Temperature Trends

Global Warming 36 Year Update: Atmosphere has warmed an average of 0.14 C per decade, or just over one-half degree C (0.91 degrees Fahrenheit).



Every month University of Alabama in Birmingham Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer publish the latest global temperature trend data obtained from NOAA satellites. This month Christy offers a round up of the data on global warming trends from the past 36 years. He notes:

This report represents the completion of 36 years (December 1978 through November 2014) of global temperature data collected by microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites. During that time the global atmosphere has warmed an average of 0.14 C per decade, or just over one-half degree C (0.91 degrees Fahrenheit) in 36 years (emphasis added).

That warming has not, however, been uniform around the globe. The fastest warming has been over the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic portions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Those areas have warmed at the rate of 0.49 C per decade, or more than 1.76 C (about 3.17 degrees Fahrenheit) in 36 years. The fastest warming spot is in Baffin Bay, where temperatures have risen 0.82 C per decade since 1978.

By comparison, the oceans surrounding the Antarctic are cooling at the rate of 0.02 C per decade, or 0.07 C since December 1978. The fastest cooling area is in East Antarctica near Dome C, where temperatures have been dropping at the rate of 0.50 C per decade.

Driven in part by those contrasting regions, the Northern Hemisphere is warming more than twice as fast as the Southern Hemisphere (0.19 C per decade vs. 0.09 C per decade).

The contiguous 48 U.S. states have an average warming rate of 0.22 C (almost 0.40 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade during the past 36 years. That means the average atmospheric temperature over the lower 48 has warmed by 0.79 C or about 1.43 degrees Fahrenheit during that time (emphasis added).

November 2014 is second warmest November in the 36-year global satellite temperature record. The University of Alabama in Birmingham Huntsville press release adds:

Global Temperature Report: November 2014

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

November temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.33 C (about 0.60 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.36 C (about 0.65 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.30 C (about 0.54 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

Tropics: +0.25 C (about 0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for November.

November 2014 was the second warmest November in the 36-year global satellite temperature record, 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. With a global average temperature that was 0.33 C (about 0.60 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms, November 2014 trailed only November 2009, which averaged 0.39 C (about 0.70 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms.

The tropics slowly warmed through November in response to modest warming in the El Niño regions of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

November 2014 Temperatures

Note: Starting Monday, I will be doing daily dispatches from the United Nations climate change conference in Lima, Peru.

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  1. How does this information relate to the statement we've been hearing (usually in an effort to refute Dr. Mann's hockey stick model) to the effect that temps have been pretty much constant for the past 15 years.

    1. That is a question I would like to see a good answer to as well. From the chart in this post it does look like the last 15 years have been pretty constant, but a bit warmer than the previous 20. So it's not necessarily a contradiction. But I'd be interested to hear a response from someone (who is willing to honestly discuss the subject) better versed in the available data than I am.

    2. There is no statistically significant increase in temperatures since around the year 1998 or 2000. When everything's averaged, there's still warming over time.

      1. Then we should start averaging the averages, to really heat things up.

  2. No wonder all the bees are dying.

  3. And still too cold.

    Time to go let my car idle...

  4. Oh Noo! How will the Wooly Mammoths, Saber Tooth Cats, and Giant Beavers cope with this increase in temperature? We must do what we can to save these creatures. The ecosystem will go all out of whack if they disappear.

    1. That was no Giant Beaver, that was Warty's mom.

      1. tomato/tomahto

  5. 36 years means jack shit.

    36 hundred years means jack shit.

    14,000 years ago the land my house sits on was under 1/2 a mile of ice.

    1. And CLEARLY mankind is at fault for that...

      1. Yes, those fucking siberians that walked into Alaska and down into middle america and then changed their names to indians clearly fucked up an lot of things before the palefaces arrived.

    2. As Friedman and co like to point out, we don't know the magnitude or the direction of the harm/benefit of climate change. If the choice is between glaciation that would cover London and NYC and burning oil like there's no tomorrow, let's burn some oil. Of course, that's just as speculative as their stuff, or as the global cooling crowd's was in the 70s, or Ehrlich in the 60s, or Malthus, or ...

      The entire debate is driven by a complete unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of uncertainty. It's not surprising that this is also the cause of so much idiocy in economics, where modeling the unmodelable is the pastime of lots of smart people who might've done something good with their lives had they been beaten over the head with Hayek's Nobel speech like some of us were.

  6. Only one person can stop that pesky temp and turn the heat down. Who is ready to take a stand.

    1. That's the new, scarier Rickrolling.

      1. at least Warren's had a more folksy feel, this song feels all corporate and sell outy.

    2. All Clinton images used in this video are in the Public Domain

      ...says the "disclaimer" thereby providing plausible deniability of non-Hillary involvement.

      1. non-

    3. Now those white hillbillies will vote for her.

    4. Where in the fuck did they find a Country Music singer that would support a Democrat?

  7. Global warming has to be the most tedious, idiotic, superfluous subject around at this point. Everyone knows, deep down, that it's deader than a doornail, but the dead-ender morons who were counting on it to deliver them control of the world economy or a perfect environment or sticking it to corporations or whatever just can't let it go.

    Holy fuck, just drop the damn subject already. It's over.

    1. It's always been over as a practical matter. No matter what is actually happening with the climate, no one was ever going to do anything effective about it. Politically it's just an excuse for the dumb policies that socialists and environmentalists already favored anyway.

      1. Yes, but at this point it's basically dead politically too. So just. Fucking. Drop. It.

        The scum who pushed it sure will. I'm sure they're working on some new bullshit right now.

      2. I think some people here are a little too certain that global warming is all bull but natural gas means it doesn't matter. CO2 output is falling thanks to fracking. That's a wrap.

        1. I agree. But I think the biggest reason why it doesn't matter is that it's just not possible to control people to the extent necessary. Not without killing a whole lot of them, anyway.

          Natural gas and fracking is nice too. Now if only people could stop being so irrationally terrified of nuclear power...

          1. Nuclear also has to become economical, which it isn't right now no matter how slice the regulations.

            1. It's economical if the smaller mini and micro reactors are allowed to profligate, which they aren't.

    2. Unfortunately, people like Bill Nye are trying to tie climate change denial with denying evolution.

      People seem to be losing the ability to separate issues and judge them independently. They follow the rhetoric and buzzwords instead.

      1. And on the other side of the issue, being efficient and not wasteful (a good idea in its own right) gets tied to climate change. So, people who don't buy into climate change can be biased against trying to be more efficient.

      2. They have to have some way of marginalizing people who point out that their models are worthless. Since arguing that they aren't worthless is clearly wrong, they move to classify skeptics via some more readily identifiable other, like creationists.

        Which is hilarious when you understand what they're trying to do and the evidence they use to support it. Phrenologists had more scientific success with their predictions than the climate Cassandras have enjoyed.

  8. That graph is very alarming. I mean, overlapping two primary colors? How gauche.

    1. Are you channeling GILMORE, making an

      1. Squirrelz?!?!?!

        "making an Independents fashion review"

    2. As a person experienced in making graphs, if you overlay not-primary colors, it can be very difficult to see. You want the contrast two primary colors gives you.


  9. Bring me back an alpaca and a guinea pig, Ron.

    1. FM: Guinea pig is very tasty!

      1. Be careful...

        Minneapolis salmonella outbreak in August tied to guinea pig slaughter


  10. So basically all the good skiing is gonna be in Chile and New Zealand?

  11. OT: Adventures in Gall

    I'm going to say this as gently as I can: Fuck you, hurry up and die as fast as possible, you useless fucking trained baboons.

    1. : "Look, last night, the protesters police... we may not agree with their message right to kill people, but we were protecting their right to do it. That's what they should be saying."

    2. Does it feel a little stuffy under that bus?? Kinda sorta like you can't breath??

      did a difficult job?where there's no script

      Really? There's no training in use of force at the police academy? You aren't required to list book,chapter, verse on a citation?? No script my ass.

      Dear Police, I don't need your protection to exercise my 1st Amendment. I need you to stay the fuck outta my business

    3. The city council of New York and Bill de Blasio versus the NYPD and union. There are no good guys in this spat.

  12. 1.43 degrees Fahrenheit

    That calls for immediate, collective federal action on industry and how we conduct our daily lives.

  13. Reason is your voice in debates about politics, culture, and ideas. Our annual Webathon is underway and your tax-deductible gift will help us fight against big government, crony capitalism, the drug war, and so much more make daily dispatches from the entirely predictable United Nations climate change conference in Lima, Peru.

  14. Ron,
    Are these results from the University of Alabama in Birmingham? Or the University of Alabama in Huntsville?

    I'm only sensitive to the difference because I grew up in B'ham...

    1. Pretty sure they're in Huntsville.

      1. I think so, too. UAB's been in the news recently because they just killed their football program.

    2. JEP and all: I have been doing this for how long now? Of course, it's Huntsville. I have made the fix. Thanks for calling it to me attention.

      1. Of course, Ron. What are we commenters for if not to pick every nit and hound you about it?

  15. If Fire and Ice has taught us anything, it's that heat is associated with microkinis and cold is associated with subhumans.. so release the lava!

    1. Everything is associated with microkinis when Bakshi is involved.

      1. Not in Bakshi's Lord of the Rings, unfortunately. Maybe it would have done better if it had.

  16. Funny thing is, for all everyone is panicking about climate change (everyone whose paycheck depends on it anyway) if we look at the long terms temperature record, thousands of years back, all we are really doing is returning to normal weather patterns after a multi-century 'cold snap'. Warming isn't the anomaly, the previous cold weather was.

    Furthermore, warming is objectively BENEFICIAL to the human race and every other occupant of the planet. Glaciers don't support life after all, and CO2 is GOOD for living things. Plants need it and everything else needs plants.

    AGW is the ultimate in non-crises. It is, in fact, the exact opposite of a crisis.

    1. warming is objectively BENEFICIAL to the human race and every other occupant of the planet

      The acidification of the oceans is the only that concerns me. I'm sure there's plenty of flora/fauna that can react to the increased CO2, but can they react fast enough and what are the 2nd/3rd order effects? Mass species die-offs? dunno, but curious

      1. The 'ocean acidification' meme is a joke. Even next to AGW it's flimsy as hell. There is no reason the life in the oceans can't adapt. Current acidification is 'unprecedented' and that could be entirely because our way of measuring previous acidity isn't sensitive to rapid changes.

    2. The argument I've heard is that glaciers are needed as a store of water. I would think a dam would be better.

      1. Glaciers are needed as a store of water only if you assume that people will never adapt to changing conditions and have to live forever in exactly the same places and ways that they do now.

        1. That to. There are negatives and positives, and losing glaciers does kind of suck, but they're really just big ass rivers of ice that have been retreating since the end of the last ice age.

  17. How does the observed trend compare with that predicted by each of the IPCC reports published over the same time period?

  18. who says "almost .40" and keeps the second decimal place on? Why?

    1. Sig figs? If you keep the zero, then it implies the precision of the measurement.

      1. Yeah, but when you're estimating, you don't do that.You wouldn't say "1.0 yards is around 1.0 meters"

  19. Whatever.

  20. Oh, Wow, a 36-year time span comparison.
    The rigor and extensiveness of this scientific inquiry is just mind-boggling.
    I have to lie back now before I collapse from the vapors.

  21. HIDE THE DECLINE! With a 2 million dollar hockey stick.

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