Global Temperature Trend Update: December 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 December, 2011. Christy reports that 2011 was the 9th warmest year in 33-year satellite record. 

Global Temperature data 1979 -2011

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.13 C per decade

December temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.13 C (about 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.20 C (about 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.06 C (about 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Tropics: +0.04 C (about 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for December.

Go here to see the monthly satellite temperature database.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Ron Paul Heads to New Hampshire, Obama Unveils Military Diet, Kodak Mulls Bankruptcy

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 or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ron Paul was the third warmest, but his followers were crestfallen at the news.


  3. You know what would be interesting? Put in the predicted temperatures under the “consensus” models.

  4. Oh, No, We are doomed. The temperature has gotten so hot that it burned the chart and only left a little red X. Or someone did not link properly?

    1. DJF: Hmmm. Apparently something is wrong in the way the chart displays for some people (although I can see it just fine right now.) Will work on it and get back to you.

      1. Ron, it links to image in your gmail. That’s why you can see it but others can’t.
        Upload image to where it should be first, and then link to it.

      2. it’s fine now…

  5. You’re all clowns.
    Give up your SUVs and single family homes. Say no to the consumer culture that destroys your soul.

    1. I resemble that remark.

    2. Consumer culture = wealthy culture. So you want us to be poor?

      Is that what’s going on here? They want serfs?

      1. The wealth in your soul is much more important than your bank account.

        1. And the wealth in my bank account is much more important than your soul.

          (At least to me it is.)

        2. Humans don’t have souls. That’s something the church invented so they could control you.
          “Obey ME…or your soul will burn in Hell!”

          1. I used to have a soul before I sold it for rock and roll.

            1. I used to have a soul… then I took an arrow to the knee.

              1. I finally actually noticed an NPC saying that last week. Must’ve been ignoring them previously.

              2. I used to play Elder Scrolls, then I took a mud crab to the knee.

                1. Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll.

            2. Is that fur growing out of your ears?

              1. I could have taken out the dark brotherhood…but i was busy that day.

        3. My soul, character, and integrity are unaffected by my income or accumulation of assets.

          1. Can you say the same of your taint?


              1. That may have been true when PL was still a young and eager clerk. But no one who works for the Urkobold eludes His malevolent gaze forever. No one.

                1. Taintguard? is my friend.

          2. Hah! Only if you toe the liberal lion, and talk about how you should be paying higher taxes. Otherwise, you are doomed to the hellish underworld of THE KOCHTOPUS.

            1. Around here, we tow lions. Toeing a lion is perverted, even for this crowd.

              1. I don’t know about you, but I tow a loin wherever I go. The lion just follows.

    3. I think doing away with subsidies and cost regulation for utilities, making power cost what it should would spur the trend of energy efficiency. I think we can still have a consumer oriented culture that uses renewable energy. I just don’t think it needs to be forced onto people by the government and/or Liberals.. Once the utility companies were able to jack up the prices like they want people would start to pay for alternative renewable sources that would be cheaper in the long run. Like buying in bulk… More upfront cost but you get a discount over time.

      1. While you’re talking about market distortions, don’t forget about artificial constraints on supply.

    4. Use only public transportation and live in soviet-style housing blocks. Individuality and autonomy will destroy your soul!

    5. Hey now, clowns are very eco-friendly. Cramming twenty people into one tiny car is very fuel efficient. Try that with your crappy Prius!

      1. Cramming twenty people into one tiny car is very fuel efficient.

        Isn’t there a load-limit, beyond which the engine is operating below peak efficiency?

  6. Is that what’s going on here? They want serfs?

    Why, yes; obedient to the enlightemed ones such as themselves, you see.

  7. I’m curious – the el Nino warming of 1998 is labeled as such, but the more recent el Nino warming is not. Why is that?

    1. I’ve been asking that for months.

      1. you expect answers in heat like this?!

    2. Because labeling the 2009 warming would make it appear to be an aberration and undermine the argument that it’s all mankind’s fault! Whereas leaving the 1998 warming UNlabeled would do the same. DUH.

  8. That graph looks like the running average is starting to resemble a sinusoidal curve. I would say more data is needed before any inferences can be made.

    1. the fit is actually a 3rd degree polynomial, I exported all of the data to excel, and did a 3rd order fit. Line looks the same and R^2 value was 0.39, so not very predictive.

    2. So, according to the black curve, the earth on average got a teeny bit cooler until 1985 or so, then a teeny bit warmer until 2008 or so, and now appears to be flat or edging back down again.

      Yes, we totally need to get Top. Men. involved in fixing this “problem” by taking over energy allocation.

      1. See my comments about the quality of fitting, coupled with Christy and Spencers’ statement that the black line is personal interest only and has no predictive value at this time. Science, it works bitches (and C&S know it).

    3. That’s not a running average… it’s actually a “3rd order polynomial fit of the data”, overlayed onto the data “for entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as having any predictive value whatsoever”.

      I’m quoting Roy Spencer…

      1. Why on earth would anybody fit a third-degree polynomial to a time trend? Why not just draw a smiley face, or use a Bob Dobbs watermark?

        1. It has better correlation value as the linear fit — which the IPCC uses to extrapolate their future warming predictions. Linear fit factor for their data (according to my excel chart) is 0.35 vs 0.39. So completely non predictive. Even the 13 month moving average, which should smooth seasonal fluctuations has a linear fit of 0.49 vs. 0.55 for a 3rd order fit of moving average. Also worthless. The data has no simple trend.

          1. The data has no simple trend.


            How does “no simple trend” line up with the consensus AGW models? Don’t they all posit a trend?

            1. Yep. I’m not saying that the data doesn’t have a trend at all, either. Just that time is not a predictive variable for global average temperature.

              1. time is not a predictive variable for global average temperature.

                This poor former liberal arts student is more versed in the arts of suasian and obfuscation than mathematics and science.

                Could you expand on this for me?

                1. more versed in the arts of suasian and obfuscation

                  And you haven’t received your honorary Climate Science degree yet? You should complain.

                2. It means that temp could covariate with something else like CO2.

                  1. So, where’s the chart mapping temperature against CO2 levels?

                    1. And CO2 levels have basically been linear over this time period – so pretty much the same as time

                    2. The point is that a lack of trending in relation to time does not preclude the possibility that temperature may be covariate with something else. There is no other chart I just mentioned co2 as an example.

                    3. I don’t have access to reliable CO2 v. time or CO2 v. temp data for the same period. I can only make correlative statements about this data, which put time and global average temperature on the same graph. It would be unscientific of me to say anything beyond that.

                    4. “The point is that a lack of trending in relation to time does not preclude the possibility that temperature may be covariate with something else. There is no other chart I just mentioned co2 as an example.

                      Additionally, there may be multiple covariate factors, which is a real suck for science, because it is pretty damned difficult to do analysis on multiple co-variate systems without being able to isolate a single variable at a time. I’ve done multiple factorial analysis, but I could always manage how the factors changed. That way you can measure each variable’s effect on the dependent variable, and any interaction effect between the independent variables. If CO2 is the only major driver, and all other effects are secondary (or solar radiation, or cloud cover or some single major driver) you might find a trend in a single measurement, but I doubt that is the case.

                3. If you go back in time, the Earths avg temp goes down, and then up, and then down etc. It does not -only- go down or up. Better predictors are: The age of the Sun (it generally gets hotter over the ages), The Layout of the Continents (weird shyte), Greenhouse Gas content, Milankovich cycles (see Continent Layout), Other. Re Other, assuming we don’t nuke ourselves, raw waste heat from human economic activity will exceed heat effects from the Sun in about 300 years. Geed luck surviving that.

                  1. Don’t forget the significant but random influence of volcanoes.

  9. Up here in Sasquatchewan we’re have a right pleasant winter, one of the warmest on record. If we anthro’s really are warming the planet, I say keep up the good work! I question why there’s all this hate for a warmer wetter planet, when there were no icecaps there were animals the size of trucks and buildings walking around… hmmm. I hypothesize the world will be more productive once we get it warmed up properly. Deny that non-denier deniers…

    1. It’s +7 in today in Winnipeg. In January.
      Yes, that’s Celcius you American hicks. Learn it and love it

      1. It’s Celsius, not Celcius.

        I’d like to come up with a new system called Celtius. More violent and drunken than the other temperature systems.

        1. The Celtius temp is always 45 degrees and the humidity is always 100%

          1. Celtius isn’t measured in degrees. It’s measured in proof. Boiling is 200?; absolute zero is 0?.

            ? is the symbol for proof in Celtius.

            1. Shit. I actually figured out the Kelvin conversion. Damn you, damn you, damn you. (2.36575 degrees K per proof, assuming you are referring to “boiling” as water boiling at STP)

      2. I prefer centigrade. Much more descriptive of the system.

      3. Fuck off with your goddamn commie celsius crap.

        1. More proof that Canadians are actually Brits in disguise. The Metric system, that waving woman on their money, their use of “zed” for the letter ‘z’.

          1. We are not amused

            1. Can’t believe you murdered that dude. That’s old school monarchy.

              1. he knew who really killed that Diana harlot.

      4. Works both ways up north. -40 is still fucking -40.

        1. And it’s always -40?!

          If I lived way up north, I’d use Kelvin to make it seem warmer.

      5. My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it.

    2. But.. but.. rate of change! Rate of change! It’s happening too fast! Doom, destruction, and despair!

    3. I happen to like snow and cold in the winter. Winter is fucking boring otherwise. But that’s just my preference.

      If the world warms up, bad things probably will happen for some people. But no one seems to want to look into the potentially good outcomes of global warming.

    4. I’m imagining cattle the size of buses.

    5. That’s nothing. I live in Ohio and 18,000 years ago half our state was covered with a glacier a mile thick. Now it is completely gone. We do Global Warming right here.

  10. “I’m yawning. I’m yawning some more. AND… zzzzzzzzz.”

  11. The 13 month average is like the perfect sin wave. Watch it drop back to zero over the next five years.

    1. Red line is 13 month moving average. Black line is a 3rd degree polynomial fit. 3rd degree fits must end in the same positive/negative direction they start (okay, not really, but without a double root they will and a natural double root in a 3rd degree real world system is a 2nd degree real world system.)

    2. Re: John,

      The 13 month average is like the perfect sin[e] wave.

      Even better: Look at the trend line – it IS a perfect sine wave. It suggests higher temps before 1979 with a downward trend, and the 2010-2011 suggests a peak going into another downward trend.

      Who would’ve thought that climate changes? I am astounded.

      1. it IS a perfect sine wave.

        Guys you are missing the joke here.

        Spencer has said that the fitted sin wave is for entertainment purposes…in other words it is bullshit.

        What is entertaining is not that it showing anything that is true…the entertaining part is that a complete bullshit sin wave fits the data better then the upward trends and models predictions of the climate change alarmists.

        How can complete bullshit explain the data better then the consensus?!!?

        See how that is funny?

        Spenser is simply rubbing their faces in it.

        1. Wow. Thanks Joshua. That is hysterical.

        2. Thank you for translating that into human speak from the math I was spouting.

  12. Obviously we just need the Chicago Bears to win more super bowls if we want colder winters again. Tax everyone but the bears…just as an insurance policy on global warming.

    1. I like cold winters. Go Bears!!

  13. I’ve only had to spend seven hundred dollars on heating oil this year. Normally I would have spent over a thousand.

    Global Warming is awesome!

    1. year winter


  14. It appears we are at a turning point temperature-wise. The next few years should really show whether the warming trend is real or simply part of a natural oscillation.

  15. It’s noisy and doesn’t look like a hocky stick, but it is going up.

    1. Of course the hockey stick is on an entirely different time scale than the graph shown here . . .

      Dudes. The hockey stick is real.

    2. Damn “m” key — don’t buy an Acer.

      It also doesn’t appear to be going up very fast, but I suppose that could change.

  16. I think this may need to be linked on each of these posts each month.…

    1. Three points FWIW…

      First, the blogger “Tamino” is actually a pseudonym for Grant Foster, one of the co-authors of the paper that’s being blogged about. So the blog post isn’t an independant or critical review… it’s a guy writing anonymously about his own paper.

      Secondly, the Foster and Rahmstorf statistical analysis (which I assume to be robust) indentifies a consistent warming trend in 5 temperature data series and establishes the significance of the trend; it says nothing about the cause of the warming… CO2 or natural.

      Lastly, by their own calculations Foster and Rahmstorf conclude that the magnitude of the trend (which shows no sign of acceleration), ranges “from 0.014 to 0.018 K per year”, which if extrapolated, amounts to less than 2 degrees of warming over the next century. Hardly alarming.

      1. I think the results allow for a more meaningful discussion of these monthly data.

        which if extrapolated, amounts to less than 2 degrees of warming over the next century. Hardly alarming.

        You seem overly certain of both the extrapolation and its implications here. Both are much tougher questions and not directly addressed by the data under discussion.

        1. I think the results allow for a more meaningful discussion of these monthly data.

          OK lets discuss obvious scientific fraud shall we?

          How come the base line in this graph:


          magically floats well above the UAH (yellow) line when the base line in the original data graph:


          clearly shows the base line cutting through it?

          Nice try smarty pants.

          1. From the paper…

            Annual averages of the monthly data from all five sources are
            shown in figure 1. All have been set to the same baseline
            (the entire time span, January 1979?December 2010), then
            offset by 0.2 C for plotting.

    2. I like how this graph:


      becomes this graph:


      Funny stuff.

      You do know that the base line (zero) anomaly is arbitrary right?

      And the author of this post obviously moved it around so 5 different sets of data which all show no warming after 1998 somehow merge to show a warming trend….magical.

      But hell don’t take my word for it…ask a real consensus global warming scientist like Kevin Trenberth who says this:

      “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

      I guess if you think that hiding the decline is a term of phrase common among scientists as a justifiable explanation for deleting contrary data you will buy into anything.

      1. Dude,

        You’re in full-on conspiracy mode on this one.

        If you want to run it yourself, he has posted all the data and code.…..#more-4571

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.