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.

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April 1, 2016 6:19 am

hahaha … not April fools?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 7:07 am

Not as funny as the silly one that suggested Sarah Palin should be on some climate-change panel! That was hilarious!

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 7:24 am

Well done Bob. They are so ridiculous, it’s almost impossible to parody but you made a good job of it. Very funny.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 8:00 am

Not at all. In Climate Science PR, practically every day is like April Fools.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 9:10 am

“Unprecedented in Thousands of Years…director of NASA’s Goddard Institute”
Wait, that’s not real?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 3:47 pm

You have GOT to send that to The Onion! 😉

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 2, 2016 4:59 pm

I suspected it was tongue in cheek 🙂

April 1, 2016 6:21 am

Temperatures today are dangerously higher than they were on April 1 of last year.

April 1, 2016 6:24 am

I’ll just turn down the air conditioning and turn up the dehumidifier. Me no worry.

April 1, 2016 6:26 am

….Aprils Liberal Fools Day !! Or as my buddy here likes to say…” Oh FFS ” !! LOL

Gordon Ford
April 1, 2016 6:27 am

I sold my waterfront property three years ago. Smart eh?

Reply to  Gordon Ford
April 1, 2016 7:08 am

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.

April 1, 2016 6:28 am

LMFAO – Good one 🙂

April 1, 2016 6:30 am

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.

Reply to  Djozar
April 1, 2016 7:04 am

Yeti’s are a myth they’re just Swedish hippies who go lost in the Himalayas the 1960s, without scissors or toe-nail clippers.

Reply to  Unmentionable
April 1, 2016 7:33 am

Well, then we need to send in Eric Cartman in to clean them out.

Reply to  Unmentionable
April 1, 2016 6:43 pm

Wait, do hippies even know how to use scissors and toe-nail clippers?

George Daddis
April 1, 2016 6:33 am

It’s clear the “independent researcher” has no credibility at all. Wait until he tries to get an article published in WATTSUPWITHTHAT!

April 1, 2016 6:37 am

Wow, a telegram! Unprecedented since the 1950’s! 🙂

April 1, 2016 6:38 am

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

April 1, 2016 6:55 am

..If you torture the temperature data long enough, it will confess to anything !

April 1, 2016 7:01 am

Unicorns and fairies at great risk from CAGW! 🙂

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 1, 2016 7:34 am

Is MBP aware of this (Man-Bear Pig)?

Tom Norkunas
April 1, 2016 7:02 am

Dang! That’s funny!

John Peter
April 1, 2016 7:04 am

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.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 2, 2016 7:47 am

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.

Roy Spencer
April 1, 2016 7:07 am

These days, satire is redundant.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 7:58 am

If I read this correctly, now down below,the 1998 peak.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 1:06 pm

You also forgot to post the link on Dr. Spencer’s Blog explaining where the Feb ‘peak’ in the NH came from:
I have yet to see anyone explain how the heat over western Russian/Eastern Europe was connected to El Nino. Also, if El Nino *did* cause the heat over Europe/Russia, was that also what caused the heat spike in 97/98 El Nino too?

Reply to  Roy Spencer
April 2, 2016 6:03 am

These days satire is impossible. Their real serious behaviour is so deranged that no satire can exaggerate it.

Eugene WR Gallun
April 1, 2016 7:08 am

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

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
April 1, 2016 7:10 am

Good thinking 99.

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
April 1, 2016 2:05 pm

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.

Steve Fraser
April 1, 2016 7:15 am

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!

Reply to  Steve Fraser
April 2, 2016 4:30 am

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

April 1, 2016 7:29 am

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?

Reply to  SMC
April 1, 2016 4:06 pm

“CO2 alters the gravitational flux”.
And here I was thinking that CO2 just puffed up the atmosphere making us a bigger target. 🙂

Peter Yates
Reply to  SMC
April 3, 2016 10:26 pm

. .. 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.

April 1, 2016 7:35 am

Remember that this is CO2 – Twice as deadly as regular CO.

April 1, 2016 7:41 am

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.

April 1, 2016 7:47 am

Joking aside, March UAH is down slightly from February, but 0.73C is still by far the warmest March anomaly in the UAH record: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2016/04/uah-v6-global-temperature-update-for-march-2016-0-73-deg-c/

Reply to  DWR54
April 1, 2016 7:25 pm


Rainer Bensch
Reply to  DWR54
April 2, 2016 4:06 am

So what?

Reply to  DWR54
April 2, 2016 4:32 am

And nearly all that anomaly is over the NH winter.
I know a Russian guy, lives up there… he is LOVING -15 instead of -30 !!!
But it ain’t “warm”

April 1, 2016 7:54 am

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?

Reply to  Lancifer
April 1, 2016 8:18 am

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.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 9:50 am

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?

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 2:06 pm

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

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
April 1, 2016 4:15 pm

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.

Reply to  Lancifer
April 1, 2016 8:32 am

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.

Reply to  Toneb
April 1, 2016 9:21 am

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

Reply to  Toneb
April 1, 2016 11:37 am

“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.

Reply to  Toneb
April 1, 2016 1:45 pm

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.

April 1, 2016 8:04 am

Now I’m worried about the chickens.
Thanks a bunch Bob.
(is /sark tag necessary?)

April 1, 2016 8:22 am

The April 1998 anomaly was 0.743.
The March 2016 anomaly is 0.73.

Reply to  Werner Brozek
April 1, 2016 11:34 am

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?

April 1, 2016 8:35 am

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

Reply to  Rob Dawg
April 1, 2016 3:49 pm

Carbon! We need hockey sticks made from CARBON, like the tennis rackets!

Richard G
Reply to  Goldrider
April 1, 2016 7:55 pm

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

Travis Casey
April 1, 2016 9:15 am

“As he wrote in a fax” HAHA. And my pager alerted me to come read this post.

Reg Nelson
April 1, 2016 9:24 am

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.

Reply to  Reg Nelson
April 1, 2016 2:11 pm

Did the remember to de-energize the third rail before letting the scuba divers in there?

April 1, 2016 1:34 pm

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 !

John in Oz
April 1, 2016 3:14 pm

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.

Reply to  John in Oz
April 1, 2016 10:59 pm

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

Reply to  Toneb
April 2, 2016 4:34 am

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

Reply to  Toneb
April 2, 2016 4:37 am

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.

April 1, 2016 3:53 pm

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. 🙂

April 1, 2016 8:04 pm

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.

April 2, 2016 7:06 am

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

David L. Hagen
April 2, 2016 2:45 pm

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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