not to mention there have been powerful El Ninos during the cold PDO, 1972-73 w/ a 2.1C peak, 1965-66, & 1957-58 were all categorized as “Strong” El Ninos, having tri-monthly values of 1.5C+ for @ least 5 months or more in a row. We are likely to see a strong El Nino evolve this year, the Oceanic Heat Content via Ryan Maue is @ or above 1997, and sub-surface warmth via the current Equatorial Kelvin Wave is actually slightly ahead of 1997-98 in terms of timing, & this current equatorial Kelvin Wave is the strongest we have observed in the satellite era, slightly edging 1997-98. Not to mention the latest monthly SOI value @ -13.3 is the strongest March Value ever observed preceding a 1st yr El Nino (assuming that we are going to see one). We will probably see another significant SOI drop once the MJO & associated WWBs currently entering the Maritime Continent make it into the Pacific in a few weeks, which should completely shut down the easterlies that are still trying to hold on in the eastern Pacific, & it will be the “final nail in the coffin” per say to bring about this El Nino.
Monthly March SOI Values preceding 1st Year El Ninos
Year March Monthly SOI Value
1951 -1.4
1957 – .9
1963 7.3
1965 2.9
1968 -3.0
1972 2.4
1976 13.2
1977 -9.5
1982 2.4
1986 .8
1991 -10.6
1994 -10.6
1997 – 8.5
2002 – 5.2
2004 .2
2006 13.8
2009 .2
Here is the source I used for monthly SOI Values
Just @ a first glance, I tended to take note of how SOI values seemed to crash negative FOLLOWING the peak of an El Nino, not necessarily leading up to it, quite interesting actually.
since 1876, a simple check into the JISAO & CPC ENSO sites as well as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology SOI page will confirm this. In addition, if this El Nino were to start in the AMJ tri-monthly period, history is strongly in favor of the El Nino becoming strong as 5 of 7 1st yr El Ninos that started in the AMJ or MAM period were strong, w/ all El Ninos being @ least moderate. Here are the El Ninos, their beginning tri-monthly period & peak Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) Value) & intensity as indicated by the CPC.
1st Year El Ninos
Year Starting Tri-monthly period Peak ONI El Nino Intensity Overall PDO
#1 1997-98 AMJ 2.4 “Super” Warm
#2 1982-83 AMJ 2.2 Strong Warm
#3 1972-73 AMJ 2.1 Strong Cold
#4 1965-66 AMJ 1.9 Strong Cold
#5 1957-58 MAM 1.8 Strong Cold
#6 1991-92 AMJ 1.6 Moderate Warm
#7 2009-10 JJA 1.6 Moderate Cold
#8 1963-64 MJJ 1.4 Moderate Cold
#9 1986-87 JAS 1.3 Moderate Warm
#10 2002-03 AMJ 1.3 Moderate Warm
#11 1951-52 JJA 1.2 Weak Cold
#12 1994-95 ASO 1.2 Weak Warm
#13 1968-69 JAS 1.0 Weak Cold
#14 2006-07 ASO 1.0 Weak Warm
#15 1976-77 ASO .8 Weak Warm
#16 1977-78 ASO .8 Weak Warm
#17 2004-05 JJA .8 Weak Warm
All signs point towards a formidable El Nino being on the way, likely to be strong, even despite the -PDO signal which has produced 3 strong El Ninos in the past. However, I have doubts that we are going to see the same effects on global temperature & climate (especially in the long term due to faltering AMO, cold PDO, lower solar, etc.) as result of this El Nino.

April 8, 2014 8:37 am

Kenny asked; “…is there a possibility that the temps will begin to fall over the next several decades?”
Great question. Lets face it, until substantial and sustained global cooling occurs, the AGW crowd will continue to win, i.e., until we get global average temperatures at or below levels from year 1980, the AGW crowd will continue to drive policy and society.
Samurai’s link to wood for trees just looks to support the AGW claim of “going up the down escalator”. Someone here should attempt to answer why global temperatures have stayed high after the super El Nino of 1998? One AGW answer is probably: because of GHG’s are not allowing excess heat from escaping. Or GHG’s are allowing excess heat to be trapped in the ocean during the “charging” cycle. Either seems plausible to me. Convince me otherwise.

george e. conant
April 8, 2014 11:39 am

@Steve. To me the many graph’s on this thread show a leveling or a pause in the upstepping temps, what remains to be seen – is this another opportunity for temps to bump up again or not? We just have to wait and see.

April 8, 2014 3:31 pm

Eric Webb says April 8, 2014 at 2:19 am
Yep, the BOM’s subsurface cross-section just updated:
Waiting for JMA’s update:
Anyone know of a similar cross-section showing what’s happening along the final leg of the Humboldt?

Richard Barraclough
April 9, 2014 5:33 am

I wonder if anyone knows why the figures shown in this article do not quite correspond with those on the dataset from which they come?
For example, the headline, and the article both suggest that February’s figure was exactly the same as March’s at 0.170 degrees, but the dataset shows February as 0.18 degrees.
Similarly,the figures for January 2013 are 0.497 and 0.51
The differences are not much, but which is correct?

April 9, 2014 8:01 am

The satellite temp map here:
shows ~1.5C (~3F) below avg at the Hagerstown observers’ location that measured -5.5F. Shallow surface inversions could be responsible, but seems like a big difference.

April 10, 2014 4:07 pm

JMA update now in, here’s my cut and paste composite:
Don’t like the look of that. Rightly or wrongly I always like to look at what’s happening lower down. Utlimately this is all about relative densities (atmospheric and oceanic). Note the timing apparent in the JMA 110°W cross-section:
While that could be an artefact of the manner in which these plots are produced, I doubt that’s the case. Triggering of these events seems not to be entirely surface related and I suspect may contain an element of times past.

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