Global Temperature Trend Update, February 2011

Every month University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer report the latest global temperature trends from satellite data. Below are the newest data updated through February, 2011:

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade


February temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: -0.02 C (about 0.04 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.

Northern Hemisphere: -0.04 C (about 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.

Southern Hemisphere: ±0.00 C (about 0.00 degrees Fahrenheit) above/below 30-year average for February.

Tropics: -0.35 C (about 0.63 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.


January temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: -0.01 C below 30-year average

Northern Hemisphere: -0.06 C below 30-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.04 C above 30-year average

Tropics: -0.35 C below 30-year average

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Go here to see the monthly data.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • QuietDesperation||

    WE AM TEH DOOMED!

  • Mike M.||

    Be sure to fill out your tournament brackets for America's toughest weather city.

  • sarcasmic||

    CO2 concentration is something in the order of 380ppm.
    That reduces to 38/100,000.
    That is the equivalent to 38 pennies out of a thousand dollars.
    Climate alarmists say that if that number goes up to 500ppm or 600ppm that we're looking at total doom.
    That's the equivalent to 50 or 60 pennies out of a thousand dollars.

    I'm sorry, but that just doesn't pass the straight face test.

  • Id||

    You can't think of any substance in any situation that even at low concentrations could cause serious damage? No? (Not that I'm an AGW cheerleader, but your logic frankly sucks)

  • Spencer||

    Agreed. Think about, for instance, the amount of cyanide you would need to die compared to all the chemical compounds in your whole body.

  • Paul||

    Well considering that CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, not even a major greenhouse gas, it's pretty reasonable to conclude that low concentrations of CO2 would have a negligible effect on climate. Especially when you consider that methane has a significant impact on climate, and huge amounts of methane emissions are a result of natural phenomenon.

  • Paul||

    Point being that with competing greenhouse gases that we're discovering which might have greater impact than previously thought, even a doubling of CO2 alone may not have any significant effect.

  • Spencer||

    yes, unless you are at capacity already. Then, even the small amount is intolerable. I'm not saying that's what's happening, but it IS logical- at some point.

  • Paul||

    Now try to get two scientists to agree on what "capacity" is, or what a "normal global temperature" is (within 1.5 or 2c). I mean, we know Al Gore wants us to return to our "God-given, stable seasons".

  • Overt||

    Guys, this whole "trace amounts of CO2" is unscientific and stupid.

    Trace amounts of carbon when mixed with iron make steel, which has very different properties than cast iron. Trace amounts CAN make a difference.

    There is real, measurable data that shows how going from 380 PPM to 500 PPM will change the absorption of heat. It is a real amount. It is not negligible. I welcome you to go look them up.

    If you want to argue about "teh science" then you need to understand how scientists are then taking that number and modifying it based on their prediction of the impact to our dynamic ecosystem. For example, if temperatures raise .5 degrees, no big deal until it causes oceans to start releasing even more CO2- at which point the climate gets even hotter.

    I am a skeptic, but you need to educate yourselves more to make sure you aren't an ignorant skeptic. That, as a trace element, CO2 has a significant effect is a scientific fact. We are less sure of the feedback mechanisms that would purportedly cause DOOM, and even less certain of whether or not that DOOM would be less costly to adapt to than to prevent today.

  • Smartass||

    ---"but you need to educate yourselves more to make sure you aren't an ignorant skeptic. That, as a trace element, CO2 has a significant effect is a scientific fact"---

    CO2 is a compound, not an element.

  • wildbillnj||

    IIRC, the original DOOM was not costly at all - it was free. Or maybe I got a bootleg copy from my college roommate. I'll be damned if I know. Helluva game, though. It's the primary reason I had a 2.02 GPA that year.

  • sarcasmic||

    When put into perspective - 38 pennies from a 600lb bag - my bullshit detector goes berserk.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Id,

    You can't think of any substance in any situation that even at low concentrations could cause serious damage?


    You mean as dangerous as CO2 or MORE dangerous than CO2?

    Because I can think of a concentration increase from 0.0387% per volume to 0.05% per volume of water in the air, and still feel fine. Or Argon, and still feel fine. Or pollen, and still feel find (if a little sneezy.)

    CO2 is NOT a dangerous chemical, not at those very reduced levels of concentration. Talk to me when we're inside a bathyscaphe or a moon lander.

  • Zeb||

    No one is saying that it is dangerous as a toxin. The point it that most of us here don't know enough about what has led many people to conclude that CO2 is an important greenhouse gas to challenge that finding in any serious way. Just because it seems absurd to you or me that such a low concentration of a gas would have such an effect doesn't mean that it is not possible.

  • Sam Grove||

    Better to point out the diminishing impact of CO2 as levels increased.

  • Zeb||

    I am certainly open to questions about climate science. I am not at all convinced that anyone knows enough to make any kind of predictions about the future climate. But your bullshit detector is even less scientific than whatever climate scientists are doing. There is certainly a case to be made that CO2 caused AGW is bad science, but this ain't it. You may be right, but I would like to see, you know, actual evidence.
    Personally, I'm more interested in the question of whether historically CO2 increases have preceded or followed increases in temperature.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am aware that my bullshit detector is not a scientific instrument. I am not a moron.

    I am also aware that decision by consensus is not part of the scientific method. It is part of the political process, but has no bearing on science whatsoever.

    So when someone says "there is a scientific consensus..." my bs detector readings go off the scale.

    Especially when it is phrased in terms like "doubling levels of CO2".
    OK, that sounds ominous. Ominous to trigger by bs detector. So what exactly is being doubled? Oh, the equivalent of 38 pennies from a thousand dollars?

    I ain't buying it.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This. Skeptics like OM and sarcasmic are getting real sloppy. We need more skeptical skeptics!

  • nekoxgirl||

    Some scientists believe that there have been conditions on Earth known as super greenhouses. These events are related to several of the major extinctions in Earth's history. All of these events were caused by massive volcanic eruptions and did not occur until C02 concentration reaches 2,000 ppm.

    So yeah...even if humans are increasing the CO2 in the atmosphere, we are a really long ways off from anything like the climate alarmists warn about. In other words, at the rate we are going, the peak oil nuts will be proven right before the global warming nuts.

  • ||

    Some scientists believe that there have been conditions on Earth known as super greenhouses. These events are related to several of the major extinctions in Earth's history. All of these events were caused by massive volcanic eruptions and did not occur until C02 concentration reaches 2,000 ppm.

    In all the ice column records I have seen the CO2 concentrations increased after the heating was well underway.

    ie the correlation points to heating causing the CO2 increases not the other way around.

  • kinnath||

    Don't let parts per million screw with your mind. The real question whether or not doubling the available CO2 in the atmosphere has any significant effect on trapping radiated energy from the sun.

    Looking at the last 30 years, won't help much. We should probably go back about 10,000 years or so to the last Ice Age.

    So perhaps in another 3 or 4 thousands years we'll have enough satellite data to make meaningful gueses about what is happening.

  • ||

    Precisely. The chart above does show an overall warming trend, but it also shows the huge variability of the weather. It's a chart that begs you to ask for the preceeding 90 years at least.

  • kinnath||

    The thousand-year hockey stick chart is misleading. Anything short of half a million years or so is too small a sample.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    The alleged "hockey stick" graph never went a thousand years. It cut off neatly a few decades after the collapse of the medieval warm period, a time when England was warm enough to have expansive, established vineyards that were competitive with those in France.

    And even to get that they had to pick and choose among data sets and use a analysis that found a "hockey stick" in computer generated null data sets.

    Not very convincing.

    All of which is very sad, because there is some decent evidence of steady warming in the last 50 years. There could be something there.

  • Johnny Cochran||

    Well said, son.

    Let's put this another way for you so-called naysayers:

    Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! What you have to remember, when your brain is tryin' to rearrange the facts on climate change, is does it make sense? NO! Ladies and Gentlemen of the supposed commentariat, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must deny!

    The defense rests

  • ||

    the trendline since '79 is clearly up

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: OhioOrrin,

    the trendline since '79 is clearly up


    Unfortunately it correlates inversely to your IQ, OO.

  • Mike M.||

    And the trendline since '98 is clearly down!

    Seriously though, there is no "trend"; this is one of the most pointless exercises a person will ever see. This shows nothing but more or less random statistical variation, with the overwhelming majority of it taking place within the tiny range of about 0.8 degrees C.

  • ||

    still above the levels in '79

  • Old Mexican||

    But what about the trends from 79???

    That's 79 AD, bud.

  • kinnath||

    The trend line since 10,000 BC is all over the fucking place; hotter than now; cooler than now.

  • ||

    which serves to confirm climate change.

  • kinnath||

    The next Ice Age will wipe out 3/4s of the world's population. We need to figure out how to maintain a nice warm blanket of green house gases to make sure that doesn't happen.

  • ||

    which serves to confirm that climate changes without any human input whatsoever, raising the question of how we isolate the change attributable to human input from naturally occurring variations

  • Neu Mejican||

    Most of the current natural factors point towards a cooling trend.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican|3.14.11 @ 4:43PM|#

    Most of the current natural factors point towards a cooling trend.

    Convenient. When the world is cooling, like it is now, it must be natural factors but when it warms it is always man made.

    So for the record here is the always uncredited New Mex explanation for El Nino and La Nina.

    El Nino = Man Made
    La Nina = Natural Factors

    NOAA Should hire your for your climate expertise. The sad thing is with you there it would actually be an improvement.

    NOAA, unlike you, is saying La Nina is also man made.

  • Neu Mejican||

    So for the record here is the always uncredited New Mex explanation for El Nino and La Nina.

    El Nino = Man Made
    La Nina = Natural Factors

    What are you talking about? Do you even know?

    As for "NOAA, unlike you, is saying La Nina is also man made."

    I doubt it...but you caught me on that last one, so maybe you'll pull a link out of your ass for this one too.

  • Neu Mejican||

    NOAA on La Nina

    http://www.elnino.noaa.gov/lanina_new_faq.html

    * What is the relationship between El Niño/La Niña and global warming?
    * The jury is still out on this. Are we likely to see more El Niños because of global warming? Will they be more intense? These are the main research questions facing the science community today. Research will help us separate the natural climate variability from any trends due to man's activities. We cannot figure out the "fingerprint" of global warming if we cannot sort out what the natural variability does. We also need to look at the link between decadal changes in natural variability and global warming. At this time we can't preclude the possibility of links but it would be too early to definitely say there is a link.
  • Neu Mejican||

    Convenient. When the world is cooling, like it is now, it must be natural factors but when it warms it is always man made.

    There are a couple of things wrong with this.

    1) You misread the claim.
    2) How do you figure temperatures are cooling "now"?

    "Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade"

  • ||

    1) You misread the claim.
    2) How do you figure temperatures are cooling "now"?

    "Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade"

    1. NOAA has claimed that recent (as in this last winter) is due to global warming.

    2. I figure it is cooling "now" in that January was cooler then Dec and Feb was cooler then Jan and March is, because of La Nina, probably going to be cooler then Feb.

    When I say "now" I mean now.

  • Neu Mejican||

    1. NOAA has claimed that recent (as in this last winter) is due to global warming.

    I still doubt that, even if you repeat it again. NOAA is smart enough to recognize that at best AGW would influence the size and shape of the ENSO. A claim that it is "Man Made" is beyond silly. I provided a direct link related to NOAA's position on this. That link is current. Until I see specific wording that matches your claim, I am going to assume you misunderstood something.

    I figure it is cooling "now" in that January was cooler then Dec and Feb was cooler then Jan and March is, because of La Nina, probably going to be cooler then Feb.

    Why are you talking about weather? Month to month fluctuation is pretty meaningless in this discussion.

  • ||

    But notice that from '79 to about mid '97 the average is clearly below the 0.0 line. That indicates to me that that was a slight cold period (hence the articles back then about the dangers of a cooling earth) and we are currently in a slight warm period which looks like it may be coming to an end.

  • Joe M||

    February's readings point clearly to imminent global freezing.

  • ChicagoSucks||

    Can we please stop bitching about the thermostat?

  • Female Coworker||

    Then what else would we have to talk about?

  • Younger Female Coworker||

    There's always me!

  • Jersey Patriot||

    What caused the dramatic downturn recently? Is that La Nina?

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    It's the recent outbreak of pregnant celebrities.

  • ||

    Nah. That's what happens after an El Nino. Check the earlier El Nino.

    Whatever climate change is underway, it isn't changing the way El Ninos work.

  • ||

    Is that La Nina?

    Yes.

    Just like in 1998ish Hot El Nino is followed by a cool La Nina.

  • Richard||

    The monthly data link doesn't work.

    The straight-line trend is +0.14 degrees Celsius per decade:

    http://www.heurtley.com/richard/temps-2011-02.png

  • ||

    Does anybody know why a 13-month centered average is used to portray the "trend?" Please correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that result in the "double counting" of one month (from two years) for each data point? If January's being "double counted" for one data point while July is "double counted" for another, wouldn't that introduce some kind of bias?

  • Steve 2||

    That is an interesting point, but I think the running average is just a way to visualize and smooth out the data to see whats going on better. Realistically if you changed it to a 12 month average I doubt the red line would change much at all, but I'm not sure why they chose 13.

  • kinnath||

    "center" plus and minus 'n' will always give an odd number of months.

  • ||

    Oh yeah...duh. (Feeling pretty dumb right now.) Anyway, I think a 12-month moving average might be more appropriate.

  • ||

    On a graph this noisy, you need a much longer moving average to get any insight into trends.

  • kinnath||

    A 50 or 100 year average would be good; but the data only goes back 30 years ;-)

  • ||

    I don't even know what all that means.
    Does it mean that global warming was a hoax?
    Or that it is real?

  • Zeb||

    I think it means that no one understands climate very well and most people with strong views one way or the other are talking out their asses.

  • AC||

    What we do know is that (a) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes warming, and (b) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by a third since the industrial revolution. We should be taking precautions whatever the graphs say.

  • Brett L||

    It depends. Have we seen a full cycle? The zero point got adjusted in January to make it the 30 year average instead of a 20 year average. That shifted the graph down a bit. All it really shows right now is that standard deviation over 30 years of the "average global" temperature in a given month is +/- 0.4 deg. C.

  • Jim||

    Heating my home costs me a lot more in electricity than cooling it does (no natural gas in my neighborhood). I'm going to be pissed if global warming turns out to be a fraud.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Let me take this moment to preemptively rebut anyone who disagrees with whatever my opinion on this is:

    Climate is not weather!

  • ||

    Can you just recycle my comments from the last temp trend update?

    Thanks.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Lazy free-rider.

  • ||

    So the IPCC predicted that from 2000 to 2010 that temperatures would increase by .2 degrees.

    The graph since 2000 looks to have a trend of about zero.

    And yes that does disprove man made global warming.

    The theory predicted an event would happen that even did not happen the theory as it stands is disproved.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Wasn't this covered on the last one of these threads? (and the one before that and the one before that...)

    The IPCC prediction was not for 2000-2010, but for 2000-2100. You can't properly take the first 10 years and assume 1/10th of the heating will occur.

    Restating this on each thread doesn't help your credibility.

  • ||

    The IPCC prediction was not for 2000-2010, but for 2000-2100. You can't properly take the first 10 years and assume 1/10th of the heating will occur.

    That is incorrect.

    From the IPCC report:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publication.....spms3.html

    "For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emissions scenarios."

    Restating this on each thread doesn't help your credibility.

    Actually repeating it then you lying about it (again) then me quoting directly from the IPCC report text that contradicts your claims hurts your credibility.

    Not that you had any credibility to begin with.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I stand corrected.
    I did not see that when I read the IPCC 4.

    That said...this is still an incorrect statement:

    And yes that does disprove man made global warming.

    The theory predicted an event would happen that even did not happen the theory as it stands is disproved.

    You would need to look at the claimed precision of the prediction...

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publication.....spm-5.jpeg

    and show that things were outside the range predicted...with a bit more precision than "The graph since 2000 looks to have a trend of about zero."

    Just eyeballing this graph ain't good enough. Particularly in light of the fact that someone has done the calculation for you.

    "Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade"

    Eyeballing it, I don't see a significant change in the trend line since 2000.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I just eyeballed it and didn't see any trend since 2000.

  • ||

    You can get the hard numbers for the graph here:

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/da.....uahncdc.lt

    Global numbers are the 3rd column from the left.

    Anyone know how to calculate a trend using an open office spread sheet? Excel?

    I tried and got a -0.9 trend which just didn't seem right to me.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Your primary challenge will be calculating a meaningful trend. Typically 14 year trends are about as short as you would use to even begin to label them as "climate" trends.

    A fairly clear explanation of this idea is here.
    http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/05/.....re-trends/

    One of the reasons I doubted your claim about IPCC predictions was that the IPCC and most of the climate community tends not to talk about trends as short as a decade. They really aren't important in the discussion.

  • ||

    Well, I can see that Anthropogenic Global Flatulence continues unabated.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Related: saw on the CTV news ticker yesterday that a new study points against a link between global warming and Russia's heat wave last year. Of course, the study came with a 'climate warning' according to the CTV ticker.

  • ||

    One interesting point is that compared to the 50s and 60s the 70s were cold.

    The .14 per decade increase is simply an anomaly of when we started using satellites to look at planet earth.

    If the start point had been in the 50s there would be no warming trend.

  • Nike Dunk High||

    thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement