Temperature Trends

2013 Was 4th Warmest Year on Record, or 7th Warmest


Hot temperature

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released its global temperature calculations and has concluded that 2013 is the fourth hottest year on record since 1880. From NOAA:

The year 2013 tied with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average and marks the 37th consecutive year (since 1976) that the annual temperature was above the long-term average. Currently, the warmest year on record is 2010, which was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above average. To date, including 2013, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occured during the 21st century. Only one year during the 20th century—1998—was warmer than 2013. The global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.06°C (0.11°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.16°C (0.28°F) per decade since 1970.

NASA calculates global average temperature differently. As the Associated Press reported, NASA…

…ranked last year as the seventh warmest on record, with an average temperature of 58.3 degrees (14.6 Celsius). The difference is related to how the two agencies calculate temperatures in the Arctic and other remote places and is based on differences that are in the hundredths of a degree, scientists said.

Both agencies said nine of the 10th warmest years on record have happened in the 21st century. The hottest year was 2010, according to NOAA.

According to the satellite temperature data from University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer, 2013 was the fourth warmest year since that data began being collected in 1979.

NOAA notes that the global average temperatures increased at rate of 0.16 degrees C per decade from 1970 until 2013. However, its own data shows that the per decade rate of increase since 1998 until now is 0.04 degrees C, i.e., one-fourth the rate since 1970 and about one-fifth the 0.21 degrees C per decade average rate predicted by computer climate models.

What is causing this recent "hiatus" in warming is hotly contested. On the one hand, some argue that the "missing" heat is hiding in the deep ocean, and on the other hand, some assert the computer climate models' climate sensitivity to extra atmospheric carbon dioxide is way too high. More data needed.

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  1. And, one should add that if the "missing heat" can be absorbed by the deep ocean, it can be absorbed by the mantle, and could therefore be part of a natural volcanic cycle whereby increased heat in the mantle causes volcanic eruptions that create ash-cloud inspired cooling events. Look for positive feedback, find positive feedback; look for damping mechanisms, find damping mechanisms.

    1. Nah lets just be Keynesians and focus on the multipliers. If we emphasize the multipliers we can make other people look crazy when they disagree us, all while we pilfer their wallet and seize their freedoms. It's a win-win.

  2. Seeing is believing, but that necessarily means believing is also seeing.

  3. We've got records for 134 years out of billions! We've got enough to prove trends! Look at us, we're scientists! Really!

    1. We have to crawl before we can walk, Epi.

      1. I wasn't talking about your Saturday night, jesse. Or mine. I was talking about a paucity of data.

  4. What a coinkidink. I was just reading about how, since the earth doesn't actually orbit the sun, but instead orbits the center of mass of the solar system, also known as the "barycenter", that there are scientists that believe this has a significant effect on climate that's being utterly ignored by the IPCC.

    Do an article on that, Ron. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

    1. That's absurd, Paul. It has to be human activity, or we'd have to look at this rationally and intelligently. And that's the last thing "climate scientists" want.

    2. Wait, is the barycenter at one focus or would the orbit be circular if we used the barycenter instead of the Sun as the focus?

      1. Here's a nifty diagram of how the earth actually orbits in relation to the sun.


        There's some very interesting science and it suggests we have a very wobbly solar system.

        I was doing some reading about this and realized that we could (at times) be a fair amount closer to the sun during some parts of our orbit than others.

        This turns out to be true. So the next obvious question I had was... "What might that do to climate?" Like so many other bright ideas I have, other actually smart people have already asked that question and been studying this for a while and have some pretty strong opinions on the matter.

        1. That link takes me to a 404.

          1. Huh, doesn't for me.

            I've seen direct links to images do that. Fails for some, not others.

            Try this:

            1. This link works for me, not the other.

        2. Getting a 404 error from your link.

      2. But to answer your question more directly, if I understand the science, the barycenter itself moves around because as Jupiter, Saturn (and the rest of the planets orbit about) the barycenter moves as well. The sun actually orbits the barycenter as well, but of course it's a much smaller orbit for the sun.

        1. Cool. I was right there with them until referenced constructing a barycentric diagram with different clock cycles.

          1. yeah...relativistic calculations and orbital mechanics...that is about the pinnacle of REALLY HARD SHIT TO DO!

            semi-related tip:
            To slow down in order to catch up to another orbiting object you actually speed up. By adding energy you increase your potential thus your altitude thus your orbital period. To come in for docking you slow down, reduce potential energy, reduce orbital period and come down in altitude...fucks with the brain dude.

  5. I wonder how they got the satellites and temperature recording stations distributed in the 1800s? Slaves?

    1. As Al Gore can tell you all day, all decade after decade, you can see it in the ice core samples. It is like tree rings and it is precise to a level of certainty that regular folk like us cannot hope to comprehend.

      1. Ice cores and tree rings can tell you the global average temperature (whatever that actually means)from millennia ago to tenths, nay, hundredths of a degree!

        1. Yep, the most exact science out there. So long as you pick the right trees, of course.

          1. And also, you need to stop using that method of temperature analysis for the last 40/50 years, because then the hockey stick pretty much goes away.

            Can't have that...

  6. I deny that this is anything more than opinion.

  7. I hope you realize it's not a coincidence that the abbreviation for Celsius is C and the abbreviation for Fahrenheit is F. In other words, it's implied that when I say it's 75 F out today, I'm saying its 75 degrees of Freedom whereas it's 23.9 degrees of Communism.

    1. "The temperature's gonna fall to below negative thirty tonight."
      "Celsius or Fahrenheit?"
      "First one, then the other."

      1. damn

  8. "More data needed" translates to "More tax money for grant snaffling climate quacks desired".

  9. On the one hand, some argue that the "missing" heat is hiding in the deep ocean

    IT's hiding in the deep, biding its time, waiting to strike when you least expect it!

    1. Kaiju are cold-blooded after all...

    2. So, the missing heat is Cthulhu.

  10. On the one hand, some argue that the "missing" heat is hiding in the deep ocean...

    How exactly does the deep ocean get warm but not the atmosphere?

    I guess Al Gore turned on the oceanic heat sink in 1998, allowing heat that was PREVIOUSLY being trapped in the atmosphere to be absorbed into the deep oceans instead.


    1. "How exactly does the deep ocean get warm but not the atmosphere?"

      Maybe the not-so-deep ocean acts as a thermal buffer between the atmosphere and the deep ocean. Just a guess.

      1. Maybe the not-so-deep ocean acts as a thermal buffer between the atmosphere and the deep ocean. Just a guess.

        And it wasn't acting like a "thermal buffer" PRIOR to 1998?

        1. And it wasn't acting like a "thermal buffer" PRIOR to 1998?

          Well, they didn't need to hide the decline then.

        2. Eh, there are fast and slow processes, and the delta between different substances tends to drive heat transfer. So if air got hot fastest, then surface water, then deeper water (of which there is a whole lot more) you could create a metastable system with each subsystem being at a higher temperature. The existence of such, assuming that it is handling a fairly strong metastability, which having a huge reservoir of cold water usually is, hulls the assumption of runaway warming surface temperatures. That is, you probably can't have both thermal buffering and runaway surface temps unless we are putting away so much energy in the deep ocean that polar ice melt is going to happen faster than previously predicted. Which would be hard because they've already substantially underestimated the Artic Ice and overestimated the Antarctic melt for the current season.

      2. This. There is definitely separation via thermocline, but also mixing due to currents. Although, according to Wikipedia the average depth is 12000 feet, which seems more like the median than the average to me. Even if we shaved that off, very little light passes below 600 feet. By the wiki number, something like 19 out of 20 kilos of water is "deep ocean". That's a lot of heat that can be absorbed. (1.4E21 kg * 4.186 kJ/kg/C) 5.86E21 kJ per degree C.

        By contrast the earth receives about 2.2E22 kJ/day (1 kW/m^2 * 3600 s/hr * 12 hrs * 5.10E7 km^2 * 1E7 m^2/km^2). So the Earth would have to capture one third of all the solar energy that hits it in a day to increase the entire ocean's temperature 1 degree C, if I haven't fucked up my exponents.

        Which has nothing to do with anything. It was just an interesting problem I wanted to get the scale of.

        1. Nice, but I think cynicism, paranoia and team politics is the better explanation.

    2. "Hey, we have no explanation for missing heat."

      "I know! Let's say it's in the deep ocean! No one can check! It's perfect!"

      "I knew we hired you for a reason, Dr. Sleazy Rodriguez."

  11. It is an axiom of science that if the outcome of an experiment or event does not accord with that predicted by a theory, the theory must be discarded, no matter how attractive it may have appeared initially. That very situation now exists in relation to the projections of world climate as published by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). -- Dr Jim Sprott, OBE, MSc, PhD, FNZIC, consulting chemist and forensic scientist, Auckland New Zealand.

    1. But, CONSENSUS!!

    2. Richard Feynman on Scientific Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw

      Obviously not being taught in this age of Church of Global Warming. There is no truth but Global Warming, and Al Gore is his prophet.

        1. Everything that man ever did was awesome. He really was a treasure of humanity.

  12. At some point Ron, don't we have to start questioning the entire concept of a single "global temperature"? What the hell does that even mean? I can think off of the top of my head of at least five different ways you could calculate such a number and I see no reason why one would be any more or less descriptive than any of the others.

    Year after year we hear how the prior year was "the 5th warmest" or whatever on record, like this is some kind of contest among the years for warmest. And yet, nothing seems to change. Sometimes the year is really warm and it is cool where I am at and other times it is really cold and it is warm where I am. Seriously, I don't see how these numbers mean a God damned thing.

  13. Blah, blah, blah.

    I am the fourth tallest human out of this totally meaningless sample.

  14. I keep trying to find the coldest year on record with no luck. Anyone got a link?

    The 4th (or 7th) warmest year (2013) has a temp value of 14.6 C, but what's the value for the lowest? I'm going to guess it's something like 14.2 C.

    1. Look at the past Baily posts on climate. He often puts up the 30 year trend line of the satellite data. Whatever the lowest year on that graph will tell you.

      Beyond that, I am still waiting for an explanation of exactly what a single global temperature even is or means.

      1. It's an asinine/arrogant assumption that the air that is between the data collection stations is exactly even in temperature w/regards to the air that's being sampled. Even the satellite data doesn't provide a complete picture of what the temperature is at every point on the planet.

        Further, because there are "anomalies" (read: variation in temp that don't align with the narrative), those anomalies must be smoothed out and some discarded so that the temperature curve fits the pre-designed mold.

        In other words: Utter BS

      2. Look at the past Baily posts on climate.

        Aren't those temp anomalies instead of absolute temps?

        1. He does the temp anomalies on a monthly basis, but has other AGW articles that give actual temp data, as reliable as that data can be, anyways.

      3. That's 30 years of satellite data. The people in this article are claiming their data goes back to c. 1880. No, really.

  15. I said it early, but I feel it bears repeating.

    Two sources for temperature data for the same year don't agree. There is a .08C difference between the two. Now, on the face of it, .08C doesn't seem like much. But when they are claiming that the globe is warming at .2C per DECADE, having that a variation on a yearly basis that is almost half that value causes me to be more skeptical.

    Basically, if I went to NOAA and then strolled over to NASA, the data says the world warmed by nearly half of what they expect to see over the course of a decade.... riiiiiiiiiiight.

    They can't agree on what the temperature actually is, but there's a consensus....

    1. That is because they can't agree on how to calculate it. Really, how could you? You tell me what measure best represents "global temperature". I question whether such a figure even exists.

      1. Of course it doesn't exist. At least not in any form that would be useful. They're dealing with fractions of a degree. The measurements would have to be so precise and picked up from every point on the globe 24/7 to even have a workable average.

        It would be like trying to get an average height of humanity that was accurate down to the thousandth of an inch. Since people are always growing/shrinking/being born/dying, the moment you calculated the average, it would be moot as all the newborns would bring the average down, the growth of some people would bring it up, old people shrinking/dying would change the average as well.

        You simply can't have that accurate of measurement in a system that is constantly changing an morphing. The moment you calculate the data, it's already out of date.

        1. Suppose I have a warm winter one year but the town over the mountains has a brutally cold one. Then the next year I am a bit colder and the other town is a bit warmer. How is the average temperature between the two towns for the two years really describe anything? It is just a made up number.

          1. Hammer, meet nail head.

            Between that fact and the fact that all of the data on old temperatures comes from tree rings (cherry picked at that) or ice cores.

            Neither of those can give you exact specific temperature data for even the exact location where it was taken. If it could, we'd still be using it. It's all very generalized data that is being forced into extremely specific roles.

            It's also a lot like saying "I tested 50 people in Ohio and they all had IQs of about 100. Therefore, everyone in Ohio has an IQ of 100.

            1. That should say "..tested 50 people in one corner of Ohio...

              1. That corner wasn't in Cleveland, cause I'm afraid you'd be let down...




  16. Don't have time to blog this today. I've got to get the snowblower going to move another fricking 10" of global warming from the driveway. Thank you coal and oil industry - I can just imagine how much colder it would be without all your efforts to warm us up.

    1. It's like you people live in caves.

      1. Right thinking people live in teepees.

      2. What creech doesn't understand is that he's suffering from Global Warming Pause Syndrome. This is where when your experimental results don't match your theoretical ones, you get to call it a "pause".

      3. Crunch pogostick voltage using disposition cakewalk.

  17. "What is causing this recent "hiatus" in warming is hotly contested. On the one hand, some argue that the "missing" heat is hiding in the deep ocean"

    I was always under the impression that heat rises.

    "and on the other hand, some assert the computer climate models' climate sensitivity to extra atmospheric carbon dioxide is way too high. More data needed."

    We need more funding!

    What makes all this even better is the recent BBC report that sunspot activity is at it's lowest point in a century. We may even be headed for a "Maunder minimum" type cycle (according to them).

    In the end, I arrive at a point that I do with most government statistics - the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, the crime rate, the poverty rate, ad nauseum. There is probably some basis of reality in all of these numbers. But they are teased out to reflect the bias of whoever is funding the research.

  18. "On the one hand, some argue that the "missing" heat is hiding in the deep ocean..."

    Of course, blame it on something we cannot measure while waving your arms wildly and looking dead serious. Ask them about the missing carbon in the carbon cycle if you want a laugh.

    What this study really means, is that this is the 4th warmest year their surface data stations have ever recorded, ignoring the fact that most of their data stations that were once in rural settings are now surrounded by urban heat islands. What we have here is a good example of bad record keeping, because recording the temperature every day is meaningless if you do not record the changes of the environment around the temperature station. Add to that error a failure of statistical relevance of the changes, which when tested by Monte Carlo simulations show that their reported changes may simply be errors.

    This is what I call SWAG. Scientific-wild-ass-guess.

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