Arctic Warming Alarm from New Mexico Models

Breaking News from Los Alamos National Laboratory at Science Daily Arctic temperatures are increasing four times faster than global warming. As you can see, the alarm is not based on field observations in the Arctic Circle, but comes from computers in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Summary:
A new analysis of observed temperatures shows the Arctic is heating up more than four times faster than the rate of global warming. The trend has stepped upward steeply twice in the last 50 years, a finding missed by all but four of 39 climate models.

From 39 climate-change models in the widely used CMIP6 collection of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, the international research team found four that reproduced the first step reasonably well around 1986, but none that reproduced the second step in 1999. CMIP is an international collaborative of climate models using a shared set of parameters. CMIP6 has been used to create recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report.

Arctic Warming Unalarming

Now let’s compare that fearful news with records from surface weather stations around the Arctic Circle.

Locations of arctic stations examined in this study

Locations of arctic stations examined in this study

An recent extensive analysis of Northern surface temperature records gives no support for Arctic “amplification” fears.

The Arctic has warmed at the same rate as Europe over the past two centuries. Heretofore, it has been supposed that any global warming would be amplified in the Arctic. This may still be true if urban heat island effects are responsible for part of the observed temperature increase at European stations. However, European and Arctic temperatures have remained closely synchronized for over 200 years during the rapid growth of urban centres.

And the warming pattern in Europe and the Arctic is familiar and unalarming.

Arctic temperatures have increased during the period 1820– 2014. The warming has been larger in January than in July. Siberia, Alaska and Western Canada appear to have warmed slightly more than Eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Northern Europe. The warming has not occurred at a steady rate. Much of the warming trends found during 1820 to 2014 occurred in the late 1990s, and the data show temperatures levelled off after 2000. The July temperature trend is even slightly negative for the period 1820–1990. The time series exhibit multidecadal temperature fluctuations which have also been found by other temperature reconstructions.

The paper is:

Arctic temperature trends from the early nineteenth century to the present W. A. van Wijngaarden, Theoretical & Applied Climatology (2015) here

Temperatures were examined at 118 stations located in the Arctic and compared to observations at 50 European stations whose records averaged 200 years and in a few cases extend to the early 1700s.

Fig. 3 Temperature change for a January, b July and c annual relative to the temperature during 1961 to 1990 for Arctic stations. The red curve is the moving 5-year average while the blue curve is the number of stations

Fig. 3 Temperature change for a January, b July and c annual relative to the temperature during 1961 to 1990 for Arctic stations. The red curve is the moving 5-year average while the blue curve is the number of stations

Summary

The data and results for all stations are provided in detail, and the findings are inescapable.

The Arctic has warmed at the same rate as Europe over the past two centuries. . . The warming has not occurred at a steady rate. . .During the 1900s, all four (Arctic) regions experienced increasing temperatures until about 1940. Temperatures then decreased by about 1 °C over the next 50 years until rising in the 1990s.

For the period 1820–2014, the trends for the January, July and annual temperatures are 1.0, 0.0 and 0.7 °C per century, respectively. . . Much of the warming trends found during 1820 to 2014 occurred in the late 1990s, and the data show temperatures levelled off after 2000.

Once again conclusions based on observations are ignored while projections from models are broadcast and circulated like gossip. The only amplification going on is the promotion of global warming alarms.

megaphone

Postscript: I did a study last of 25 World Class surface temperature records (all European) and found the same patterns (here).

Footnote:  I’ve had two reports from readers that my posts do not appear properly in their devices, in one case the email message and the other in browsers Firefox and Chrome.  I am not seeing this in my email notices or in my Chromium-based browser.  Please let me know it you are experiencing such difficulties or not.

Tropics Lead Remarkable Cooling June 2022

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling  completely overcame the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one were gone as of April 2021, again in November 2021, February 2022 and now in June (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

For reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

Update August 3, 2021

Chris Schoeneveld has produced a similar graph to the animation above, with a temperature series combining HadCRUT4 and UAH6. H/T WUWT

image-8

 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

June Update Tropics Lead Dramatic Ocean Cooling

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  While you will hear a lot about 2020-21 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast the cooling set in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino was fully dissipated with chilly temperatures in all regions. May NH land and SH ocean showed temps matching March, reversing an upward blip in April, and now June is virtually the mean since 1995.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for June 2022.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HadSST3 (which is now discontinued). So I have separately posted on SSTs using HadSST4 Ocean SSTs Keep Cool May 2022.  This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years. Sometimes air temps over land diverge from ocean air changes.  However, last month showed air temps over Tropical ocean cooled sharply, along with strong cooling over NH and SH, taking Global ocean temps down.  Tropical land also dropped, and NH less so, while SH land rose leaving Global land average little changed

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

After a change in priorities, updates are now exclusive to HadSST4.  For comparison we can also look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for June.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the revised and current dataset.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. In 2021, SH and the Tropics both pulled the Global anomaly down to a new low in April. Then SH and Tropics upward spikes, along with NH warming brought Global temps to a peak in October.  That warmth was gone as November 2021 ocean temps plummeted everywhere. After an upward bump 01/2022 temps have reversed and plunged downward in June.  Tropics ocean anomaly cooled 0.4C the lowest in this period.

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for June is below.

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with extraordinary departures by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2021 spike in January,  then dropping before rising in the summer to peak in October 2021. As with the ocean air temps, all that was erased in November with a sharp cooling everywhere. Land temps dropped sharply for four months, even more than did the Oceans. March and April saw some warming, reversed In May when all land regions cooled pulling down the global anomaly. Now in June Tropics land dropped sharply while SH land rose, NH cooled slightly leaving the Global land anomaly little changed

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1980

The chart shows monthly Global anomalies starting 01/1980 to present.  The average monthly anomaly is -0.06, for this period of more than four decades.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20.   A small upward bump in 2021 has been reversed with temps having returned close to the mean as of 2/2022.  March and April brought warmer Global temps, reversed in May and now the June anomaly is almost zero.

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, nearly 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

2022 Update: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

gas in hands

Previous posts addressed the claim that fossil fuels are driving global warming. This post updates that analysis with the latest (2021) numbers from BP Statistics and compares World Fossil Fuel Consumption (WFFC) with three estimates of Global Mean Temperature (GMT). More on both these variables below.

WFFC

2021 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy. 

The reporting categories are:
Oil
Natural Gas
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro
Renewables (other than hydro)

Note:  British Petroleum (BP) now uses Exajoules to replace MToe (Million Tonnes of oil equivalents.) It is logical to use an energy metric which is independent of the fuel source. OTOH renewable advocates have no doubt pressured BP to stop using oil as the baseline since their dream is a world without fossil fuel energy.

From BP conversion table 1 exajoule (EJ) = 1 quintillion joules (1 x 10^18). Oil products vary from 41.6 to 49.4 tonnes per gigajoule (10^9 joules).  Comparing this annual report with previous years shows that global Primary Energy (PE) in MToe is roughly 24 times the same amount in Exajoules.  The conversion factor at the macro level varies from year to year depending on the fuel mix. The graphs below use the new metric.

This analysis combines the first three, Oil, Gas, and Coal for total fossil fuel consumption world wide (WFFC).  The chart below shows the patterns for WFFC compared to world consumption of Primary Energy from 1965 through 2021.

The graph shows that global Primary Energy (PE) consumption from all sources has grown continuously over 5 decades. Since 1965  oil, gas and coal (FF, sometimes termed “Thermal”) averaged 88% of PE consumed, ranging from 93% in 1965 to 82% in 2021.  Note that in 2020, PE dropped 23 EJ (4%) below 2019 consumption, then increased 31 EJ in 2021.  WFFC for 2020 dropped 26 EJ (5%), then in 2021 gained back 26% to match 2019 WFFC consumption. For the 56 year period, the net changes were:

Oil 184%
Gas 540%
Coal 176%
WFFC 236%
PE 282%
Global Mean Temperatures

Everyone acknowledges that GMT is a fiction since temperature is an intrinsic property of objects, and varies dramatically over time and over the surface of the earth. No place on earth determines “average” temperature for the globe. Yet for the purpose of detecting change in temperature, major climate data sets estimate GMT and report anomalies from it.

UAH record consists of satellite era global temperature estimates for the lower troposphere, a layer of air from 0 to 4km above the surface. HadSST estimates sea surface temperatures from oceans covering 71% of the planet. HADCRUT combines HadSST estimates with records from land stations whose elevations range up to 6km above sea level.

Both GISS LOTI (land and ocean) and HADCRUT4 (land and ocean) use 14.0 Celsius as the climate normal, so I will add that number back into the anomalies. This is done not claiming any validity other than to achieve a reasonable measure of magnitude regarding the observed fluctuations.

No doubt global sea surface temperatures are typically higher than 14C, more like 17 or 18C, and of course warmer in the tropics and colder at higher latitudes. Likewise, the lapse rate in the atmosphere means that air temperatures both from satellites and elevated land stations will range colder than 14C. Still, that climate normal is a generally accepted indicator of GMT.

Correlations of GMT and WFFC

The next graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates over the five decades from 1965 to 2021 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST4.

Since 1965 the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 236% from 146 to 490 exajoules.  Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.8C over 56 years, 6% of the starting value.

The graph below compares WFFC to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST4 for the satellite era from 1980 to 2021, a period of 41 years.

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 90% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.49C, or 3.4% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.48C, or 3.5% up from 1979.  The temperature compounded rate of change is 0.1% per year, an order of magnitude less than WFFC.  Even more obvious is the 1998 El Nino peak and flat GMT since.

Summary

The climate alarmist/activist claim is straight forward: Burning fossil fuels makes measured temperatures warmer. The Paris Accord further asserts that by reducing human use of fossil fuels, further warming can be prevented.  Those claims do not bear up under scrutiny.

It is enough for simple minds to see that two time series are both rising and to think that one must be causing the other. But both scientific and legal methods assert causation only when the two variables are both strongly and consistently aligned. The above shows a weak and inconsistent linkage between WFFC and GMT.

Going further back in history shows even weaker correlation between fossil fuels consumption and global temperature estimates:

wfc-vs-sat

Figure 5.1. Comparative dynamics of the World Fuel Consumption (WFC) and Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (ΔT), 1861-2000. The thin dashed line represents annual ΔT, the bold line—its 13-year smoothing, and the line constructed from rectangles—WFC (in millions of tons of nominal fuel) (Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003). Source: Frolov et al. 2009

In legal terms, as long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for the set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. The more likely explanation is that global temperatures vary due to oceanic and solar cycles. The proof is clearly and thoroughly set forward in the post Quantifying Natural Climate Change.

Footnote: CO2 Concentrations Compared to WFFC

Contrary to claims that rising atmospheric CO2 consists of fossil fuel emissions, consider the Mauna Loa CO2 observations in recent years.

Despite the drop in 2020 WFFC, atmospheric CO2 continued to rise steadily, demonstrating that natural sources and sinks drive the amount of CO2 in the air.

See also: Nature Erases Pulses of Human CO2 Emissions

Temps Cause CO2 Changes, Not the Reverse

June 2022 Heat Records Silly Season Again

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Thinkstock.

A glance at the news aggregator shows the silly season is in full swing.  A partial listing of headlines recntly proclaiming the hottest whatever.

  • Temperatures hit 43C in Spain’s hottest spring heatwave in decades The Independent
  • How to sleep during a heatwave, according to experts The Independent
  • Climate crisis focus of NASA chief’s visit The University of Edinburgh
  • Video: US hit by floods, mudslides, wildfires resembling ‘an erupting volcano’ and a record heatwave in two days Sky News
  • Rising beaches suggest Antarctic glaciers are melting faster than ever New Atlas
  • Dangerous heat grips US through midweek as wildfires explode in West The Independent
  • In hottest city on Earth, mothers bear brunt of climate change Yahoo! UK & Ireland
  • ‘Earthworms on steroids’ are spreading like wild in Connecticut The Independent
  • The Guardian view on an Indian summer: human-made heatwaves are getting hotter The Guardian
  • UK weather: Britain could bask in warmest June day ever with 35C on Friday Mail Online
  • Climate Change Causes Melting Permafrost in Alaska Nature World News
  • Spain in grip of heatwave with temperatures forecast to hit 44C The Guardian

Time for some Clear Thinking about Heat Records (Previous Post)

Here is an analysis using critical intelligence to interpret media reports about temperature records this summer. Daniel Engber writes in Slate Crazy From the Heat

The subtitle is Climate change is real. Record-high temperatures everywhere are fake.  As we shall see from the excerpts below, The first sentence is a statement of faith, since as Engber demonstrates, the notion does not follow from the temperature evidence. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

It’s been really, really hot this summer. How hot? Last Friday, the Washington Post put out a series of maps and charts to illustrate the “record-crushing heat.” All-time temperature highs have been measured in “scores of locations on every continent north of the equator,” the article said, while the lower 48 states endured the hottest-ever stretch of temperatures from May until July.

These were not the only records to be set in 2018. Historic heat waves have been crashing all around the world, with records getting shattered in Japan, broken on the eastern coast of Canada, smashed in California, and rewritten in the Upper Midwest. A city in Algeria suffered through the highest high temperature ever recorded in Africa. A village in Oman set a new world record for the highest-ever low temperature. At the end of July, the New York Times ran a feature on how this year’s “record heat wreaked havoc on four continents.” USA Today reported that more than 1,900 heat records had been tied or beaten in just the last few days of May.

While the odds that any given record will be broken may be very, very small, the total number of potential records is mind-blowingly enormous.

There were lots of other records, too, lots and lots and lots—but I think it’s best for me to stop right here. In fact, I think it’s best for all of us to stop reporting on these misleading, imbecilic stats. “Record-setting heat,” as it’s presented in news reports, isn’t really scientific, and it’s almost always insignificant. And yet, every summer seems to bring a flood of new superlatives that pump us full of dread about the changing climate. We’d all be better off without this phony grandiosity, which makes it seem like every hot and humid August is unparalleled in human history. It’s not. Reports that tell us otherwise should be banished from the news.

It’s true the Earth is warming overall, and the record-breaking heat that matters most—the kind we’d be crazy to ignore—is measured on a global scale. The average temperature across the surface of the planet in 2017 was 58.51 degrees, one-and-a-half degrees above the mean for the 20th century. These records matter: 17 of the 18 hottest years on planet Earth have occurred since 2001, and the four hottest-ever years were 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. It also matters that this changing climate will result in huge numbers of heat-related deaths. Please pay attention to these terrifying and important facts. Please ignore every other story about record-breaking heat.

You’ll often hear that these two phenomena are related, that local heat records reflect—and therefore illustrate—the global trend. Writing in Slate this past July, Irineo Cabreros explained that climate change does indeed increase the odds of extreme events, making record-breaking heat more likely. News reports often make this point, linking probabilities of rare events to the broader warming pattern. “Scientists say there’s little doubt that the ratcheting up of global greenhouse gases makes heat waves more frequent and more intense,” noted the Times in its piece on record temperatures in Algeria, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Norway.

Yet this lesson is subtler than it seems. The rash of “record-crushing heat” reports suggest we’re living through a spreading plague of new extremes—that the rate at which we’re reaching highest highs and highest lows is speeding up. When the Post reports that heat records have been set “at scores of locations on every continent,” it makes us think this is unexpected. It suggests that as the Earth gets ever warmer, and the weather less predictable, such records will be broken far more often than they ever have before.

But that’s just not the case. In 2009, climatologist Gerald Meehl and several colleagues published an analysis of records drawn from roughly 2,000 weather stations in the U.S. between 1950 and 2006. There were tens of millions of data points in all—temperature highs and lows from every station, taken every day for more than a half-century. Meehl searched these numbers for the record-setting values—i.e., the days on which a given weather station saw its highest-ever high or lowest-ever low up until that point. When he plotted these by year, they fell along a downward-curving line. Around 50,000 new heat records were being set every year during the 1960s; then that number dropped to roughly 20,000 in the 1980s, and to 15,000 by the turn of the millennium.

From Meehl et al 2009.

This shouldn’t be surprising. As a rule, weather records will be set less frequently as time goes by. The first measurement of temperature that’s ever taken at a given weather station will be its highest (and lowest) of all time, by definition. There’s a good chance that the same station’s reading on Day 2 will be a record, too, since it only needs to beat the temperature recorded on Day 1. But as the weeks and months go by, this record-setting contest gets increasingly competitive: Each new daily temperature must now outdo every single one that came before. If the weather were completely random, we might peg the chances of a record being set at any time as 1/n, where n is the number of days recorded to that point. In other words, one week into your record-keeping, you’d have a 1 in 7 chance of landing on an all-time high. On the 100th day, your odds would have dropped to 1 percent. After 56 years, your chances would be very, very slim.

The weather isn’t random, though; we know it’s warming overall, from one decade to the next. That’s what Meehl et al. were looking at: They figured that a changing climate would tweak those probabilities, goosing the rate of record-breaking highs and tamping down the rate of record-breaking lows. This wouldn’t change the fundamental fact that records get broken much less often as the years go by. (Even though the world is warming, you’d still expect fewer heat records to be set in 2000 than in 1965.) Still, one might guess that climate change would affect the rate, so that more heat records would be set than we’d otherwise expect.

That’s not what Meehl found. Between 1950 and 2006, the rate of record-breaking heat seemed unaffected by large-scale changes to the climate: The number of new records set every year went down from one decade to the next, at a rate that matched up pretty well with what you’d see if the odds were always 1/n. The study did find something more important, though: Record-breaking lows were showing up much less often than expected. From one decade to the next, fewer records of any kind were being set, but the ratio of record lows to record highs was getting smaller over time. By the 2000s, it had fallen to about 0.5, meaning that the U.S. was seeing half as many record-breaking lows as record-breaking highs. (Meehl has since extended this analysis using data going back to 1930 and up through 2015. The results came out the same.)

What does all this mean? On one hand, it’s very good evidence that climate change has tweaked the odds for record-breaking weather, at least when it comes to record lows. (Other studies have come to the same conclusion.) On the other hand, it tells us that in the U.S., at least, we’re not hitting record highs more often than we were before, and that the rate isn’t higher than what you’d expect if there weren’t any global warming. In fact, just the opposite is true: As one might expect, heat records are getting broken less often over time, and it’s likely there will be fewer during the 2010s than at any point since people started keeping track.

This may be hard to fathom, given how much coverage has been devoted to the latest bouts of record-setting heat. These extreme events are more unusual, in absolute terms, than they’ve ever been before, yet they’re always in the news. How could that be happening?

While the odds that any given record will be broken may be very, very small, the total number of potential records that could be broken—and then reported in the newspaper—is mind-blowingly enormous. To get a sense of how big this number really is, consider that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps a database of daily records from every U.S. weather station with at least 30 years of data, and that its website lets you search for how many all-time records have been set in any given stretch of time. For instance, the database indicates that during the seven-day period ending on Aug. 17—the date when the Washington Post published its series of “record-crushing heat” infographics—154 heat records were broken.

That may sound like a lot—154 record-high temperatures in the span of just one week. But the NOAA website also indicates how many potential records could have been achieved during that time: 18,953. In actuality, less than one percent of these were broken. You can also pull data on daily maximum temperatures for an entire month: I tried that with August 2017, and then again for months of August at 10-year intervals going back to the 1950s. Each time the query returned at least about 130,000 potential records, of which one or two thousand seemed to be getting broken every year. (There was no apparent trend toward more records being broken over time.)

Now let’s say there are 130,000 high-temperature records to be broken every month in the U.S. That’s only half the pool of heat-related records, since the database also lets you search for all-time highest low temperatures. You can also check whether any given highest high or highest low happens to be a record for the entire month in that location, or whether it’s a record when compared across all the weather stations everywhere on that particular day.

Add all of these together and the pool of potential heat records tracked by NOAA appears to number in the millions annually, of which tens of thousands may be broken. Even this vastly underestimates the number of potential records available for media concern. As they’re reported in the news, all-time weather records aren’t limited to just the highest highs or highest lows for a given day in one location. Take, for example, the first heat record mentioned in this column, reported in the Post: The U.S. has just endured the hottest May, June, and July of all time. The existence of that record presupposes many others: What about the hottest April, May and June, or the hottest March, April, and May? What about all the other ways that one might subdivide the calendar?

Geography provides another endless well of flexibility. Remember that the all-time record for the hottest May, June, and July applied only to the lower 48 states. Might a different set of records have been broken if we’d considered Hawaii and Alaska? And what about the records spanning smaller portions of the country, like the Midwest, or the Upper Midwest, or just the state of Minnesota, or just the Twin Cities? And what about the all-time records overseas, describing unprecedented heat in other countries or on other continents?

Even if we did limit ourselves to weather records from a single place measured over a common timescale, it would still be possible to parse out record-breaking heat in a thousand different ways. News reports give separate records, as we’ve seen, for the highest daily high and the highest daily low, but they also tell us when we’ve hit the highest average temperature over several days or several weeks or several months. The Post describes a recent record-breaking streak of days in San Diego with highs of at least 83 degrees. (You’ll find stories touting streaks of daily highs above almost any arbitrary threshold: 90 degrees, 77 degrees, 60 degrees, et cetera.) Records also needn’t focus on the temperature at all: There’s been lots of news in recent weeks about the fact that the U.K. has just endured its driest-ever early summer.

“Record-breaking” summer weather, then, can apply to pretty much any geographical location, over pretty much any span of time. It doesn’t even have to be a record—there’s an endless stream of stories on “near-record heat” in one place or another, or the “fifth-hottest” whatever to happen in wherever, or the fact that it’s been “one of the hottest” yadda-yaddas that yadda-yadda has ever seen. In the most perverse, insane extension of this genre, news outlets sometimes even highlight when a given record isn’t being set.

Loose reports of “record-breaking heat” only serve to puff up muggy weather and make it seem important. (The sham inflations of the wind chill factor do the same for winter months.) So don’t be fooled or flattered by this record-setting hype. Your summer misery is nothing special.

Summary

This article helps people not to confuse weather events with climate.  My disappointment is with the phrase, “Climate Change is Real,” since it is subject to misdirection.  Engber uses that phrase referring to rising average world temperatures, without explaining that such estimates are computer processed reconstructions since the earth has no “average temperature.”  More importantly the undefined “climate change” is a blank slate to which a number of meanings can be attached.

Some take it to mean: It is real that rising CO2 concentrations cause rising global warming.  Yet that is not supported by temperature records.
Others think it means: It is real that using fossil fuels causes global warming.  This too lacks persuasive evidence.

Since 1965 the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic (with 2020 an exception), steadily increasing by 218% from 146 to 463 exajoules. Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.9C over 55 years, 7% of the starting value.

Others know that Global Mean Temperature is a slippery calculation subject to the selection of stations.

Graph showing the correlation between Global Mean Temperature (Average T) and the number of stations included in the global database. Source: Ross McKitrick, U of Guelph

Global warming estimates combine results from adjusted records.
Conclusion

The pattern of high and low records discussed above is consistent with natural variability rather than rising CO2 or fossil fuel consumption. Those of us not alarmed about the reported warming understand that “climate change” is something nature does all the time, and that the future is likely to include periods both cooler and warmer than now.

Background Reading:

The Climate Story (Illustrated)

2021 Update: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

Man Made Warming from Adjusting Data

What is Global Temperature? Is it warming or cooling?

NOAA US temp 2019 2021

UAH Shows May Reversed April Warming Blip

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling  completely overcame the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one were gone as of April 2021, again in November 2021 and February 2022. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

For reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

Update August 3, 2021

Chris Schoeneveld has produced a similar graph to the animation above, with a temperature series combining HadCRUT4 and UAH6. H/T WUWT

image-8

 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

May Update NH Land and SH Ocean Warming Reversed

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  While you will hear a lot about 2020-21 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast the cooling set in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino was fully dissipated with chilly temperatures in all regions.  Last month NH land and SH ocean showed temps matching March, reversing an upward blip in April.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for May 2022.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HadSST3 (which is now discontinued). So I have separately posted on SSTs using HadSST4 April Cool Ocean Temps.  This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years. Sometimes air temps over land diverge from ocean air changes.  However, last month showed that while air temps over Tropical ocean warmed slightly,  strong cooling over NH and SH, both land and sea, brought the Global anomaly down, back to March 2022 level. 

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

After a change in priorities, updates are now exclusive to HadSST4.  For comparison we can also look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for May.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the revised and current dataset.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. In 2021, SH and the Tropics both pulled the Global anomaly down to a new low in April. Then SH and Tropics upward spikes, along with NH warming brought Global temps to a peak in October.  That warmth was gone as November 2021 ocean temps plummeted everywhere. A upward bump 01/2022 was reversed in 02/2022 before temps rose again in 03/2022.  Last month ocean temps in both NH and SH dropped sharply, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite some Tropical warming.

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for May is below.

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with extraordinary departures by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2021 spike in January,  then dropping before rising in the summer to peak in October 2021. As with the ocean air temps, all that was erased in November with a sharp cooling everywhere. Land temps dropped sharply for four months, even more than did the Oceans. March and April saw some warming, reversed In May when all land regions cooled pulling down the global anomaly.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1980

The chart shows monthly Global anomalies starting 01/1980 to present.  The average monthly anomaly is -0.06, for this period of more than four decades.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20.   A small upward bump in 2021 has been reversed with temps having returned close to the mean as of 2/2022.  March and April brought warmer Global temps, reversed in May and with little indication for another El Nino this summer.

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, nearly 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

UAH Shows NH Land and SH Sea Warming in April

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling  completely overcame the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one were gone as of April 2021, again in November 2021 and February 2022. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

For reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

Update August 3, 2021

Chris Schoeneveld has produced a similar graph to the animation above, with a temperature series combining HadCRUT4 and UAH6. H/T WUWT

image-8

 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

April Update NH Land and SH Ocean Warmer

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  While you will hear a lot about 2020-21 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast the cooling set in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino was fully dissipated with chilly temperatures in all regions.  Last month NH land and SH ocean showed warmer temps.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for April 2022.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HadSST3 (which is now discontinued). So I have separately posted on SSTs using HadSST4 2021 Ends with Cooler Ocean Temps  This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years. Sometimes air temps over land diverge from ocean air changes.  For example last month showed that air temps over NH and Tropics Land rose, while NH and Tropics Ocean temps were unchanged.   Meanwhile SH ocean temps rose sharply, while SH Land cooled somewhat.

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

After a change in priorities, updates are now exclusive to HadSST4.  For comparison we can also look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for April.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the revised and current dataset.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. In 2021, SH and the Tropics both pulled the Global anomaly down to a new low in April. Then SH and Tropics upward spikes, along with NH warming brought Global temps to a peak in October.  That warmth was gone as November 2021 ocean temps plummeted everywhere. A upward bump 01/2022 was reversed in 02/2022 before temps rose again in 03/2022.  Last month ocean temps in NH and Tropics  were little changed, but an upward bump in SH pulled up the Global anomaly. 

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for April is below.

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with extraordinary departures by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2021 spike in January,  then dropping before rising in the summer to peak in October 2021. As with the ocean air temps, all that was erased in November with a sharp cooling everywhere. Land temps dropped sharply for four months, even more than did the Oceans.  In March all land regions warmed pulling up the global anomaly. April saw SH land cooling slightly, while NH and the Tropics combined to further increase Global Land air temps.

 

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1980

The chart shows monthly anomalies starting 01/1980 to present.  The average monthly anomaly is -0.07, for this period of more than four decades.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20.   A small upward bump in 2021 has been reversed with temps having returned close to the mean as of 2/2022.  March and April brought warmer Global temps, but with little indication for another El Nino. 

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, nearly 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

Still No Global Warming, Milder March Land and Sea

a62edf0f39de560a219b7262163b0d45

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling has now completely overcome the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one were gone as of April 2021, again in November 2021 and February 2022. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

For reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

Update August 3, 2021

Chris Schoeneveld has produced a similar graph to the animation above, with a temperature series combining HadCRUT4 and UAH6. H/T WUWT

image-8

 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

March Update Milder Ocean and Land Air Temps 

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  While you will hear a lot about 2020-21 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast the cooling set in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino was fully dissipated with chilly temperatures in all regions.  Last month both land and ocean showed slightly milder temps

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for March 2022.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HadSST3 (which is now discontinued). So I have separately posted on SSTs using HadSST4 2021 Ends with Cooler Ocean Temps  This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years. Sometimes air temps over land diverge from ocean air changes, while last month showed that both air over land and ocean rose slightly.

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

After a change in priorities, updates are now exclusive to HadSST4.  For comparison we can also look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for March.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the revised and current dataset.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. In 2021, SH and the Tropics both pulled the Global anomaly down to a new low in April. Then SH and Tropics upward spikes, along with NH warming brought Global temps to a peak in October.  That warmth was gone as November 2021 ocean temps plummeted everywhere. A upward bump 01/2022 was reversed in 02/2022 and now temps rise again in 03/2022.  Last month warming in the Tropics and NH was moderated by SH ocean air remaining cool.

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for March is below.

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with extraordinary departures by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2021 spike in January,  then dropping before rising in the summer to peak in October 2021. As with the ocean air temps, all that was erased in November with a sharp cooling everywhere. Land temps dropped sharply for four months, even more than did the Oceans.  Now in March all land regions warmed pulling up the global anomaly.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1980

The chart shows monthly anomalies starting 01/1980 to present.  The average monthly anomaly is -0.07, for this period of more than four decades.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20.   A small upward bump in 2021 has been reversed with temps having returned again to the mean. Today we are at nearly the same temperature as 1980, with virtually no accumulation of global warming.

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, nearly 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

Little Ice Age Warming Recovery May be Over

Figure 1. Graph showing the number of volcanoes reported to have been active each year since 1800 CE. Total number of volcanoes with reported eruptions per year (thin upper black line) and 10-year running mean of same data (thick upper red line). Lower lines show only the annual number of volcanoes producing large eruptions (>= 0.1 km3 of tephra or magma) and scale is enlarged on the right axis; thick red lower line again shows 10-year running mean. Global Volcanism Project Discussion

Update March 23, 2022

Recently I published an analysis showing how warming over the last four decades has driven a steady rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  See Temps Cause CO2 Changes, Not the Reverse. 2022 Update

In discussion with Kip Hansen, it occurred to me that the process and equation could be explained by the steady recovery from the LIA (Little Ice Age).  That reminded me of this relevant discussion about the causes of the LIA, what ended it, and why the warming recovery from it may now be over.

Update August 2, 2019

University of Bern confirms in a recent announcement that volcanoes triggered the depths of the LIA (Little Ice Age).  Their article is Volcanoes shaped the climate before humankind. H/T GWPF.  However, they spin the story in support of climate alarm (emergency, whatever), rather than making the more obvious point that recent warming was  recovering to roughly Medieval Warming levels after the abnormal cooling disruption from volcanoes. Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

“The new Bern study not only explains the global early 19th century climate, but it is also relevant for the present. “Given the large climatic changes seen in the early 19th century, it is difficult to define a pre-industrial climate,” explains lead author Stefan Brönnimann, “a notion to which all our climate targets refer.” And this has consequences for the climate targets set by policymakers, who want to limit global temperature increases to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius at the most. Depending on the reference period, the climate has already warmed up much more significantly than assumed in climate discussions. The reason: Today’s climate is usually compared with a 1850-1900 reference period to quantify current warming. Seen in this light, the average global temperature has increased by 1 degree. “1850 to 1900 is certainly a good choice but compared to the first half of the 19th century, when it was significantly cooler due to frequent volcanic eruptions, the temperature increase is already around 1.2 degrees,” Stefan Brönnimann points out.”

Bern seems preoccupied with targets and accounting, while others are concerned to understand the role of volcanoes in natural climate change.  A previous post gives a more detailed explanation, thanks to a suggestion I received.

The LIA Warming Rebound Is Over

Thanks to Dr. Francis Manns for drawing my attention to the role of Volcanoes as a climate factor, particularly related to the onset of the Little Ice Age (LIA), 1400 to 1900 AD. I was aware that the temperature record since about 1850 can be explained by a steady rise of 0.5C per century rebound overlaid with a quasi-60 year cycle, most likely oceanic driven. See below Dr. Syun Akasofu 2009 diagram from his paper Two Natural Components of Recent Warming.
When I presented this diagram to my warmist friends, they would respond, “But you don’t know what caused the LIA or what ended it!” To which I would say, “True, but we know it wasn’t due to burning fossil fuels.” Now I find there is a body of evidence suggesting what caused the LIA and why the temperature rebound may be over. Part of it is a familiar observation that the LIA coincided with a period when the sun was lacking sunspots, the Maunder Minimum, and later the Dalton.

Not to be overlooked is the climatic role of volcano activity inducing deep cooling patterns such as the LIA.  Jihong Cole-Dai explains in a paper published 2010 entitled Volcanoes and climate. Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

There has been strong interest in the role of volcanism during the climatic episodes of Medieval Warm Period (MWP,800–1200 AD) and Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400–1900AD), when direct human influence on the climate was negligible. Several studies attempted to determine the influence of solar forcing and volcanic forcing and came to different conclusions: Crowley and colleagues suggested that increased frequency of stratospheric eruptions in the seventeenth century and again in the early nineteenth century was responsible in large part for LIA. Shindell et al. concluded that LIA is the result of reduced solar irradiance, as seen in the Maunder Minimum of sunspots, during the time period. Ice core records show that the number of large volcanic eruptions between 800 and 1100 AD is possibly small (Figure 1), when compared with the eruption frequency during LIA. Several researchers have proposed that more frequent large eruptions during the thirteenth century(Figure 1) contributed to the climatic transition from MWP to LIA, perhaps as a part of the global shift from a warmer to a colder climate regime. This suggests that the volcanic impact may be particularly significant during periods of climatic transitions.

How volcanoes impact on the atmosphere and climate

Alan Robock explains Climatic Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions in Chapter 53 of the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The major component of volcanic eruptions is the matter that emerges as solid, lithic material or solidifies into large particles, which are referred to as ash or tephra. These particles fall out of the atmosphere very rapidly, on timescales of minutes to a few days, and thus have no climatic impacts but are of great interest to volcanologists, as seen in the rest of this encyclopedia. When an eruption column still laden with these hot particles descends down the slopes of a volcano, this pyroclastic flow can be deadly to those unlucky enough to be at the base of the volcano. The destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum after the AD 79 Vesuvius eruption is the most famous example.

Volcanic eruptions typically also emit gases, with H2O, N2, and CO2 being the most abundant. Over the lifetime of the Earth, these gases have been the main source of the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean after the primitive atmosphere of hydrogen and helium was lost to space. The water has condensed into the oceans, the CO2 has been changed by plants into O2 or formed carbonates, which sink to the ocean bottom, and some of the C has turned into fossil fuels. Of course, we eat plants and animals, which eat the plants, we drink the water, and we breathe the oxygen, so each of us is made of volcanic emissions. The atmosphere is now mainly composed of N2 (78%) and O2 (21%), both of which had sources in volcanic emissions.

Of these abundant gases, both H2O and CO2 are important greenhouse gases, but their atmospheric concentrations are so large (even for CO2 at only 400 ppm in 2013) that individual eruptions have a negligible effect on their concentrations and do not directly impact the greenhouse effect. Global annually averaged emissions of CO2 from volcanic eruptions since 1750 have been at least 100 times smaller than those from human activities. Rather the most important climatic effect of explosive volcanic eruptions is through their emission of sulfur species to the stratosphere, mainly in the form of SO2, but possibly sometimes as H2S. These sulfur species react with H2O to form H2SO4 on a timescale of weeks, and the resulting sulfate aerosols produce the dominant radiative effect from volcanic eruptions.

The major effect of a volcanic eruption on the climate system is the effect of the stratospheric cloud on solar radiation (Figure 53.1). Some of the radiation is scattered back to space, increasing the planetary albedo and cooling the Earth’s atmosphere system. The sulfate aerosol particles (typical effective radius of 0.5 mm, about the same size as the wavelength of visible light) also forward scatter much of the solar radiation, reducing the direct solar beam but increasing the brightness of the sky. After the 1991 Pinatubo eruption, the sky around the sun appeared more white than blue because of this. After the El Chicho´n eruption of 1982 and the Pinatubo eruption of 1991, the direct radiation was significantly reduced, but the diffuse radiation was enhanced by almost as much. Nevertheless, the volcanic aerosol clouds reduced the total radiation received at the surface.

Crowley et al 2008 go into the details in their paper Volcanism and the Little Ice Age. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Although solar variability has often been considered the primary agent for LIA cooling, the most comprehensive test of this explanation (Hegerl et al., 2003) points instead to volcanism being substantially more important, explaining as much as 40% of the decadal-scale variance during the LIA. Yet, one problem that has continually plagued climate researchers is that the paleo-volcanic record, reconstructed from Antarctic and Greenland ice cores, cannot be well calibrated against the instrumental record. This is because the primary instrumental volcano reconstruction used by the climate community is that of Sato et al. (1993), which is relatively poorly constrained by observations prior to 1960 (especially in the southern hemisphere).

Here, we report on a new study that has successfully calibrated the Antarctic sulfate record of volcanism from the 1991 eruptions of Pinatubo (Philippines) and Hudson (Chile) against satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) data (AOD is a measure of stratospheric transparency to incoming solar radiation). A total of 22 cores yield an area-weighted sulfate accumulation rate of 10.5 kg/km2 , which translates into a conversion rate for AOD of 0.011 AOD/ kg/km2 sulfate. We validated our time series by comparing a canonical growth and decay curve for eruptions for Krakatau (1883), the 1902 Caribbean eruptions (primarily Santa Maria), and the 1912 eruption of Novarupta/Katmai (Alaska)

We therefore applied the methodology to part of the LIA record that had some of the largest temperature changes over the last millennium.

Figure 2: Comparison of 30-90°N version of ice core reconstruction with Jones et al. (1998) temperature reconstruction over the interval 1630-1850. Vertical dashed lines denote levels of coincidence between eruptions and reconstructed cooling. AOD = Aerosol Optical Depth.

The ice core chronology of volcanoes is completely independent of the (primarily) tree ring based temperature reconstruction. The volcano reconstruction is deemed accurate to within 0 ± 1 years over this interval. There is a striking agreement between 16 eruptions and cooling events over the interval 1630-1850. Of particular note is the very large cooling in 1641-1642, due to the concatenation of sulfate plumes from two eruptions (one in Japan and one in the Philippines), and a string of eruptions starting in 1667 and culminating in a large tropical eruption in 1694 (tentatively attributed to Long Island, off New Guinea). This large tropical eruption (inferred from ice core sulfate peaks in both hemispheres) occurred almost exactly at the beginning of the coldest phase of the LIA in Europe and represents a strong argument against the implicit link of Late Maunder Minimum (1640-1710) cooling to solar irradiance changes.

Figure 1: Comparison of new ice core reconstruction with various instrumental-based reconstructions of stratospheric aerosol forcing. The asterisks refer to some modification to the instrumental data; for Sato et al. (1993) and the Lunar AOD, the asterisk refers to the background AOD being removed for the last 40 years. For Stothers (1996), it refers to the fact that instrumental observations for Krakatau (1883) and the 1902 Caribbean eruptions were only for the northern hemisphere. To obtain a global AOD for these estimates we used Stothers (1996) data for the northern hemisphere and our data for the southern hemisphere. The reconstruction for Agung eruption (1963) employed Stothers (1996) results from 90°N-30°S and the Antarctic ice core data for 30-90°S.

During the 18th century lull in eruptions, temperatures recovered somewhat but then cooled early in the 19th century. The sequence begins with a newly postulated unknown tropical eruption in midlate 1804, which deposited sulfate in both Greenland and Antarctica. Then, there are four well-documented eruptions—an unknown tropical eruption in 1809, Tambora (1815) and a second doublet tentatively attributed in part to Babuyan (Philippines) in 1831 and Cosiguina (Nicaragua) in 1835. These closely spaced eruptions are not only large but have a temporally extended effect on climate, due to the fact that they reoccur within the 10-year recovery timescale of the ocean mixed layer.

The ocean has not recovered from the first eruption so the second eruption drives the temperatures to an even lower state.

Implications for Contemporary Climate Science

In this context Dr. Francis Manns went looking for a volcanic signature in recent temperature records. His paper is Volcano and Enso Punctuation of North American Temperature: Regression Toward the Mean  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Abstract: Contrary to popular media and urban mythology the global warming we have experienced since the Little Ice Age is likely finished. A review of 10 temperature time series from US cities ranging from the hottest in Death Valley, CA, to possible the most isolated and remote at Key West, FL, show rebound from the Little Ice Age (which ended in the Alps by 1840) by 1870. The United States reached temperatures like modern temperatures (1950 – 2000) by about 1870, then declined precipitously principally caused by Krakatoa, and a series of other violent eruptions. Nine of these time series started when instrumental measurement was in its infancy and the world was cooled by volcanic dust and sulphate spewed into the atmosphere and distributed by the jet streams. These ten cities represent a sample of the millions of temperature measurements used in climate models. The average annual temperatures are useful because they account for seasonal fluctuations. In addition, time series from these cities are punctuated by El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

As should be expected, temperature at each city reacted differently to differing events. Several cities measured the effects of Krakatoa in 1883 while only Death Valley, CA and Berkeley CA sensed the minor new volcano Paricutin in Michoacán, Mexico. The Key West time series shows rapid rebound from the Little Ice Age as do Albany, NY, Harrisburg, PA, and Chicago. IL long before the petroleum-industrial revolution got into full swing. Recording at most sites started during a volcanic induced temperature minimum thus giving an impression of global warming to which industrial carbon dioxide is persuasively held responsible. Carbon dioxide, however, cannot be proven responsible for these temperatures. These and likely subsequent temperatures could be the result of regression to the normal equilibrium temperatures of the earth (for now). If one were to remove the volcanic punctuation and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) input many would display very little alarming warming from 1815 to 2000. This review illustrates the weakness of linear regression as a measure of change. If there is a systemic reason for the global warming hypothesis, it is an anthropogenic error in both origin and termination. ENSO compliments and confirms the validity of NOAA temperature data. Temperatures since 2000 during the current hiatus are not available because NOAA has closed the public website.

Example of time series from Manns. Numbers refer to major named volcano eruptions listed in his paper.  For instance, #3 was Krakatoa

The cooling effect is said to have lasted for 5 years after Krakatoa erupted – from 1883 to 1888. Examination of these charts, However, shows that, e.g., Krakatoa did not add to the cooling effect from earlier eruptions of Cosaguina in 1835 and Askja in 1875. The temperature charts all show rapid rebound to equilibrium temperature for the region affected in a year or two at most.

Manns Map

Fourteen major volcanic eruptions, however, were recorded between 1883 and 1918 (Robock, 2000, and this essay). Some erupted for days or weeks and some were cataclysmic and shorter. The sum of all these eruptions from Krakatoa onward effected temperatures early in the instrumental age. Judging from wasting glaciers in the Alps, abrupt retreat began about 1860).

Manns Conclusions:
1)Four of these time series (Albany, Harrisburg, Chicago and Key West) show recovery to the range of today’s temperatures by 1870 before the eruption of Askja in 1875. The temperature rebounded very quickly after the Little Ice Age in the northern hemisphere.

Manns ENSO Map

2)Volcanic eruptions and unrelated huge swings shown from ENSO largely rule global temperature. Volcanic history and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) trump all other increments of temperature that may be hidden in the lists.

3)The sum of the eruptions from Krakatoa (1883) to Katla (1918) and Cerro Azul (1932) was a cold start for climate models.

4)It is beyond doubt that academic and bureau climate models use data that was gathered when volcanic activity had depressed global temperature. The cluster from Krakatoa to Katla (1883 -1918) were global.

5)Modern events, Mount Saint Helens and Pinatubo, moreover, were a fraction of the event intensity of the late 19th and early 20th centuries eruptions.

6) The demise of frequent violent volcanos has allowed the planet to regress toward a norm (for now).

The forecast above did not mention the January 15, 2022 major eruption of  Hunga Ha’apai volcano in Tonga.

Summary

These findings describe a natural process by which a series of volcanoes along with a period of quiet solar cycles ended the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), chilling the land and inducing deep oceanic cooling resulting in the Little Ice Age. With much less violent volcanic activity in the 20th century, coincidental with typically active solar cycles, a Modern Warm Period ensued with temperatures rebounding back to approximately the same as before the LIA.

This suggests that humans and the biosphere were enhanced by a warming process that has ended. The solar cycles are again going quiet and are forecast to continue that way. Presently, volcanic activity has been routine, showing no increase over the last 100 years. No one knows how long will last the current warm period, a benefit to us from the ocean recovering after the LIA. But future periods are as likely to be cooler than to be warmer compared to the present.

Still No Global Warming, Cool February Land and Sea

a62edf0f39de560a219b7262163b0d45

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling has now completely overcome the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one were gone as of April 2021, again in November, 2021 and now in January and February 2022. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

For reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

Update August 3, 2021

Chris Schoeneveld has produced a similar graph to the animation above, with a temperature series combining HadCRUT4 and UAH6. H/T WUWT

image-8

 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

February Update Cool Ocean and Land Air Temps Continue

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  While you will hear a lot about 2020-21 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast is the cooling setting in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino is now fully dissipated with chilly temperatures in all regions.  Last month both land and ocean continued cool.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for February 2022.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HadSST3 (still not updated from October). So I have separately posted on SSTs using HadSST4 2021 Ends with Cooler Ocean Temps  This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years. Sometimes air temps over land diverge from ocean air changes, and last month showed air over land dropping slightly while ocean air rose.

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

After a change in priorities, updates to HadSST4 now appear more promptly.  For comparison we can also look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for February.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the new and current dataset.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. In 2021, SH and the Tropics both pulled the Global anomaly down to a new low in April. Then SH and Tropics upward spikes, along with NH warming brought Global temps to a peak in October.  That warmth was gone as November 2021 ocean temps plummeted everywhere. Note the sharp drop in the Tropics the last 3 months, and NH erasing its upward bump in December. 01/2022 closely resembles 01/2015 and 02/2022 is the same.

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for February is below.

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with extraordinary departures by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July and a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December 2020 all of that was wiped out. Then 2021 followed a similar pattern with NH spiking in January, then dropping before rising in the summer to peak in October 2021. As with the ocean air temps, all that was erased in November with a sharp cooling everywhere. Land temps dropped sharply the last four months, even more than did the Oceans.  Note 02/2022 Global and NH land dropped further pulling down the Global land anomaly lower than 01/2015.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1980

The chart shows monthly anomalies starting 01/1980 to present.  The average monthly anomaly is -0.07, for this period of more than four decades.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20.   A small upward bump in 2021 has been reversed with temps now returning again to the mean. Today we are at nearly the same temperature as 1980, with virtually no accumulation of global warming.

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, nearly 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

No Global Warming, Chilly January Land and Sea

a62edf0f39de560a219b7262163b0d45

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling has now completely overcome the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one were gone as of April 2021, again in November, 2021 and now in January 2022. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

For reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

Update August 3, 2021

Chris Schoeneveld has produced a similar graph to the animation above, with a temperature series combining HadCRUT4 and UAH6. H/T WUWT

image-8

 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

January Update Chilly Ocean and Land Air Temps 

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  While you will hear a lot about 2020-21 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast is the cooling setting in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino is now fully dissipated with chilly temperatures setting in all regions.  Last month both land and ocean cooled further.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for January 2022.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HadSST3 (still not updated from October). So I have separately posted on SSTs using HadSST4 2021 Ends with Cooler Ocean Temps  This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years. Sometimes air temps over land diverge from ocean air changes, and last month showed air over land dropping slightly while ocean air rose.

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

After a change in priorities, updates to HadSST4 now appear more promptly.  For comparison we can also look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for January.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the new and current dataset.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. In 2021, SH and the Tropics both pulled the Global anomaly down to a new low in April. Then SH and Tropics upward spikes, along with NH warming brought Global temps to a peak in October.  That warmth was gone as November 2021 ocean temps plummeted everywhere. Note the sharp drop in the Tropics the last 3 months, and NH erasing its upward bump in December. 01/2022 closely resembles 01/2015.

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for January is below.

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with extraordinary departures by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July and a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December 2020 all of that was wiped out. Then 2021 followed a similar pattern with NH spiking in January, then dropping before rising in the summer to peak in October 2021. As with the ocean air temps, all that was erased in November with a sharp cooling everywhere. Land temps dropped sharply the last three months, even more than did the Oceans.  Note 01/2022 Global and NH land are much cooler than 01/2015.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1995

The chart shows monthly anomalies starting 01/1995 to present.  The average anomaly is 0.04, since this period is the same as the new baseline, lacking only the first 4 years. 1995 was chosen as an ENSO neutral year.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20.   A small upward bump in 2021 has been reversed with temps now returning again to the mean.

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, nearly 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.