February 1998 Global Temperatures Reach Unprecedented Levels

Guest Post

The satellite-measured temperature of the lower troposphere—the layer of Earth’s atmosphere that’s closest to the surface—has risen about 0.75 deg C (more than 1.3 deg F) in less than a year in 1997 and 1998, astounding climate scientists from around the world and confirming that man-made greenhouse gases are causing catastrophic global warming.

Figure 1 - Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies

“At that rate”, a poultry scientist said, “in just a few years, eggs will cook inside the chickens.”

A paleoclimatologist who plays hockey in his spare time told this reporter, “Tree rings are growing at an unprecedented rate.  Bad for trees, good for hockey sticks.”

I received a Western Union telegram from the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  It read:

February 1998 temperature updates from NASA, NOAA, and UKMO.  WOW!!!  Never Before Seen.  Unprecedented in Thousands of Years.

Figure 2 - Surface Temperature Anomalies

In response to reports of rising sea levels and marine species migrating to land to avoid boiling their brains in the overheated oceans, a representative of the bankrupt fishing industry reports, “People don’t need fishermen anymore, they just go into their backyards and pick up a flounder or two from their gardens.”

“Over the past year or so, global warming has accelerated to never-before-seen rates,” says a lead author of the reports from United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  “Our climate models told us that we’d soon reach a tipping point. I believe we’ve reached it.”

An “independent researcher”, who requested anonymity, has a different perspective.  As he wrote in a fax:

The recent spike in global surface and lower troposphere temperatures is nothing to be concerned about.  It is how the Earth responds to an El Niño event.

An El Niño is a periodic warming of the surfaces of eastern tropical Pacific.  Changes in weather cause warm subsurface waters in the western tropical Pacific, created by the tropical sun, to rush eastward and rise to the surface of the eastern Pacific along the equator. All of that warm water rising to the surface causes surfaces of the tropical Pacific to warm. Outside of the tropical Pacific, global surfaces warm due to changes in atmospheric circulation caused by the El Niño.

Soon, global surface temperatures will decline as the tropical Pacific goes from El Niño (warm phase) to La Niña (cool phase).  But surface temperatures never return to the earlier values because, after the El Niño, all of the leftover warm water from the El Niño is simply spread around the ocean surfaces.  In effect, an El Niño causes an upward jump in global surface temperatures.  That’s one of the ways Mother Nature has devised to warm the surface of our planet.

That’s far too complex for this reporter to grasp, so I’ll continue to believe man-made greenhouse gases caused the recent spike in global temperatures.

77 thoughts on “February 1998 Global Temperatures Reach Unprecedented Levels

    • I will sell my waterfront property when Professor Tim Flannery, Chief Counsellor of The Climate Council, sells his waterfront. At the moment his investment strategy is to buy up his neighbours waterfront properties.

  1. Has anyone considered what this effect will have on the Yeti’s? We need to start a save the Yeti’s from Climate Change organization ASAP. As I understand it, Yeti’s are primarily in under developed countries.

  2. February 1998 Global Temperatures Reach Unprecedented Levels
    Did it hurt? Just because it’s different does not mean that it is bad.

  3. But the actual graphs are not “April fools” I trust. In other words, the commentary is hilarious, but similar to today from some quarters, on the other hand I trust that the graphs have not been doctored i.e. homogenized.

      • What a clever way to do an April’s fool trick : a lovely, fine satire. The real fools are the imagined (but real) alarmists of 2016 who are running scared with the present El Nino event. Good job Bob.

  4. CO2 causes everything. Therefore i have decided to run my heat and air conditioning at the same time. Thus I will be prepared for anything. — Eugene WR Gallun

    • I used to work in a computer lab where that happened all the time. We had two independent units that were on all of the time, and not enough computers in the room. Even though they were set to the same temperature, the actual set points were a few tenths of a degree apart. As a result that unit with the lower set point would try to heat the room, while the unit with the higher set point tried to cool the room.

  5. This is a game-changer! Gone are the stable temperatures of the 1965-1978 ‘hiatus’ period. Clearly, we have entered into a period of rapid temperature increase much like the pre-WWII run up. It’s Deja-vu all over again!

    • A rapid gain in one month, and a rapid loss over the next couple.
      Its called an El Nino… followed by a La Nina.

  6. Well, this is interesting and all that but, it has been known for sometime time that earth was going to go the way of Venus. What my inquiring mind really wants to know is: What is the increased likelihood of an asteroid strike due to the Unprecedented increase in CO2? I mean, it’s well know that CO2 alters the gravitational flux thereby attracting space rocks. Will we go out with a bang like the dinosaurs or will Gaia serve us up on a silver platter with an apple in our mouth first?

    • @SMC. .. Were you being serious when you wrote: “..earth was going to go the way of Venus”? In any case, the statement is problematic because Earth and Venus are very different planets, and therefore they cannot be directly compared.
      1. Venus (like Mars) does not have a strong magnetic core. Therefore there aren’t any extensive magnetic fields to help protect the planet. Apparently, gases like hydrogen, helium, and oxygen ions, would have been swept away by the solar wind over very long periods of time, leaving the higher-mass molecules like carbon dioxide. (“Venus as a more Earth-like planet”, _Nature_ 450, Nov. 2007.)
      2. Venus was left with a very dense atmosphere. It is more than 96% carbon dioxide.
      3. The atmosphere’s pressure at the surface is 92 times more than Earth’s pressure.
      4. Venus is considerably closer to the Sun, at about 0.72 of the distance from the Sun to the Earth.
      5. The equator rotates at 6.5 km/h or 4 mph. (The Earth’s is about 1,670 km/h or 1,040 mph). Therefore a Venus day is *very long! Venus takes 243 Earth days to rotate once.
      6. Naturally given the above, Venus does not have biomass, or oceans, to absorb some of the CO2, and it does not have a carbon cycle to lock carbon back into the rocks.

  7. Anthony + Mods apparently did not like my idea of a Freaky Friday Fools day open thread for hoax postings. Now we have our regulars doing Fools Day posts.
    And I was so looking forward to doing a post on Atlantis in the Bermuda Triangle. Maybe next year.
    And, no Bob, I did not think for a second that you had just lost your mind.

  8. Bob Tisdale I have a question, if you don’t mind.
    “But surface temperatures never return to the earlier values because, after the El Niño, all of the leftover warm water from the El Niño is simply spread around the ocean surfaces. In effect, an El Niño causes an upward jump in global surface temperatures.”
    If this were accurate then the earth’s surface would warm with every El Nino and since they occur every ten years or so the earth’s temperature would go higher and higher. Obviously that hasn’t happened.
    Am I misinterpreting what you are saying?

    • I was about to ask the same thing. Ultimately all the energy comes from the sun. Are we talking about a long term energy cycle, where warm water is heated by the sun and then sequestered for centuries, then emerges to warm the surface? This would be followed by a cooling as the warm water was replaced.

      • Bob,
        If this heat is coming out of the ocean then surely we’d expect to see a concurrent decrease in ocean heat content – over the long term I mean.
        Yet over the course of the satellite record there has been both land and sea surface warming and lower troposphere warming alongside an increase in ocean heat content.
        If there had been a corresponding increase in total solar irradience over the same period then that might be the explanation – but there hasn’t been. TSI has been in decline since 1979.
        So where is this extra heat supposedly coming from?

      • “So where is this extra heat supposedly coming from?”
        Solar TSI via being inhibited in leaving to space via ghg’s.

      • Thanks for the link Bob,
        I always read and appreciate your posts and I think AGW is an over-hyped non-problem. I understand that El-Ninos cause heat to be moved from the Pacific Ocean to the atmosphere. And I think that there has been some modest warming over the last century and that a bit of it is probably from anthropogenic CO2.
        I see the steps in the graph to which you linked, but as I asked, will that heat not disapate and the earth;s temperature return to a lower level? Does every El-Nino event raise the earth’s temperature and continue to do so?
        I’m not challenging your ides just asking you to clarify this point.

    • Exactly so seaice1 and blindingly obvious to boot.
      An El Nino is not a source of heat that magically comes into play every few years and lifts temps to a new level with only a “pause” between.
      That is what we see today – but only because of the back-ground forcing of AGW.
      We should see a cyclic variation around a neutral temp as the largest heat-sink in the universe alternately disgorges and than absorbs (net) solar TSI into the atmosphere.

      • Unless the energy was stored a long time ago, before the current rise. Is this plausible?

      • seaice1
        “Unless the energy was stored a long time ago, before the current rise. Is this plausible?”
        Stored where, though? If this energy were stored somewhere then it should be easy enough to measure the decline of heat energy from that source.
        The energy that warmed the surface post 1979 wasn’t stored in the oceans, because ocean heat content has also risen since 1979.
        Whatever the source of the observed surface and lower troposphere warming, it’s clear that it wasn’t heat leaving the oceans.

      • DWR4. It des not sound plausible to me, then again neither does the Copenhagen interpretation of QM and I am prepared to give that house room. It is the only way I can see to logically allow El Nino be currently warming the world. So if someone can explain how this could happen I will listen. So far nobody has.

    • Yes, but March 1998 was 0.475, whereas March 2016 was 0.73…
      … and February 1998 was 0.653, whereas February 2016 was 0.834…
      That’s a bit of an odd game, isn’t it?

  9. Is switching from natural wooden hockey sticks to blades made from fossil fuels a net sequestration?

      • I’ll take a carbon hockey stick. I can use it to swat away dodgy science papers produced with government grants.

  10. 1998 was the year that New York became partially submerged and they renamed it New Venice. All of the taxis were replaced with gondolas, and scuba diving in the subways became the hip new thing to do.

  11. In Oz our BOM (bureau of manipulation) has just announced “warmest March evaaaah” but
    Is this adjusted or unadjusted
    Since actual records began
    Since records began 20 years ago
    After factoring in all the above I’m thinking yeah whatever !

  12. This post by the estimable Bob Tisdale is eerily similar to the April Fool’s joke started 30 years ago (and still running) by James Hansen claiming that CAGW was real.
    Time for it to stop so we can get back to more important subjects.

    • AGW is real. CAGW may or may not be.
      It is a term invented by “sceptics” not climate scientists.

      • Yes, we KNOW the calculated warming of the global surface temperature is MASSIVELY human affected.

      • And seriously Toneb.. the whole meme of the AGW “climate scientist” is one of predicting catastrophe after catastrophe…….
        You know that… EVERYBODY knows that.
        So please stop trying to run from that fact, it make you even more stupid than usual.

  13. This is wonderful, Bob. I enjoyed this very much. Can’t wait to pick up a fish or two from my back yard. Chickens laying boiled eggs will save time too. 🙂

  14. Steve Fraser
    April 1, 2016 at 7:58 am:
    If I read this correctly, now down below,the 1998 peak.
    I don’t know, have you seen the latest changes to the surface temperature charts? I saw one the other day that showed 1998, as an also-ran, cooler than subsequent years. 1998 has been demoted.

  15. in the future their may well be equal or greater changes in temperature in the opposite direction.

  16. Nonlinearities in patterns of long term ocean warming
    Geophys. Res. Lett. 1944-8007 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016GL068041

    The ocean dominates the planetary heat budget and takes thousands of years to equilibrate to perturbed surface conditions, yet those long time scales are poorly understood. Here we analyze the ocean response over a range of forcing levels and time scales in a climate model of intermediate complexity and in the CMIP5 model suite. We show that on century to millennia time scales the response time scales, regions of anomalous ocean heat storage, and global thermal expansion depend non-linearly on the forcing level and surface warming. As a consequence, it is problematic to deduce long term from short term heat uptake or scale the heat uptake patterns between scenarios. These results also question simple methods to estimate long term sea level rise from surface temperatures, and the use of deep sea proxies to represent surface temperature changes in past climate.

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