Update about global temperatures. Watch our world warm!

Summary:  The news media writes frequently about global warming, but how well informed are we. Test for yourselves.  At your local pub ask the bar how much the world has warmed during the 34 year-long satellite record (ie, the best record).  The result, which appears below (in red) will surprise many in the room — which reveals much about the media’s role in our society.  Today we look at the data about this important subject, through 2012.

global-warming-2

Contents

  1. What the satellites tell us about global warming
  2. How rapidly are the oceans warming?
  3. Some of the key things to remember about global warming!
  4. For More Information

Red emphasis added.

(1)  What the satellites tell us about global warming

The December 2012 Global Temperature Report
by the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (blue is cold; red warm}

20130105-2012-LT-Anomaly
Click to enlarge!

(a)  Key points

  • Globally, 2012 was ninth warmest of the past 34 years.
  • In the U.S., 2012 sets a new record high temperature.
  • Global climate trend since November 1978: +0.14 °C per decade (0.25 °F). {Total since 1978 < 1 °F}
  • December global composite: +0.20 °C (0.36 °F) above the 30-year average for December.
  • December Northern Hemisphere: +0.14 °C (0.25 °F) above 30-year average for December.
  • December Southern Hemisphere: +0.26 °C (0.47 °F) above 30-year average for December.

(b)  Details

Globally, 2012 was the ninth warmest year among the past 34, with an annual global average temperature that was 0.161 C (about 0.29 °F) warmer than the 30-year baseline average, according to Dr. John Christy. 2012 was about 0.03 °C {0.054 °F} warmer than 2011, but was 0.23 °C cooler than 2010.

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Eleven of the 12 warmest years in the satellite temperature record have been been since 2001. From 2001 to the present only 2008 was cooler than the long-term norm for the globe. Despite that string of warmer-than-normal years, there has been no measurable warming trend since about 1998.

While 2012 was only the 9th warmest year globally, it was the warmest year on record for both the contiguous 48 US states and for the continental US, including Alaska. For the US, 2012 started with one of the 3 warmest Januaries in the 34-year record, saw a record-setting March heat wave, and stayed warm enough for the rest of the year to set a record. … The annual average temperature over the conterminous 48 states in 2012 was 0.555 °C (about 0.99 °F) warmer than seasonal norms.

Compared to seasonal norms, the coolest area on the globe throughout 2012 was central Mongolia, where temperatures averaged about 1.39 °C (about 2.5 °F) cooler than seasonal norms. The warmest area was north of central Russia in the Kara Sea, where temperatures averaged 2.53 °C (about 4.55 °F) warmer than seasonal norms for 2012. …

(c)  The satellite history (click to enlarge)

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

(d)  About the global satellite

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about 8,000 above sea level.

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

————- End of The December 2012 Global Temperature Report ————-

(2)  How rapidly are the oceans warming?

The temperature datasets that get the most attention measure land surface temperatures. But not only are the seas 70% of the Earth’s surface, but the oceans are the primary reservoir of heat for the coupled sea-air system in which we live. Unfortunately we don’t have good historical data for sea surface temperatures (SST) before roughly 1982.  There are several datasets of global SST data after the early 1980s; for details see Bob Tisdale’s “An Overview Of Sea Surface Temperature Datasets Used In Global Temperature Products“.

Here is a graph of the SST Global anomalies from the NOMADS website, from Bob Tisdales’s website (click to enlarge), which combines both direct measurements (ie, ships and buoys) and satellite data)  Again, no warming since the late 1990s.  SST’s show the effect of the large decadal-scale cycles (eg, La Nina – El Nino in the tropical Pacific), which effect global temperatures.

From Bob Tisdale; click to enlarge!
From Bob Tisdale; click to enlarge!

(3)  Some of the key things to remember about global warming!

While cheering madly (ie, irrationally, emotionally, hysterically) for their faction of scientists, laypeople often loose sight of the big picture — the key elements for making public policy.

The major global temperature measurement systems tell — broadly speaking — the same story since the late 1970s: two decades of warming, followed by a pause.

This is consistent with the larger firm conclusions of climate scientists: two centuries of warming, coming in pulses (ie, waves), with anthropogenic factors becoming the largest (not the only) drivers since roughly 1950.

(4)  For More Information

Other posts about global warming:

  1. An article giving strong evidence of global warming, 30 June 2008
  2. How warm is the Earth? How do we measure it?, 28 January 2009
  3. A look at the temperature record of Alaska – any sign of global warming?, 17 May 2009
  4. Good news!  Global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now., 3 February 2012
  5. Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now., 14 October 2012
  6. When did we start global warming? See the surprising answer (it’s not what you’ve been told)., 18 October 2012
  7. The IPCC sees the pause in global warming!, 18 December 2012

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6 thoughts on “Update about global temperatures. Watch our world warm!

  1. Fabius, I have read about a heat island effect on these land surface temperature data, due to the addition of since significant thermal mass (concrete, asphalt, etc.) near the data collection points since 1978. This seems to me a legitimate concern; do you know whether it was accounted for in these tabulations?

    1. DJ,

      The heat island effect is a large controversy regarding the land surface temperature sensor data.

      This is why I prefer to rely on the sea surface and satellite data.

      However, all the global temperature measurement systems tell — broadly speaking — the same story since the late 1970s: two decades of warming, followed by a pause.

      This is consistent with the larger firm conclusions of climate scientists: two centuries of warming, coming in pulses (ie, waves), with anthropogenic factors becoming the largest (not the only) drivers since roughly 1950.

      While cheering madly (ie, irrationally, emotionally, hysterically) for their faction of scientists, laypeople often loose sight of the big picture — the key elements for making public policy.

  2. Even the British Met office has confirmed that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years. Yet the discredited James Hansen and others continue to claim that record cold weather is global warming. Are you also claiming that record cold is global warming?

    1. “Even the British Met office has confirmed that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years.”

      Suggestion: look in the For More Information Section. You’ll see posts about the “pause” going back to Feb 2012, with considerable information about its nature and significance.

      “Yet the discredited James Hansen and others”

      He’s not discredited among his peers (climate scientists); your opinion doesn’t count. This isn’t a football game where you root for your side. It’s a debate among scientists about matters on the edge of the known.

      “Are you also claiming that record cold is global warming?”

      Global temps are not “record cold”; they’re near the post-Little Ice Age high. There are always areas with “record” cold and “record” warm. In most areas the record is too brief to have much significance; referring to “records” without specifying the period is one aspect of the dysfunctional climate discussion in the general public — heat, but no light.

  3. hi my name is andre i am currently working on a book about global warming and climate change my plan is to help bring more awareness to the changes in the earths weather systems in hopes that the world will see the damages we are doing the planet in hope that we will change our way of living when it comes to burning fossel fuels if you could send me a email back with the latest global temperaters reading of land and air it will help me further for the book.

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