Cooler Air over Land and Ocean August 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, and in February and June 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?

August Update Cooler Air over Land and Sea 

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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 then June was virtually the mean since 1995.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for August 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 SH and Tropics Lead Ocean Cooling July 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, July showed air temps over all ocean regions warmed sharply, lifting up Global ocean temps. Now in August air over both land and ocean cooled off again.

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 August.  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 air 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 reversed and plunged downward in June.  After an upward spike in July, ocean air everywhere cooled in August.

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 July 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. Then in June Tropics land dropped sharply while SH land rose, NH cooled slightly leaving the Global land anomaly little changed. In July, Tropics and SH land rose sharply, NH slightly, pulling up the Global land anomaly. In August that was reversed downward.

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 the June anomaly was almost zero. The upward spike in July was almost 0.3C, now lower in August.

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.

 

About Meridional Cooling and Climate Change

Fig. 7.1. Changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and solar activity are consistent with temperature changes. Top, above average solar activity reduces poleward transport causing warming. Bottom, the ascending half-period of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation causes an even bigger reduction in transport and has a bigger temperature effect. Middle, temperature evolution for the past 120 years is consistent with the effect of these two factors on transport. Data from SILSO sunspots (top), HadCRUT4 deseasonalized temperature (middle), and AMO deseasonalized (bottom), have been smoothed with a gaussian filter.

A recent post was Seven Theories of Climate Change, summarizing an array of explanations for fluctuations in temperatures and precipitation over Earth’s surface. Now, thanks to Javier Vinós & Andy May, we have a new hypothesis combining solar variability with oceanic/atmospheric oscillations to explain the climate record. An introduction to their findings is published at Climate Etc. The Winter Gatekeeper Hypothesis (VII). A summary plus Q&A. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and some added images. My first exposure to meridional cooling was provided by Clive Best, and later on is a repost of that understanding consistent with Vinós & May.

Update September 24, 2022 at end Richard Lindzen Weighs In

A synopsis of the Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis

The IPCC assessment reports published since 1990, reflect a scientific consensus that natural forces, including solar activity and ocean-atmosphere oscillations, like the Atlantic and Pacific multidecadal oscillations, had a net zero effect on the observed global average surface temperature changes since 1951. The IPCC consensus does not allow for changes in the poleward (meridional) transport of energy to have significantly affected this average temperature over the past 75 years.

The Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis proposes that changes in the meridional transport of energy and moisture are the main way the climate changes now and in the past.

Meridional transport variability has many causes and forces that act simultaneously and in different time frames on the climate system. They integrate into a very complex poleward energy transportation system. Among these are multidecadal ocean-atmosphere oscillations, solar variability, ozone, stratospheric-reaching tropical volcanic eruptions, orbital changes, and changing luni-solar gravitational pull. Meridional transport is therefore an integrator of internal and external signals.

It is not the only way the climate changes, but evidence suggests it is the main one.

The Winter Gatekeeper hypothesis does not disprove greenhouse gas effect induced climate change—manmade or otherwise—in fact, it acts through it. But it does not require changes in the atmospheric content of non-condensing greenhouse gases to cause significant climate change. Therefore, it does refute the hypothesis that CO2 is the main climate change control knob.

Meridional transport moves energy that is already in the climate system toward its exit point at the top of the atmosphere at a higher latitude. It is carried out mainly by the atmosphere, in both the stratosphere and troposphere, with an important oceanic contribution. The greenhouse effect is not homogeneous over the planet due to the unequal distribution of water vapor, and it is stronger in the wet tropics, weaker over deserts, and much weaker at the poles in winter. When meridional transport is stronger, more energy reaches the poles. There it can more efficiently exit the climate system, particularly during the winter, when there is no Sun in the sky. Most polar imported moisture in winter freezes, emitting its latent heat. Additional CO2 molecules increase outward radiation, as they are warmer than the surface. The net result is that all imported energy into the polar regions in winter exits the climate system at the top of the atmosphere (Peixoto & Oort, 1992, p. 363), and increasing the energy transported there at that time can only increase the loss.

When meridional transport is stronger, the planet loses more energy and cools down (or warms less) in a non-homogeneous way, because the net energy loss is greater in the polar regions. However, as more energy is directed toward the poles, the Arctic region warms, even as the rest of the world cools or warms more slowly. When meridional transport is weaker, less energy reaches the poles and exits the climate system. Then the planet loses less energy and warms, while the Arctic cools, because it receives less energy from the lower latitudes.

Figure 12: The effect of strong and weak Atlantic THC. Idealized portrayal of the primary Atlantic Ocean upper ocean currents during strong and weak phases of the thermohaline circulation (THC) Source: Bill Gray: H20 is Climate Control Knob, not CO2

Most of the energy is transported through the lower troposphere and ocean track. As a result, changes in multidecadal ocean oscillations produce a greater effect on climate in the multidecadal timeframe than changes in solar activity. Solar changes have a stronger effect on stratospheric energy transport. Even so, there is a non-well defined link between changes in solar activity and changes in the multidecadal oscillations that result in major multidecadal climate shifts right after 11-year solar cycle minima (see Part IV). Nevertheless, modern global warming started c. 1850, when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation increased its amplitude and period (Moore et al. 2017). The overall multidecadal oscillation (aka the stadium wave) currently has a period of c. 65 years, and the 20th century included two rising phases of the oscillation, explaining its two warming phases (1915-1945, and 1976-1997; Fig. 7.1).

Meridional transport was further reduced during the 20th century by the coincidence of the Modern Solar Maximum (Fig. 7.1 at top): A long period of above average solar activity between 1935 and 2004. It is the longest such period in at least 600 years. Solar activity acts mainly on stratospheric energy transport, but since it affects the strength of the polar vortex and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (see Part II), it also influences tropospheric transport.

As it can be seen in Fig. 7.1, most of the warming during the 20th century can be explained by the combined effect of the ocean multidecadal oscillations and the Modern Solar Maximum on meridional transport. No other proposed factor can satisfactorily explain the early 20th century warming period, the mid-20th century shallow cooling, and the late 20th century strong warming period, without resorting to ad-hoc explanations. In a single century two periods of reduced transport (warming), coincided with the ascent of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the effect of the modern solar maximum.

This resulted in 80 years of diminished transport that contributed to the greatest warming in 600 years, triggering political and scientific alarm.

Background Post Arctic “Amplification” Not What You Think

HT to Dr. David Whitehouse writing at GWPF regarding a recent study claiming Arctic Amplification is causing a wavey polar vortex, resulting in winter warming and cooling extremes.  His critique is Extreme cold snaps and global warming: A speculative explanation.

This post is challenging the notion of Arctic Amplification itself.  The term is bandied about with the connotation that man-made global warming is multiplied in the Arctic and responsible for weather extremes.

As the animation above shows, there have been in recent years alternating patterns of unusually cold or warm weather in the Northern Hemisphere.  There are several problems in the attempt to link these events to global warming/climate change, i.e. claiming causation from a slow increase in baseline global average temperatures.

  1. Arctic Amplification is an artifact of Temperature Anomalies
  2. Arctic Surface Stations Records Show Ordinary Warming
  3. Arctic Warmth Comes from Meridional Heat Transport, not CO2

Clive Best provides this animation of recent monthly temperature anomalies which demonstrates how most variability in anomalies occur over northern continents.

1. Arctic Amplification is an artifact of Temperature Anomalies

Beyond the issues with the measurements and the questionable adjustments, there is a more fundamental misconception about air temperatures in relation to “climate change.” Clive Best does a fine job explaining why Global Mean Temperature anomalies do not mean what people think. Below is my synopsis of his recent essay entitled Do Global Temperatures make sense? (link)

Background: Earth’s Heat Imbalance

ERBE measurements of radiative imbalance.

The earth’s temperature at any location is never in equilibrium. It changes daily, seasonally and annually. Incoming solar radiation varies enormously especially near the poles which receive more energy per day in summer than the equator.

The earth cools primarily by moving heat from hot tropical regions towards high latitudes where net IR radiation loss cools the planet, thus maintaining a certain temperature profile.

Key Point: GMT Anomalies Are Dominated by the Highest Latitudes

The main problem with all the existing observational datasets is that they don’t actually measure the global temperature at all. Instead they measure the global average temperature ‘anomaly’. . .The use of anomalies introduces a new bias because they are now dominated by the larger ‘anomalies’ occurring at cold places in high latitudes. The reason for this is obvious, because all extreme seasonal variations in temperature occur in northern continents, with the exception of Antarctica. Increases in anomalies are mainly due to an increase in the minimum winter temperatures, especially near the arctic circle. 

To take an extreme example here is the monthly temperature data and calculated anomalies for Verkoyhansk in Siberia. Annual temperatures vary from -50C in winter to +20C in summer. That is a seasonal range of 70C each year, and a year to year anomaly variation of ~8C is normal. The only global warming effect evident is a slight increase in the minimum winter temperatures since 1900. That is not due to any localised enhanced greenhouse effect but rather to an enhanced meridional heat transport. Temperatures in equatorial regions meanwhile have only ~4C seasonal variations, and show essentially no warming trend.

2. Arctic Surface Stations Records Show Ordinary Warming

Locations of 118 arctic stations examined in this study and compared to observations at 50 European stations whose records averaged 200 years and in a few cases extend to the early 1700s

A 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).  My synopsis: Arctic Warming Unalarming

3. Arctic Warmth Comes from Meridional Heat Transport, not CO2

Key Point: Heat Distribution Changes, not Global Temperatures

Rising CO2 levels modify that radiation imbalance profile slightly. Surface temperatures in the tropics are not really warming at all. Any excess heat induces more clouds and more convection while surface temperatures remain constant. What really happens is that the meridional radiation profile changes. Slightly more heat is transported polewards so that hot places are shifting more heat to cold places which are doing the warming. If CO2 levels stop rising then a new temperature and radiation profile would rather quickly be reached. This is then called ‘climate change’ but any such changes are concentrated in colder regions of the world. The global ‘temperature’ itself is not changing, but instead the global distribution of temperature is changing.

Key Point: More Atmospheric Heat means Warming in the Coldest Places

Temperatures at the poles during 6 months of darkness would fall well below -150C if there was no atmosphere, similar to the moon. Instead heat is constantly being transported from lower latitudes by the atmosphere and ocean and so that temperatures never fall much below -43C. If more heat is transported northwards than previously, then minimum temperatures must rise, and this is what we observe in individual measurements.

Long term changes in temperature anomalies occur mainly in northern continents in winter months. This is not because the earth as a whole is warming up but rather that meridional heat transport from the equator to the poles has increased and the largest effect on ‘anomalies occurs in winter. The average absolute temperature of the earth’s surface is unknown. Basing the evidence for climate change on the 150 year trend in global averaged temperature anomalies still biases the result towards higher latitudes where most of the stations are located.

Summary

When heat is released into the atmosphere from the oceans, it is transported toward the poles to dissipate into space. Places in higher latitudes are warmed, not by radiative effects of greenhouse gases in those locales, but by the incursion of warmer air from the equator.

What happens if more CO2 is added into the atmosphere? No one knows, but there are many opinions, a popular one being that more heat is retained in the atmosphere. But in that case, that additional heat will be shed by the planet in exactly the same manner: transport to the poles with slightly less extremely cold air at the higher latitudes.

Why in the world would we pay anything to prevent a little bit of warming in the world’s coldest places?

Clive Best takes the analysis further and relates to work by Christopher Scotese in a later post Fact: Future Climate Will Be Flatter, not HotterMore explanation at The Climate Water Wheel

Resources:  Bill Gray: H20 is Climate Control Knob, not CO2

No, CO2 Doesn’t Drive the Polar Vortex (Updated)

Quantifying Natural Climate Change

Update September 24, 2022 Richard Lindzen Weighs In

H/T Not A Lot of People Know That

London, 23 September – A prominent climate scientist has warned that the picture of climate change presented in the IPCC’s narrative is simplistic, ill-conceived, and undermined by observational evidence.
In a new 
discussion paper, Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) points out that the official picture, focusing narrowly on carbon dioxide as a warming agent, becomes implausible when applied to the details of the climate system.  According to Lindzen,

“If you are going to blame everything on carbon dioxide, you have to explain why, on all timescales, temperatures in the tropics are extremely stable while those in high latitudes are much more variable. The IPCC’s story is that small amounts of greenhouse warming near the equator are ‘amplified’ at high latitudes. But neither theory nor data support the idea of amplification.”

Instead, says Lindzen, this pattern – of stable tropical temperatures and fluctuating ones in high latitudes – is mostly a function of natural processes in the atmosphere and oceans; in other words, changes in oceanic and atmospheric currents that transport heat poleward while drawing varying amounts of heat out of the tropics.  These changes in transport affect the tropics, but they are not determined by the tropics.

“The changes in the earth’s so-called temperature are mainly due to changes in the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles – at least for major changes.  The changes in tropical temperature, which are influenced by greenhouse processes, are a minor contribution.”

Richard Lindzen: An assessment of the conventional global warming narrative (pdf)

 

Arctic Warming Bad News, Good News

The Bad News: Seven times faster than global average.
The Good News: Seven x Zero = Zero.

The above image appeared on twitter.  I followed up at the Climate Reanalyzer  to see how it works.  Here is the NASA monthly temperature time series for the North Pole, 90N, 0E.

To Enlarge, open image in new tab.

So NP temperature goes to nearly 0C every summer and down to around -25C in the winter. The last three years’ minimums were nearly the same as the first three years, and in between some minimums were higher and some lower.  So, I agree, 7 X Zero = Zero.

 

July 2022 UAH Rebound from June Cooling

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 in February and June 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?

July Update Land and Sea Temps Rebound from June 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 then June was virtually the mean since 1995.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for July 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 Stay Mild June 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 all ocean regions warmed sharply, lifting up Global ocean temps. Land temps also rose, especially in SH, resulting in a higher Global land anomaly. 

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 July.  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 reversed and plunged downward in June.  Now July shows an upward spike everywhere, with NH, SH and Global anomalies all up to 0.3C, and the tropics up from -0.4C to +0.1C.

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 July 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. Then in June Tropics land dropped sharply while SH land rose, NH cooled slightly leaving the Global land anomaly little changed.  Now in July, Tropics and SH land rose sharply, NH slightly, pulling up the Global land anomaly. Still summer 2022 is peaking lower than the previous two.

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 the June anomaly was almost zero. The upward spike is July is almost 0.3C.

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.

 

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

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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.

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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

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See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

April Update NH Land and SH Ocean Warmer

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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.