Global Temperature Trend Update: February 2012


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, 2012. 

Global Temp data

The 3rd order polynomial fit to the data (courtesy of Excel) is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as having any predictive value whatsoever.

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

February temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: -0.12 C (about 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.

Northern Hemisphere: -0.01 C (about 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.

Southern Hemisphere: -0.22 C (about 0.40 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.

Tropics: -0.14 C (about 0.25 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for February.

The UAH release further notes: 

A large bands of cooler than normal air girdled the globe from South America across the Pacific and from South America northeast across North Africa, Europe and central Asia in February, with the "coldest" temperatures in western Asia, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Compared to seasonal norms, the coolest spot on the globe in February was in Tajikistan, where the average temperature was a much as 4.7 C (about 8.5 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than normal.

By comparison, the "warmest" spot was almost directly north of Tajikistan on the shore of the Arctic Ocean in central Russia around the Gulf of Ob. Warm is a relative term in northern Russia in February, but compared to seasonal norms the temperature there averaged 6.1 C (more than 11 degrees F) warmer than normal.

Personal note: This has been one of the more delightfully mild winters that I can remember in Virginia. That being said, we got four inches of snow earlier today. See the snow-covered daffodils in our backyard below:

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  1. I wonder what that snow will do for voter turnout tomorrow.

    1. kilroy: It’s just Paul and Romney in the Old Dominion. And the snow is already melting – temps tomorrow at around 50 degrees.

      FWIW, I’m voting Paul.

      1. I’ll be doing the same in GA.

      2. I’ll bet Paul ain’t voting Ron!

  2. Se?or Bailey, I love that you use 3rd order polynomial so conversationally.

    1. ECU: My farmer parents certainly agreed with your handle.

      And I must confess the polynomial note is cribbed directly from Roy Spencer whose data is illustrated in the graph.

      1. It’s rare to find fellow math geeks. I’ll take what I can get 🙂

        1. Topology killed my Pa!

    2. A third order polynomial implies an underlying model that predicts an infinitely low temperature as time goes to infinity.

      1. The 3rd order polynomial fit to the data (courtesy of Excel) is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as having any predictive value whatsoever.

  3. Oh god please just stop with the global temperature bullshit. We all know it’s bullshit, even its proponents know it’s bullshit, so can we just stop with the act.

    1. Episiarch: Just providing information. Take it or leave it. I do note that the overall trend from 1978 in the UAH satellite data drops in this this latest update from +0.14 per decade to +0.13 per decade. Not that 100th of a degree change is all that big a deal.

      1. Bailey stick to what you know….of course you’ll fucking starve to death….ahhahhhaa!

      2. so what does such a finding do for UAH’s chances of securing grant money?

      3. It’s a degree a century…

    2. Bullshtein is just another tool in the bag of tricks those fargin iceholes use to try to take away the common liberties of patriotic citizens such as ourselves.

      1. Why you miserable cork-soaker!

        1. Remember that time you soaked my cork, and I soaked your cork?

          1. As I remember I just soaked your cork. That was a long time ago.

        2. In my own fargin club! I’ma gonna cut off you boils, I gonna nail em to the wall!

          1. IT’S FARGIN WAR!

            1. Moroni deported to Iceland! Claims he’s not from there!

          2. What are you doing here, icehole?

            1. Fork you, you cork soaking forking iceholes!

              1. Fargin Bastages, all!

  4. weather

    That is all.

  5. The third-order polynomial curve looks a lot like a “sine wave”, i.e. the most common form of oscillation about a baseline that we observe.

    That seems to suggest, based on the VERY limited sample we have, since satellites aren’t exactly an ancient technology, that we might be seeing nothing more than a pattern of oscillation about a mean global temperature, with a lot of noise in it.

    This means that the +0.13 degC increase could be nothing more than a function of where the measurements begin and end. Start the measurement in the early 1970s, call the first measurement your baseline temperature, and you could see a “decrease.”

    This is an example of why some of us think that predictions of what will happen in 2100, based on measurements like these, are interesting but not trustworthy for the purposes of making policy decisions with the potential of being very destructive.

    1. Barry. It’s different from a sine wave because it only has two inflection points, maximum (it can also have a double at one point). So the shape has to be down up down or up down up.

      1. How is it different from a sine wave?

        A sample time shorter than the period doesn’t make it NOT a sine wave.

        1. A sample time shorter than the period doesn’t make it NOT a sine wave.


        2. No, it’s 3rd order, which means it won’t bend again. a sine wave, as you note is periodic, but will repeat infinitely unless it is damped. A 3rd order polynomial only has one maximum and one minimum. No matter how much further you extend the graph, it will never curve back up. Graph ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d = 0 for any real coefficient a,b,c,d and you’ll see only one max and one min.

          1. When the 3rd order fit stops looking good, they will switch to higher order.

            1. there is a third order polynomial that occurs as the second sum of the taylor expansion of the sin wave, so if you’re predicting they will switch to the 5th order, you might be on to something.

  6. Still wondering why the 2010 el Nino isn’t labelled as such.

    Still thinking running, centered longer-term averages (say, 5 years) might be informative.

    1. There’s no room on the chart to write that. Wait another year.

      1. They could draw a line from the current “El Nino Warming” label.

      2. the graph will not get bigger….it will only ever get more scrunched.

        Speaking of which who wants to make a dead pool of when people stop looking at this graph or any other graph for global average temperatures?

        My guess is by jan 2020. By that time catastrophic man made global warming will be thoroughly debunked.

        1. Nope. This fable is the single greatest weapon ever invented, and the people in power will not give it up. Instead what you will see is negative GDP growth in countries where it’s believed (UK, DE, FR), and positive GDP growth where it is not (CA, RU, BR).

  7. As good excuse as any to post my favorite weather = climate article of this winter.

    It was so hysterical it was almost satire.

    1. I guess the two previous mega-snow mega-cold winters were just weather and the two winters previous to those that didn’t end until May were just weather or the extremely cool summer in the west last year was just weather too.

      1. More snow can be the result of warmer temperatures. Just sayin’.

        Also, this isn’t so unprecedented. I’ve lived in NH my whole life and I can recall several other pretty much snowless winters.

        1. February being down by -.1 is the result of…temperature. Again, to be objective here we’re talking weather not climate in the first place.

        2. More snow can be the result of warmer temperatures.

          I find this explanation rather interesting.


          *Note the publication date March 29, 1958.

    2. I was going to comment on there and advise them to inform the whippoorwills that have begun returning to my area to move back farther north. Oh, and tell my banana trees that they arent dead.
      However, they want money for me to comment and since they appear to be warmistas, I wont give them one fucking red cent.

  8. all this political hot air should raise the temperature, no?

    1. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it that way! LOL!

  9. I want more snow.

  10. So February was the coolest month in four years. Nice. Too bad it was a weak-ass, warm winter.

    1. Just goes to show averages aren’t everything. Wearing shorts in Chicago in January while bums freeze to death in Rome same time?

      This is why Clowns went with ‘Change’ instead of ‘Warming’ in their Holy Lexical Canon after Climategate and Uncle Sugar coming back – tail between his legs – on Carbon Pig One into a snowstorm from Copenhagen. Talk about a double-whammy.

      The Carbontologists will long rue late 2009.

  11. Nice backyard, Mr. Bailey. It makes me wonder if Reason is paying you too much.

  12. Cheapskate: Wonder no more – Reason is NOT paying me too much.

    1. With your vast and diversified investment portfolio (as previously disclosed), its not like you need it, anyway.

      1. if he only took suderman’s advice to short Amyris!!

    2. If they’re paying….it’s too much.

  13. Silly Virginians. You get a tiny bit of snow and you shut everything down so much you can’t even get a good alt-text.

  14. I think the curve fitting explains it all – a period of forty years.

  15. Great quote and article by Matt Ridley:

    To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero

    1. “To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero”

      It’s the energy source of the future!

      1. there’s also a positive correlation between global temperature and net energy derived from wind power this century.

        1. That could be a theme for Ridley’s contest.

  16. Sounds to me like they might be onto something dude.

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