Thirty-three Year Temperature Update - Well Below Computer Model Predictions

Every month climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer report the latest data from satellite measurements of global average temperatures. This month marks the 33rd anniversary of their data set. On the occasion, the researchers release a longer analysis of global temperature trends which is quoted below and is well worth reading:

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

November temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.12 C (about 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.07 C (about 0.15 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.17 C (about 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

Tropics: +0.02 C (about 0.04 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

October temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.12 C above 30-year average

Northern Hemisphere: +0.17 C above 30-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.06 C above 30-year average

Tropics: -0.05 C below 30-year average

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

Notes on data released Dec. 16, 2011:

The end of November 2011 completes 33 years of satellite-based global temperature data, according to John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Globally averaged, Earth’s atmosphere has warmed about 0.45 Celsius (about 0.82° F) during the almost one-third of a century that sensors aboard NOAA and NASA satellites have measured the temperature of oxygen molecules in the air.

This is at the lower end of computer model projections of how much the atmosphere should have warmed due to the effects of extra greenhouse gases since the first Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) went into service in Earth orbit in late November 1978, according to satellite data processed and archived at UAHuntsville’s ESSC.

“While 0.45 degrees C of warming is noticeable in climate terms, it isn’t obvious that it represents an impending disaster,” said Christy. “The climate models produce some aspects of the weather reasonably well, but they have yet to demonstrate an ability to confidently predict climate change in upper air temperatures.”

The atmosphere has warmed over most of the Earth’s surface during the satellite era. Only portions of the Antarctic, two areas off the southwestern coast of South America, and a small region south of Hawaii have cooled. On average, the South Pole region has cooled by about 0.05 C per decade, or 0.16 C (0.30° F) in 33 years. The globe’s fastest cooling region is in the central Antarctic south of MacKenzie Bay and the Amery Ice Shelf. Temperatures in that region have cooled by an annual average of about 2.36 C (4.25° F).

The warming trend generally increases as you go north. The Southern Hemisphere warmed 0.26 C (0.46° F) in 33 years while the Northern Hemisphere (including the continental U.S.) warmed by an average of 0.65 C (1.17° F).

The greatest warming has been in the Arctic. Temperatures in the atmosphere above the Arctic Ocean warmed by an average of 1.75 C (3.15° F) in 33 years. The fastest warming spot is in the Davis Strait, between the easternmost point on Baffin Island and Greenland. Temperatures there have warmed 2.89 C (about 5.2° F).

While Earth’s climate has warmed in the last 33 years, the climb has been irregular. There was little or no warming for the first 19 years of satellite data.  Clear net warming did not occur until the El Niño Pacific Ocean “warming event of the century” in late 1997.  Since that upward jump, there has been little or no additional warming.

“Part of the upward trend is due to low temperatures early in the satellite record caused by a pair of major volcanic eruptions,” Christy said. “Because those eruptions pull temperatures down in the first part of the record, they tilt the trend upward later in the record.”

Christy and other UAHuntsville scientists have calculated the cooling effect caused by the eruptions of Mexico’s El Chichon volcano in 1982 and the Mt. Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 1991. When that cooling is subtracted, the long-term warming effect is reduced to 0.09 C (0.16° F) per decade, well below computer model estimates of how much global warming should have occurred.

Although volcanoes are a natural force, eruptions powerful enough to affect global climate are rare and their timing is random. Since that timing has a significant impact on the long-term climate trend (almost as much as the cooling itself), it makes sense to take their chaotic effect out of the calculations so the underlying climate trend can be more reliably estimated.

What it doesn’t do is tell scientists how much of the remaining warming is due to natural climate cycles (not including volcanoes) versus humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions enhancing Earth’s natural greenhouse effect.

“That is the Holy Grail of climatology,” said Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the ESSC, a former NASA scientist and Christy’s partner in the satellite thermometer project for more than 20 years. “How much of that underlying trend is due to greenhouse gases? While many scientists believe it is almost entirely due to humans, that view cannot be proved scientifically.”

When the first MSU went into orbit in 1978, it wasn’t designed for monitoring long-term changes in the climate. Instead, it was built to give meteorologists two temperature readings a day over about 96 percent of the planet to provide input into computerized weather prediction models, the forerunners of climate models.

“All of the satellite instruments but one were designed to measure day-to-day weather changes, not long-term climate,” said Spencer. “It has been a challenge to make the necessary corrections to the data so we can use the instruments for long-term climate monitoring.”

While the satellite data record is shorter than the surface thermometer record, it has several strengths. It has the greatest global coverage: With 96 percent coverage of the globe (except for small areas around the north and south poles), the satellite sensors cover more than twice as much of Earth’s surface as do thermometers.

It is also less likely than surface-based thermometers to be influenced by local development, Spencer said.  Urbanization typically contributes to local warming due to the asphalt effect, when paving and buildings absorb and convert into heat sunlight that would naturally have been reflected back into space.

While that heat can raise temperatures recorded by thermometers at surface weather stations, the effect on the atmosphere is so local and so shallow that it dissipates before it can heat the deep atmosphere above it. As a result, satellite measurements have shown no indication of an urban contamination effect, Spencer said.

Another strength is that the microwave sensors gather temperature data for a deep layer of the atmosphere, rather than just at the surface.

“What we look at is a bulk measurement of the atmosphere’s heat content,” Christy said. “That is the physical quantity you want to measure to best monitor changes in the climate.  Plus, it’s consistent. You can take a single satellite ‘thermometer’ and measure the temperature of the whole Earth, rather than just at a single spot.”

While the satellite dataset has its strengths, unlike thermometers and temperature probes used on weather balloons the Microwave Sounding Units were new, largely untested tools when they were put into space. Spencer, Christy and other scientists have had to develop small corrections that they use every month to reduce errors caused by the satellites losing altitude or drifting in their orbits.

While year-to-year temperature variations measured by the satellite sensors closely match those measured by both surface thermometers and weather balloons, it is the long-term warming trend on which the satellites and the surface thermometers disagree, Spencer said, with the surface warming faster than the deep layer of the atmosphere.  

If both instruments are accurate, that means something unexpected is happening in the atmosphere.

“The satellites should have shown more deep-atmosphere warming than the surface, not less” he said. “Whatever warming or cooling there is should be magnified with height. We believe this is telling us something significant about exactly why the climate system has not warmed as much as expected in recent decades.”

Publication of the November 2011 Global Temperature Report was delayed by several days due to a ground station malfunction.

Archived color maps of local temperature anomalies are available on-line at:

http://nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

The processed temperature data is available on-line at:

vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Spencer use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

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.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Seriosuly Ron, Good coverage on the Climate conference and all and this monthly thing but I NEED NEUTRINO PORN!!! I really want to see some stuff about those netrinos. If Nick is going to be all up in your grill about making it political then do a tevetron or LHC eminent domain angle or something....PLEASE...FASTER THAN LIGHT (or not)!!!CMON!!!

  • ||

    They're not FTL. You know it, I know it. We all know it.

    But something else it.

  • ||

    Is rather than it. Or not. You choose.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    FTL BITCH! BELIEVE IT!

  • ||

    Einstein says no. But anyone can be wrong.

  • ||

    Of course, there's EPR, which says yes, sort of, maybe.

  • Paul||

    [...]which says yes, sort of, maybe.

    There's a study that says that could still be rape.

  • ||

    No... with all due respect, you're mistaken about EPR. You still need to perform measurements on your EPR pair, and the results of those measurements cannot be communicated faster than light.

  • DK||

    Beat me to it. Non-locality and all...

  • Cliché Bandit||

    In a serious context:
    Yes the Big Man said some things but he never flat out ruled out FTL. More importantly (and Ron, here is your chance to get a nice feature going or something) science, even when not political, is political. Things such as plate techtonics, small commets, acretion disc formation of planets, exploded planet theory, crustal plate shift, pole reversals, etc. hacve all at one time (or still) not been considered AT ALL by the community due to politcs. That is not science. AGW falls into this category but on the other side. And to address a common quote "extraordinary claims require extraordinatry evidence"; pure bullshit and NOT science. It all comes back to one brown cow to prove that not all cows are white. FTL, quatum theory, newtonian physics, evolution, general relativity, all are theroies and it only takes one counter example regardless of how many instances. That is why the guys saying not finding the Higgs would be cool is awesome. They are ready to challenge their own positions in the name of advancing understanding.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    And I still want neutrino porn...o' rule 34 where are you?

  • Tman||

    Here's some FTL porn for you Cliche-from todays WSJ-

    The 'God Particle' and the Origins of the Universe
    The search for a unifying theory is nowhere near over.-By Michio Kaku

    From a strictly aesthetic point of view, the Standard Model is also rather ugly. The various subatomic particles look like they have been slapped together haphazardly. It is a theory that only a mother could love, and even its creators have admitted that it is only a piece of the true, final theory.

    So finding the Higgs particle is not enough. What is needed is a genuine theory of everything, which can simply and beautifully unify all the forces of the universe into a single coherent whole—a goal sought by Einstein for the last 30 years of his life.

    The next step beyond the Higgs might be to produce dark matter with the Large Hadron Collider. That may prove even more elusive than the Higgs. Yet dark matter is many times more plentiful than ordinary matter and in fact prevents our Milky Way galaxy from flying apart.

    So far, one of the leading candidates to explain dark matter is string theory, which claims that all the subatomic particles of the Standard Model are just vibrations of a tiny string, or rubber band. Remarkably, the huge collection of subatomic particles in the Standard Model emerge as just the first octave of the string. Dark matter would correspond roughly to the next octave of the string.

    So finding the Higgs particle would be the beginning, not the end of physics. The adventure continues.
  • ||

    It would be great to find something that flat out contradicts the Standard Model and/or relativity. It's those kinds of things that help us advance physics, at least historically. Higgs not showing up or the neutrinos actually going FTL would be lovely.

    As I recall, the FTL "prohibition" is focused on information not being conveyed faster than light. One of the ways around quantum entanglement resulting in a violation of the limits established by relativity, if I recall correctly, is that no information is actually conveyed faster than light.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    OTHER THAN gravitational information. Hence gravity is calculated with "instantaneous" being applied to the math. Not very sciency. I still love the analogy "You can't exceed the speed of sound in a prop engine plane. And trying to looks a lot like an increase in inertial mass towards infinity."

  • ||

    Is that right? I thought that gravitational effect propagated at light speed. For example, the sun vanishes, it would be around eight minutes before the gravitational effects would be felt on Earth.

    Is there a physicist in the house? We need a ruling.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    nope, that would cause aberation, meaning each body would be attraced the the former position of its partner (earth would be pulled toward the suns poition 8 minutes ago and this is not the case. It is pulled towards the suns current position.) And that means we would all fly apart. Not cool. NOW, the current sciency folks say it DOES propegate at C but have not yet caputed a wave to be measured. They have not, in my non sciency opinion, adequately addressed the issues of abberation.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    caputed is a word I use to mean captured.

  • ||

    Yet caputed is a great word.

  • Zeb||

    Er, I'm pretty sure that in general relativity gravity propagates at c.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    and, mathematically, that would mean abberation would cause unstable orbital rotation. Neither GR nor SR address this. The above linked discussion gives both sides.

  • ||

    I'll have to read that. My instinct is that in GR you can consider the frame of reference where the sun (for example) is not moving and eliminate the aberrations. But I'm not about to do the math right now.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    OTHER THAN gravitational information.

    No.

    Newton's gravity was instantaneous. Einstein's propagates at c. That why we should have gravitational wave.

    What's that? Proof? Uh...we're still waiting on results from LIGO. Give us another year....or decade...or something. And lots more money, of course.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    These have happened for certain values of "The Standard Model".

    Neutrino masses were assumed to be zero in The Standard Model. They're not.

    But, of course, it didn't bring anything crashing down because it is easy enough to simple change that assumption, though it means that now we have to try to figure out if they are Dirac or Majorana as well as all the parameters of the mixing matrix.

    In that kind of sense were on roughly The Standard Model v3.2alpha. Bug fixes are pending, but no release date has been announced.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Meh!

    I screwed up the blockquote which should have been

    It would be great to find something that flat out contradicts the Standard Model and/or relativity.
  • DK||

    There are also quantum field theoretic considerations which make particles with imaginary mass (i.e. FTL particles) unlikely.

  • Zeb||

    Actually, Einstein's relativity doesn't completely preclude FTL. It just says that you can't accelerate something to a FTL speed because it would take infinite energy.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wouldn't any object moving FTL go back in time, at least theoretically?

  • ||

    Don't tell me that again, Science Officer! It's a theory! It's possible! We may go up into the biggest ball of fire since the last sun in these parts exploded, but we gotta take that one in 10,000 chance!

  • Bill||

    Yes. And that's why it is possible. As you add energy to make it go faster, it goes back in time to where you had added less energy. So it cancels. At the end, it is going so fast that it goes back in time to where it did not exist and it takes zero energy. That's my theory anyway.

  • ||

    There are two theories about this:

    1) 'Only by the looks of it'

    Say Particle A starts at position B and travels to Position C at a set time. There is a radioman at B who signals (via radio) to another radioman B when he launches particle A.

    IF particle A goes from point B to point C at sub light speed, then Radioman@B will simultaneously Launch particle A and send his signal. Radioman B won't receive the signal for some noticeable time (Radio waves travel at speed c). Radioman@C will receive the signal and for some noticeable and measurable time after he gets the message... he'll also receive the particle.

    IF particle A traves at FTL... then things get weird. The scenario @ point B plays out as above BUT: Radioman @ point C receives the particle FIRST... THEN the radio message.

    No actual time travel at all per se... but in the mind of Radioman@C... the particle got here before it was launched.

    2) actual time travel involved.

    Don't know the math on this one... and it would definitely require it... so I won't go there.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Hmmm..."go back in time" is a little philosophically difficult. The people who do that stuff say "objects going faster than light break global and local causality".

    But, yeah, in layman's terms they go back in time.

  • ||

    No, that doesn't make sense. I see what you mean, but it doesn't seem obvious that it should be a problem for a system that is not accelerating significantly.

  • ||

    To add to Zeb's point, if a particle popped into existence traveling FTL that would not be a problem at all for Relativity (it might be a problem for the Standard Model though).

  • MJ||

    If memeory serves Lightspeed is a barrier on both sides. A FTL particle can never decelerate to sublight velocities for the same reasons a sublight particle can never accelerate to supralight velocity.

  • DK||

    You can't accelerate something at c because it would take infinite energy. However, nothing in relativity precludes having a particle always >c.

  • DK||

    To MJ, you're right about c being a barrier to both sides. However, FTL is much weirder than STL (slower than light). With STL, you find that energy increases as speed increases, which serves as the barrier to speeding up. With FTL, energy decreases as speed increases. An FTL particle has no barrier to speeding up...that seems very strange.

  • DK||

    To Ray, it wouldn't only be a problem for the Standard Model, but for quantum field theories in general. These are just as exquisitely successful w/ the experimental evidence as relativity. So violating QFT is just as weird as violating relativity.

  • ||

    All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

    Pinkos!!!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    True. Not laughing.

  • ||

    You may not be listening and missed the msg. that they are providing a counter to AGW while on the Gov payroll. Brave research scientists...have to love them for their honesty. Unlike some we have come to know about....

  • Ben Kalafut||

    Typical Bailey: No effort to put this into any sort of context or interpret it, and subtly botching things. You can't treat modeling results with random inputs as though they are a "prediction" that individual data are supposed to match. Note that Spencer and Christy use the word "projection". Note also that Spencer and Christy don't refer to any paper here. Whose model? Run with what forcings? What puffery!

    Also: there ain't no such thing as a "computer model" if by that you mean a model is somehow special because the numerics are too much for pen-and-paper.

  • ||

    Looking at that chart, I see a basically flat but choppy line that hits resistance right around the nominal zero baseline, right up until the big El Nino in 1998.

    Then, after the spike high in 1998, it goes back to being basically flat but choppy, with the former resistance level now acting as support.

    The inflection point is the big El Nino. Whether it was a cause of the baseline shifting higher, or another symptom of it, you can't tell, but it sure looks to me like whatever changed, changed in 1998.

  • ||

    You sound like a day trader.

  • ||

    I'm no day trader, but I look at a lot of stock charts.

  • ||

    He was a day trader,
    One stock ticker, yeah!
    It took me so long
    To find out,
    And I found out.

  • ||

    BK: As I understand it, the ensemble model "projections" are about 0.30 degrees Celsius per decade. The satellite measurements are considerably below that. Is that enough context for you?

  • ||

    Is that enough context for you?

    You might want to mention that the "ensemble model 'projection'" can be found in the various IPCC reports.

    also is your refusal to use the threaded comments a protest against them?

  • ||

    But birds are doing something odd in Germany so that proves global warming!

  • ||

    Please, please keep believing in our bullshit! It's all we have and we thought it would last forever! We can't get real jobs in the private sector! Those people expect results!

  • Paul||

    But birds are doing something odd in Germany so that proves global warming!

    And so are the bees... so sexual reproduction has been disrupted due to climate change!

  • ||

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the lack of warming directly attributable to global warming?

  • Bill||

    It's called Global Weirding! Get it right!

  • Ted S.||

    Birds attacked Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor 50 years ago, but that doesn't mean there was global warming.

  • Mike M.||

    I just hope that it wasn't either Spencer or Christy that leaked all those e-mails from Hadley CRU, now that Obama and the British government have apparently decided that that person is officially an Enemy of the State.

  • ||

    I believe the Hadley CRU leak was from someone working on the inside.

  • Mike M.||

    Me too. Hacking into an email server from the outside is extremely difficult in this day and age, and far beyond the capabilities of most people.

    Someone on the inside with a conscience was probably disgusted by this vile scam and wanted to blow the whistle on it, with good reason.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    CLIMATEGATE WAS AN INSIDE JERB!

  • AMB||

    Believe me, it's not as hard as any of us would like it to be. Besides, academic and scientific institutions typically have woefully inadequate infosec. Not to mention the possibilities for social engineering, which will bypass even the best infosec.

  • BunkerBill||

    Every month we get this waste of time chart, all that it shows is that sometimes the temperature goes up and sometimes it goes down. Comeback in a hundred year and maybe we can begin to draw some conclusions.

  • Al Gore||

    No problem Bill. Of course we still need your money now!

  • Cliché Bandit||

    in all fairness, we need to keep track for 100 years in order to come back in 100 years to make a point about drawing conclusions based on 100 years of data...and that is kind of what Ron is supporting here by publishing this every month.

  • Tim||

    But we want to panic NOW.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    You have my permission to panic now Tim. Especially since I will be traveling in you when these damn neutrinos pick me up for a lift.

  • Tim||

    TSA says no.

  • ||

    Every month we get this waste of time chart

    Screw you BunkerBill!!!

    I live for this monthly comment thread.

  • ||

    amen

  • ||

    BB: With due respect you really might find this longer analysis of interest.

  • Tim||

    This crap is right up there with rape jokes and Reasons nostalgia for the Confederacy!

  • ||

    How do you stop rape?

    Say yes.

  • ||

    I was wondering how CO2 is distributed throughout the atmosphere. Assuming that CO2 is at least partly responsible for the increasing temperature readings on the ground, if its relative concentration in the atmosphere drops off sharply above a certain altitude then the atmosphere above it should actually be colder. In that case, the average temperature from ground level to outer space would stay the same.

  • Nelly||

  • Cliché Bandit||

    On Topic:

    Although volcanoes are a natural force, eruptions powerful enough to affect global climate are rare and their timing is random. Since that timing has a significant impact on the long-term climate trend (almost as much as the cooling itself), it makes sense to take their chaotic effect out of the calculations so the underlying climate trend can be more reliably estimated.


    This, however, smacks of a lack of data points statistically. I agree you can removed outliers (like these eruptions) but ONLY if you have a large enough data set to be able to gauge their impact in general. You can't just take 30 years and 1 eruption and remove that eruption, especially if you are trying to extrapolate over 200 years into the future. That is bad stats.

  • ||

    You still think that Ceti Alpha V exploded and not Ceti Alpha VI. Why should we take you seriously?

  • ||

    Ceti Alpha V exploded and not Ceti Alpha VI

    Why the fuck is it so convoluted?!?!

    Could Khan have not simply said the weather changed and my son died?

    Also how the fuck would Khan know about the the other planet exploding? From his view point wouldn't it have simply been a change in the climate?

    Between collecting roots and berries and forging a new settlement when did he have time to calculate all this shit?

  • TallDave||

    You'd be surprised how easy it is to get a grant from NASA.

  • Sudden||

    I think all the thinking people are concerned about global cooling now. The media and beltway establishment told me that hell would freeze over if Ron Paul won the GOP nomination.

  • Brett L||

    If you read the article, there's a couple of bombs in there.

    "While Earth’s climate has warmed in the last 33 years, the climb has been irregular. There was little or no warming for the first 19 years of satellite data. Clear net warming did not occur until the El Niño Pacific Ocean “warming event of the century” in late 1997. Since that upward jump, there has been little or no additional warming.

    'Part of the upward trend is due to low temperatures early in the satellite record caused by a pair of major volcanic eruptions,' Christy said. 'Because those eruptions pull temperatures down in the first part of the record, they tilt the trend upward later in the record.'

    Christy and other UAHuntsville scientists have calculated the cooling effect caused by the eruptions of Mexico’s El Chichon volcano in 1982 and the Mt. Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 1991. When that cooling is subtracted, the long-term warming effect is reduced to 0.09 C (0.16° F) per decade, well below computer model estimates of how much global warming should have occurred."

    Which, if true essentially puts the final stake in the heart of the we-must-do-something-now-before-its-too-late argument.

  • GroundTruth||

    Problem one is that far too many politicians are getting their jollies by "fixing" the problem... this is one of the great crises that shouldn't be wasted in their view.

    Problem two is that any academic earth scientist has to be either very senior or very professionally suicidal to even hypothesize that the current models might not be a very close approximation of reality. This goes beyond bread and butter of getting funded, it truly has become an article of faith, with the acolytes (graduate students) ready to viciously rebuff any trace of heresy.

  • MindOpenWhy||

    "While Earth’s climate has warmed in the last 33 years, the climb has been irregular. There was little or no warming for the first 19 years of satellite data. Clear net warming did not occur until the El Niño Pacific Ocean “warming event of the century” in late 1997. Since that upward jump, there has been little or no additional warming.

    'Part of the upward trend is due to low temperatures early in the satellite record caused by a pair of major volcanic eruptions,' Christy said. 'Because those eruptions pull temperatures down in the first part of the record, they tilt the trend upward later in the record.'

    Christy and other UAHuntsville scientists have calculated the cooling effect caused by the eruptions of Mexico’s El Chichon volcano in 1982 and the Mt. Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 1991. When that cooling is subtracted, the long-term warming effect is reduced to 0.09 C (0.16° F) per decade, well below computer model estimates of how much global warming should have occurred."

    How is "subtracting" out the cooling (caused by volcanic eruptions) logical?

    What assumptions are made here?

    "'Because those eruptions pull temperatures down in the first part of the record, they tilt the trend upward later in the record.'"

    Please explain how this is logical. The warming, slight as it was occured - if the volcanic eruptions hadn't occurred and the same degree of warming had occurred - the overall mean average would be a smidgeon higher but the slope (minor as it is to begin with) could very well be the same.

    I agree we need 100 or more years of data on something like this before we can really say there is a definite 'trend'.

    But to say that the cooling events only affected the temp at the beginning of the 33 year span and not also the mean temp at the end of the 33 year span is a bit much. Is that not essentially what they are doing? Only subtracting out the cooling at the beginning of the 33 year time frame, as if it has no impact on the global mean temp at the end of the 33 year time frame?

    Let's say you have a glass of refrigerated water and you measure the mean temperature of the water in the glass over 33 minutes. Time zero is the point when you take the glass of water out of the refrigerator. You then let it sit at room temperature for 33minutes and monitor the temperature. Some anomaly occurs near the beginning of your experiment to cool the water. At the end of your experiment you have a final temp for the glass of water etc. Clearly the "cooling anamoly" would affect both the beginning and final temperature of the water in the glass.

    The interesting question is where would the trend have gone if those cooling events (rare and sporadic as they are) had NOT occurred?

    Not saying here that the data from this 33 year span "proves that global warming is definitively caused by man made activities".

    Just saying treat the data for what it is, don't take out what you don't like to make the data more favorable to one view or the other.

    "Yeah, we're just saying this data shows global warming didn't occur at the rate predicted by computer models, but if you do THIS it REALLY shows global warming didn't occur at the rate predicted!"

    No it doesn't. You just massaged the data using some faulty logic. Because we can't know what the data would have shown had the volcanic cooling effects not occured. The upward slope might have: 1) been no different; 2) indicated more warming; 3) indicated less warming.

    That being said, the other side of the coin is that the only significant warming noted was due to the 1997 El Nino event. In other words the overall global trend after 33 years was on the order of magnitude as the localized temperature fluctuation associated with El Nino.

    I fail to see how anyone can seriously see this data as proving or disproving anything related to man made global warming (the idea that man made carbon emissions have a significant effect on global temperature).

  • T||

    well below computer model estimates of how much global warming should have occurred.

    A s a general rule, if your model can't predict real-world behavior accurately enough to be useful, your model sucks.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    No, it means that the climate isn't behaving the way it should.

  • T||

    Old joke:

    Engineers believe equations approximate reality.
    Physicists believe reality approximates equations.
    Mathmaticians are unable to make the connection.

  • Bob_R||

    You say that as if there is a connection.

  • mathematician||

    ...as if there is a reality...

  • Paul||

    No, it means the canoe simply hasn't tipped yet. Or the frog doesn't feel the water is hot enough to jump out.

  • AlmightyJB||

    OMG! It's the end of the world! All panic on three. one, two...

  • Old Mexican||

    Thirty-three Year Temperature Update - Well Below Computer Model Predictions


    Top. Men.

  • Old Mexican||

    Although volcanoes are a natural force, eruptions powerful enough to affect global climate are rare and their timing is random. Since that timing has a significant impact on the long-term climate trend (almost as much as the cooling itself), it makes sense to take their chaotic effect out of the calculations so the underlying climate trend can be more reliably estimated.


    "Ignoring friction and heat, calculate..."

    That's how many High School Physics problems begun.

    Same shit.

    What it doesn’t do is tell scientists how much of the remaining warming is due to natural climate cycles (not including volcanoes) versus humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions enhancing Earth’s natural greenhouse effect.


    Yeah... That's like saying how much of the creaking in my house is due to the movement of the wood due to changes in moisture and how much is due to ghosts. Difficult to ascertain, indeed...

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    The physicist approach to predicting the winner of tomorrows horse race:

    Start by assuming a uniform, spherical cow...
  • ||

    Clear net warming did not occur until the El Niño Pacific Ocean “warming event of the century” in late 1997. Since that upward jump, there has been little or no additional warming.

    That's what I was pointing at earlier. I would think data-driven climatologists would be trying to figure out WTF happened right about then, because, as these guys point out, temperature was broadly stable before and after this event.

  • ||

    A good guess would be that that is the year they re-calibrated the satellites to the climate scientist adjusted terestrial measurements.

  • El Commentariaso||

    WHar is Evening links? Whar?
    http://lh6.ggpht.com/_CqtZ6Yfa.....ushPudding Whar.jpg

  • A Protestor||

    I am most honored to be Time's person of the year.

  • Sevo||

    None of this should stop some jackwagon from making political hay of the PANIC:
    "Jerry Brown blasts GOP on climate change"
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....1MD047.DTL

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Is there a reason there is no link to this?

    I'd LOVE to forward the great news, that the world isn't about to end any minute, to messengers of the AGW religion, but even though this entire post save the introduction is a quote, they'd immediately rule it out because of BIASED SOURCEZZZZZZ111111one!!11!

    Surely they couldn't ignore it if it came from one their own on his own website, could they?**

    **What the fuck am I saying? Of course they will, and blame it on the 1% for having been able to buy these scientists off in the name of big oil.

  • protefeed||

    “How much of that underlying trend is due to greenhouse gases? While many scientists believe it is almost entirely due to humans, that view cannot be proved scientifically.”

    In other words, they're pulling their belief in AGW out of their collective asses.

  • GroundTruth||

    Just because they're het up on their own religion doesn't make them wrong. But just because they're wrong doesn't make them insane.

  • Sevo||

    True enough, but either circumstance is not necessary nor sufficient to require turning over X of the economy to the 'planners'.

  • ||

    www surprisefirms com

  • ||

    Measuring the earth's climate, which has developed over millions of years, over even 33 years is stupid. The only constant about climate in the history of the earth is that it has always been changing. 500+ some years ago it was warmer and Britain was prime wine country, then it got cooler, now warmer, up and down, and still just a snapshot. Looking at 10 years, 30 years, 100 years of climate data and judging the earth's overall change is like driving over a speedbump and assuming the road is either going up a mountain or down into a valley in the next half mile because of it.

  • GroundTruth||

    But CO2 *is* up at the highest level for quite some significant while (meaning that I'm too tired to look up the damn citation, but it's longer than the 6K or so years of modern human civilization), and scientists *are* pattern seekers, so it does seem like a good match to put the big CO2 runup with the recent temperature rise... at least until the 2007 and on plateau showed up. In about another 10 years, it should be possible to see if this is a maximum, or a "hiatus". Stay tuned, and keep the data coming in!

  • ||

    It does seem like a good match to put the big CO2 runup with the recent temperature rise.

    Except, of course, that the temperature increase (such as it is) doesn't correlate at all well with the CO2 increase.

  • TallDave||

    Unfortunately, using that logic we can also attribute global warming to electric guitars, television, nuclear power, and possibly Justin Bieber.

  • Bill||

    They've taken care of all that. By calculating a single temp. for the whole planet they correct for the fact that it has only been for a few years.

    Then if you pick the correct period to use as your baseline, the battle is half over. All that remains is to find a bunch of rubes to believe it.

  • ||

    Don't think you can get ahead by quoting facts, skeptics. Conservatives and libertarians have been trying that one for years, and look where it has gotten them. Just wait. The subject, and the words used to describe it, will change according to need.

  • ||

    The World’s Climate Cycles

    The World’s Climate is driven by our sun’s cycles of more or less energetic radiation. The Sunspots cycles of about 12 years matches Jupiter’s orbit. Our solar systems four gas giants wobble the sun off solar center by as much as a million miles and when the sun’s inertia is radically changed by the four planets it is driven into a more energetic state. http://landscheidt.wordpress.com/

    When the sun is more energetic, it emits more UV radiation (10%), more solar wind, less cosmic rays strike earth’s atmosphere and fewer cooling clouds are formed. When a recent coronal mass ejection struck earth, cosmic rays dropped dramatically in a Forbush decrease.

    The Pacific stores this warming cycle and the Pacific Decadal oscillation (PDO) swings to Warm. When the Sun is less energetic, there are fewer sunspot, the inverse occurs and PDO swings to cool as it has. Expect the next 20 to 30 years of cooling.

    Since the end of the last Ice Age10,500 years ago, 9,098 years have been warmer or much warmer than today. http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ian-bolduc

    The Earth has been cooling for past 65 million years the earth and is the coolest it has been including the variable Ice Ages. Since 2007 the sea levels have dropped by 20 mm.

    Overall, with sunspot activity continuing at low levels, expect a much cooler climate in years to come. CO2 is plant food and is at geologic near famine levels needed for plant growth. Nurseries pump in four times levels to promote plant growth. Cut CO2 as the current Durban guidelines dictate and plants will stop growing. The world should welcome a degree or two of warming, the earth would than match the Minoan warming when Humankind started to thrive.

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/20.....ng-signal/

    The paper studies the five most often-used global temperature records. Three of them are surface temperature estimates, from NASA GISS, HadCRU, and NCDC, the other two are satellite-based lower-atmosphere estimates from RSS and UAH. These are compared to three factors which are known to affect climate: the el Nino southern oscillation, atmospheric aerosols (mostly from volcanic eruptions), and variations in the output of the sun. The time span studied was from January 1979 through December 2010, for which all five data sets have complete coverage.
  • Neu Mejican||

    All five data sets show statistically significant warming since 2000.

  • TallDave||

    We saw a similar trend from 1850 to 1940. The most reasonable explanation is that this is mostly just a continuation of the post-LIA trend, which itself is a small component of the larger warming trend since the last real ice age, which itself is a small fluctation in the glaciation that began with the Antarctic isolation, meaning we should probably be a lot more worried about the human race facing extinction-level cold than some immeasurably small warming due to human activity which isn't even affecting sea level rise.

    Also, the 1988 computer model forecasts just keep getting more wrong every year, even though emissions exceed the worst-case estimate.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/201.....-skillful/

  • Neu Mejican||

    squirrel

  • TallDave||

    musk ox

  • Que||

    The article seems to suffer from title inflation. The title says:

    "Well Below Computer Model Predictions"

    but the article body says :

    "This is at the lower end of computer model projections".

    That is not Reasonable.

  • TallDave||

    "Lower end" is extremely generous.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/201.....-skillful/

  • ||

    Well, given that Dr. Spencer has censored me from posting inconvenient truths on his web-site-- evidently some truths and facts are too onerous for Dr. Spencer, as is asking Dr. Spencer to back up his assertion that "Andrew Freedman was dutifully dispatched as damage control".

    Dr. Spencer has, on his blog, also slandered scientists who work on climate change attribution as being involved "in one of great pseudo-scientific frauds of the global warming debate".

    Those are not the actions of a respected scientist.

  • TallDave||

    Respected scientists get arrested at coal plants and call for war crimes trials for their critics.

  • ||

    to follow are some examples of the unprofessional behaviour of Dr. Spencer when I made some observations about his claims. I was censored before being able to respond, thankfully Dr. Bickmore set the record straight:

    Obscurity says:
    December 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM
    Christy claims that:

    “Both positive and negative adjustments were listed in the CCSP report mentioned above.”

    I was unable to find any specific reference to negative adjustments in the report. Regardless, while negative corrections have probably been made, in the end the positive adjustments clearly dominated, yet the UAH mid-tropospheric trends are still much LOWER than those for STAR, the University of Washington analysis of the UAH and RSS data and the RATPAC weather balloon data. Can we expect Roy to revise the UAH temperatures up again soon? Chrsity and Spencer would have their readers believe that theirs is the only satellite or upper-air product out there, and would have them believe that is is the one that is correct.

    After re-reading the CCSP report (it has been a while) I can see why John is desperately trying to distance himself from it because the key findings therein contradict his past and present position. Odd how he now states that a report on which he was a lead author “was not very accurate to begin with, but which has been superseded and contradicted by several more recent publications.”

    His latter claim is misleading. I would like to know from Christy specifically which findings in that CCSP report have been refuted and by which paper/s. Thorne et al. (2010), Menne et al. (2010), Huber and Knutti (2011), Foster and Rahmstorf (2011), Santer et al. (2011), and Hausfather et al. (2011, submitted) do not contradict the CCSP findings. Hausfather et al. conclude:

    “Our estimate for the bias due to UHI in the land record is on the order of 0.03C per decade for urban stations.”

    Reply
    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
    December 21, 2011 at 7:23 PM
    This is verging on hilarious. For years we have been accused that our adjustments almost always make the trends cooler. Now we are accused of just the opposite? Kinda hard to refute claims which are so inconsistent.

    Reply
    Barry Bickmore says:
    December 22, 2011 at 8:24 AM
    No, Roy. You have been accused of making MISTAKES that make the trend cooler. Your CORRECTIONS tend to make it warmer.

  • ||

    Another example, again I was censored so was unable to respond to Dr. Spencer's evasion:

    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
    December 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM
    Obscurity, why do you insist on cherry picking some semi-flippant comment of mine, while ignoring the core of the argument? This kind of behavior is why you became the only commenter I have ever banned from this blog.

    And speaking of that…I guess I need to find out how you got back in. With a name like Obscurity, and the obvious stealth involved, there must be a vast left-wing conspiracy at work behind the scenes.

    Reply
    Barry Bickmore says:
    December 22, 2011 at 8:31 AM
    Roy, the easy way out of this would be to just admit your “semi-flippant remark” has no backing. What’s so difficult about that? People make “semi-flippant remarks” without much backing all the time, so what’s the big deal about admitting it here?

    Note how Obscurity acknowledged above that maybe his rhetoric knob was turned a little high, so he said he’d try to tone it down. That’s all you would have to do to make this particular mini-issue go away."

    regarding Spencer's claim "Obscurity, why do you insist on cherry picking some semi-flippant comment of mine, while ignoring the core of the argument?""

    Here I was asking Dr. Spencer to provide evidence to back-up his claim that Freedman had been dispatched by someone to do damage control. That is the alleged cherry picking, but it is not the only problem with their press release that I addressed on that thread. And I would have highlighted more problems with the initial press release and Christy's misleading response to the Freedman article had I not been censored.

    Dr. Spencer has still not provided any evidence to support his claim, and has not retracted his fallacious and slanderous statement made against Dr. Santer (and others in the same field) being involved in "pseudo-scientific fraud".

    Dr. Spencer also suggests that I engaged in some nefarious means to regain access to posting on his blog. The answer is really very simple, after he first censored me (opposing views and arguments from a fellow scientist) I simply tried now and again to see if I was still censored. Then one day a post of mine went through. I naively assumed that Dr. Spencer had decided that censoring opposing views was wrong, that he was interested in healthy scientific debate and consequently had changed his mind. I was wrong...

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