Still No Global Warming June 2021

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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 are now gone as of April 2021. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

UAH Global 1995to202104 w co2 overlayFor reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Moana 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. 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

June Update Ocean and Land Air Temps Continue Down

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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 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 despite some warming in NH, temps in the Tropics and SH dropped sharply.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for June.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. 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. Again last month showed air over land warmed slightly while oceans dropped down further.

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 technical enhancement to HadSST3 delayed updates Spring 2020, May resumed a pattern of HadSST updates toward the following month end.  For comparison we can 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 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.

UAH Oceans 202106

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH. An additional drop in March has SH matching the coldest in this period. March drops in the Tropics and NH made those regions at their coldest since 01/2015.  In June 2021 despite an uptick in NH, the Global anomaly dropped back down due to a record low in SH along with a Tropical cooling.

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.

UAH Land 202106aHere we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out.

Then January 2021 showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward.  In February NH and the Tropics cooled further, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite slight SH land warming.  March continued to show all regions roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.  Then in April NH land dropped sharply along with the Tropics, bringing Global Land anomaly down by nearly 0.2C.  Now a remarkable divergence with NH rising in May and June, while SH drops sharply to a new low, along with Tropical cooling. With NH having most of the land mass, the Global land anomaly ticked upward.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1995

UAH Global 1995to202106

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, 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, more than 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.

2021 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 (2020) 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

2020 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2021 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 2020.

WFFC 2020

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 89% of PE consumed, ranging from 94% in 1965 to 84% in 2019.  Note that last year, 2020, PE dropped 25 EJ (4%) slightly below 2017 consumption.  WFFC for 2020 dropped 27 EJ (6%), 83% of PE and matching 2013 WFFC consumption. For the 55 year period, the net changes were:

Oil 168%
Gas 506%
Coal 161%
WFFC 218%
PE 259%
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 2020 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST3.

WFFC and Hadcrut 2020

Since 1965 the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, 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.

The graph below compares WFFC to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST3 for the satellite era from 1980 to 2020, a period of 40 years.

WFFC and UAH HadSST 2020

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 82% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.52C, or 3.7% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.7C, or 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.

Background context for today’s post is at Claim: Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming.

July 2021 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 today proclaiming the hottest whatever.

  • Last Month Was the Hottest June in North America in Recent Recorded History TIME
  • Global Warming Is Increasing the Likelihood of Frost Damage in Vineyards Martha Stewart
  • Heat records smashed in Moscow and Helsinki CGTN
  • Alberta glacial melt about 3 times higher than average during heat wave: expert The Weather Network
  • US and Canada heatwave ‘impossible’ without climate change, analysis shows Sky News
  • Heat waves caused warmest June ever in North America The Independent
  • Glacial melt: the European Alps New Age
  • The North American heatwave shows we need to know how climate change will change our weather Cyprus Mail
  • Global evidence links rise in extreme precipitation to human-driven climate change Phys.org
  • Drought-Stricken Western Districts Plan New Ways to Store Water Bloomberg
  • Amid record heat, Equilibrium Capital raises $1 billion for second greenhouse fund ImpactAlpha
  • Last Month Was Hottest June on Record in North America MTV Lebanon
  • Superior National Forest could provide refuge to wildlife as the climate warms Yale Climate Connections
  • How climate change is exacerbating record heatwaves The Telegraph
  • Lapland records hottest day for more than a century as heatwave grips region Sky News
  • Heatwave stokes North America’s warmest June on record The Raw Story

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.
WFFC and Hadcrut 2018Over the last five decades the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 234% from 3.5B to 11.7B oil equivalent tons. Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.74C over 53 years, 5% 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)

2020 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

What Solstice Teaches Us About Climate Change

From Previous Post When Is It Warming?

On June 21, 2015 E.M. Smith made an intriguing comment on the occasion of Summer Solstice (NH) and Winter Solstice (SH):

“This is the time when the sun stops the apparent drift in the sky toward one pole, reverses, and heads toward the other. For about 2 more months, temperatures lag this change of trend. That is the total heat storage capacity of the planet. Heat is not stored beyond that point and there can not be any persistent warming as long as winter brings a return to cold.

I’d actually assert that there are only two measurements needed to show the existence or absence of global warming. Highs in the hottest month must get hotter and lows in the coldest month must get warmer. BOTH must happen, and no other months matter as they are just transitional.

I’m also pretty sure that the comparison of dates of peaks between locations could also be interesting. If one hemisphere is having a drift to, say, longer springs while the other is having longer falls, that’s more orbital mechanics than CO2 driven and ought to be reflected in different temperature trends / rates of drift.” Source: Summer Solstice is here at chiefio

Monthly Temps NH and SH

Notice that the global temperature tracks with the seasons of the NH. The reason for this is simple. The NH has twice as much land as the Southern Hemisphere (SH). Oceans do not change temperatures as much as land does. So every year when there is almost a 4 °C swing in the temperature of the Earth, it follows the seasons of the NH. This is especially interesting because the Earth gets the most energy from the sun in January presently. That is because of the orbit of the Earth. The perihelion is when the Earth is closest to the sun and that currently takes place in January.

sun-distances

Observations and Analysis:

At the time my curiosity was piqued by Chiefio’s comment, so I went looking for data to analyze to test his proposition. As it happens, Berkeley Earth provides data tables for monthly Tmax and Tmin by hemisphere (NH and SH), from land station records. Setting aside any concerns about adjustments or infilling I did the analysis taking the BEST data tables at face value. Since land surface temperatures are more variable than sea surface temps, it seems like a reasonable dataset to analyze for the mentioned patterns. In the analysis below, all years refers to data for the years 1877 through 2013.

Tmax Records

NH and SH long-term trends are the same 0.07C/decade, and in both there was cooling before 1979 and above average warming since. However, since 1950 NH warmed more strongly, and mostly prior to 1998, while SH has warmed strongly since 1998. (Trends below are in C/yr.)

 Tmax Trends NH Tmax SH Tmax
All years 0.007 0.007
1998-2013 0.018 0.030
1979-1998 0.029 0.017
1950-1979 -0.003 -0.003
1950-2013 0.020 0.014

Summer Comparisons:

NH summer months are June, July, August, (6-8) and SH summer is December, January, February (12-2). The trends for each of those months were computed and the annual trends subtracted to show if summer months were warming more than the rest of the year (Trends below are in C/yr.).

Month less Annual NH
Tmax
NH Tmax NH Tmax SH Tmax SH Tmax SH Tmax
Summer Trends

6

7 8 12 1

2

All years -0.002 -0.004 -0.004 0.000 0.003 0.002
1998-2013 0.026 0.002 0.006 0.022 0.004 -0.029
1979-1998 0.003 -0.004 -0.003 -0.014 -0.029 0.001
1950-1979 -0.002 -0.002 -0.005 0.004 0.005 -0.005
1950-2013 -0.002 -0.003 -0.002 -0.002 -0.002 -0.002

NH summer months are cooler than average overall and since 1950. Warming does appear since 1998 with a large anomaly in June and also warming in August.  SH shows no strong pattern of Tmax warming in summer months. A hot December trend since 1998 is offset by a cold February. Overall SH summers are just above average, and since 1950 have been slightly cooler.

Tmin Records

Both NH and SH show Tmin rising 0.12C/decade, much more strongly warming than Tmax. SH show that average warming persisting throughout the record, slightly higher prior to 1979. NH Tmin is more variable, showing a large jump 1979-1998, a rate of 0.25 C/decade (Trends below are in C/yr.).

 Trends NH Tmin SH Tmin
All years 0.012 0.012
1998-2013 0.010 0.010
1979-1998 0.025 0.011
1950-1979 0.006 0.014
1950-2013 0.022 0.014

Winter Comparisons:

SH winter months are June, July, August, (6-8) and NH winter is December, January, February (12-2). The trends for each of those months were computed and the annual trends subtracted to show if winter months were warming more than the rest of the year (Trends below are in C/yr.).

Month less Annual NH Tmin NH Tmin NH Tmin SH Tmin SH Tmin SH Tmin
Winter Trends

12

1 2 6 7

8

All years 0.007 0.008 0.007 0.005 0.003 0.004
1998-2013 -0.045 -0.035 -0.076 -0.043 -0.024 -0.019
1979-1998 -0.018 -0.005 0.024 0.034 0.008 -0.008
1950-1979 0.008 0.005 0.007 0.008 0.012 0.013
1950-2013 0.001 0.007 0.008 -0.001 -0.002 0.002

NH winter Tmin warming is stronger than SH Tmin trends, but shows quite strong cooling since 1998. An anomalously warm February is the exception in the period 1979-1998.  Both NH and SH show higher Tmin warming in winter months, with some irregularities. Most of the SH Tmin warming was before 1979, with strong cooling since 1998. June was anomalously warming in the period 1979 to 1998.

Summary

Tmin did trend higher in winter months but not consistently. Mostly winter Tmin warmed 1950 to 1979, and was much cooler than other months since 1998.

Tmax has not warmed in summer more than in other months, with the exception of two anomalous months since 1998: NH June and SH December.

Conclusion:

I find no convincing pattern of summer Tmax warming carrying over into winter Tmin warming. In other words, summers are not adding warming more than other seasons. There is no support for concerns over summer heat waves increasing as a pattern.

It is interesting to note that the plateau in temperatures since the 1998 El Nino is matched by winter months cooler than average during that period, leading to my discovering the real reason for lack of warming recently.

The Real Reason for the Pause in Global Warming?

These data suggest warming trends are coming from less cold overnight temperatures as measured at land weather stations. Since stations exposed to urban heat sources typically show higher minimums overnight and in winter months, this pattern is likely an artifact of human settlement activity rather than CO2 from fossil fuels.

uhi_profile-rev-big

Thus the Pause (more correctly the Plateau) in global warming is caused by end of the century completion of urbanization around most surface stations. With no additional warming from additional urban heat sources, temperatures have remained flat for more than 15 years.

Data is here:
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/northern-hemisphere
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/southern-hemisphere

Happy Summer Solstice

White Nights

White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg

 

 

May 2021 Slight Warming of 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 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast the cooling has set in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino is now fully dissipated after all regions headed down, now reversing slightly.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for May.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. 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.

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.  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?

HadSST3 belatedly reported March along with the April updates, so hopefully May will appear later in June.  For comparison we can 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 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.

UAH Oceans 202105

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH.  A further drop in March brought new lows for this period.  April stayed cool, and now in May SH and the Tropics warmed to converge on the same anomaly as NH, ~0.07  All regions are showing temps comparable to to 2015 prior to the 2016 El Nino event.

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.

UAH Land 202105

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out. Then January showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward. Then in February to April NH and the Tropics cooled further, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite slight SH land warming.  In May all regions warmed pulling up the Global anomaly from its lowest value since 2015. All regions are roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1995

UAH Global 1995to202105

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, 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, more than 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.

Adios, Global Warming

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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 are now gone as of April 2021. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

UAH Global 1995to202104 w co2 overlayFor reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Moana 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 Ocean and Land Air Temps Continue Down

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 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 it was the ocean cooling off dramatically.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for April.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. 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. Unusually, last month showed air over land remained cool, while oceans dropped down further.

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 technical enhancement to HadSST3 delayed updates Spring 2020, May resumed a pattern of HadSST updates toward the following month end.  For comparison we can 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 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.

UAH Oceans 202104Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH. An additional drop in March has SH matching the coldest in this period. March drops in the Tropics and NH make those regions at their coldest since 01/2015.  In April despite an uptick in NH, the Global anomaly dropped further.

 

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.

UAH Land 202104

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out. Then January showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward.  In February NH and the Tropics cooled further, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite slight SH land warming.  March continued to show all regions roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.  Then in April NH land dropped sharply along with the Tropics, bringing Global Land anomaly down by nearly 0.2C.  With NH having most of the land mass, it’s possible the additional Polar Vortex events drove air temps downward last month.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1995

UAH Global 1995to202104

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, 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, more than 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.

March 2021 Ocean Chill Deepens

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 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 it was the ocean cooling off dramatically.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for March.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. 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. Unusually, last month showed air over land remained cool, while oceans dropped down further.

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 technical enhancement to HadSST3 delayed updates Spring 2020, May resumed a pattern of HadSST updates toward the following month end.  For comparison we can 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.

UAH Oceans 202103

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH. An additional drop in March has SH matching the coldest in this period. March drops in the Tropics and NH make those regions at their coldest since 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 March is below.

UAH Land 202103Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out. Then January showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward.  In February NH and the Tropics cooled further, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite slight SH land warming.  March continued to show all regions roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.  With NH having most of the land mass, it’s possible the February Polar Vortex event drove air temps downward last month.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1995

UAH Global 1995to202103The 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, 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, more than 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.

Feb. 2021 Cooling Land, Warming 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 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 all regions heading down.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for February.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. 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. Unusually, last month showed air over land chilled (Polar Vortex?) while oceans warmed 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.  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 technical enhancement to HadSST3 delayed March and April updates, May resumed a pattern of HadSST updates mid month.  For comparison we can 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. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH. Both SH and the Tropics are now as cold as any time in the last five years, and all regions are comparable to to 2015 prior to the 2016 El Nino event. In February the Tropics stayed cold, while both NH and SH rebounded with warming, pulling the Global anomaly up slightly.

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 an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out. Then January showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward. Now in February NH and the Tropics cooled further, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite slight SH land warming.  All regions are roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.  With NH having most of the land mass, it’s possible the February Polar Vortex event drove air temps downward last month.

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, 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, more than 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.

Updated: Global Warming Ends 2021

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. Moreover, the UAH record shows that the effects of the last one are now gone as of January 2021. Updated to March 2021 (UAH baseline is now 1990-2020)

UAH Global 1995to202103

The 2016 El Nino persisted longer than 1998, and was followed by warming after effects in NH.  The monthly anomaly as 2021 begins is matching the 0.04C average since 1995, an ENSO neutral year prior to the second warming event discussed above. With a quiet sun and cooling oceans, the prospect is for cooler times ahead.

Postscript:  Article by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts regarding ENSO and Climate Models

At Oceans Govern Climate Arnd writes Instead of El Niño, La Niña 2020/21 came. 

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He summarizes in this way (in italics with my bolds):

Although ENSO is a long-known climate phenomenon, climatologists still follow the view of the meteorologists 100 years ago, according to which the atmosphere is at the center of all-weather events. They are generously willing to acknowledge that the oceans play an important role, but not that ocean temperatures and their contribution to atmospheric humidity are the most crucial factors. This can be seen in the example of ENSO. Although small in oceanic proportions, the weather above can have long distance effects. Once it happen, e.g. due to a lack of trade winds, the triggering cause remains the changes in equatorial water temperatures.

The attempt to use computer models and weather observation data, by atmosphere-ocean coupling, ENSO forecasts failed with the 2020/2021 forecast and will not achieve what would be necessary in the future either.

What is needed is twofold: (a) much more ocean data , and (b) acknowledging the supremacy of the oceans in climatic change matters. 

No ocean area is as intensive observed as the Equatorial Eastern Pacific (EEP), well over 40 years. Since recently the Tropical Pacific Observing System, TPOS 2020, sustained sampling network is the “backbone” of the system, (Details: WMO). Whether this system can even provide nearly enough oceanic data to make predictions about what is going on under the sea surface cannot be judged here, but it is unlikely and for a long time.

So the other problem remains, the climatologists’ narrow view on the atmosphere. The authors of the El Nino forecast for 2020/21 failed because they lacked the insight that without comprehensive marine data, their model calculations are at best speculations. At least this conclusion should be drawn from their dramatic false prognosis.

In conclusion climatology should realize, that any ocean space, whether in size of a few hundred square miles or as covered by ENSO, plays an important role in climate matters, and that the latter should be regarded as a gift, to understand the mechanism quicker, on who is driving the climate.

2021 Starts with Cool Land and Sea

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 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 all regions heading down.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for January.  Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. 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.

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.  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 technical enhancement to HadSST3 delayed March and April updates, May resumed a pattern of HadSST updates mid month.  For comparison we can 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.

To enlarge open image in new tab.

Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH. Both SH and the Tropics are now as cold as any time in the last five years, and all regions are comparable to to 2015 prior to the 2016 El Nino event.

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 an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out. Then January showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward. All regions are roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.

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, 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, more than 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.