Summary: How warm was the world in November? How fast is it warming? See the numbers. They might surprise you.
The world has been warming for 2 centuries. Seldom mentioned is how much it has warmed, which allows alarmists to more easily arouse fear (e.g., see Joe Romm’s latest; difficult to read graphs but no numbers). For the answer we turn to the NASA-funded global temperature data from satellites. This post shows the numbers: the warming since 1979 is small (so far; the future might be quite different). The truth is out there for people willing to see it. Only with it can we prepare for our future.
Click to enlarge the graphs. This is the first of two posts today.
“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
— conclusion of the IPCC’s AR5 Working Group I
- What do satellites tell us about global warming?
- Was this the hottest November?
- The long-term history of warming
- Who produces this satellite data & analysis?
- For More Information
(1) What do satellites tell us about global warming?
Satellites provide the most comprehensive and reliable record of the atmosphere’s warming since 1979.
The November 2014 Global Temperature Report
by the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville
(Blue is cold; red warm}. Click to enlarge.
See the equivalent graph from the surface temperature stations of the Climate Anomaly Monitoring System (CAMS) of the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) at the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).
Key points from the UAH report (prepared under contract for NASA), which show a world that has warmed since 1979, but only slightly (few alarmists know this; even fewer admit it):
- The global composite temperature in November was +0.33°C (0.60°F) above the average for November during 1981-2010.
- Global climate trend of temperature starting in 16 November 1978: +0.14°C (0.3°F) per decade.
- Anomalies are computed per the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommended method, comparing the current temperatures vs. a 30 year base period ending with the latest decade.
That warming has not, however, been uniform around the globe.
- The fastest warming has been over the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic portions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Those areas have warmed at the rate of 0.49°C per decade, or more than 1.76°C (about 3.17°F) in 36 years.
- The oceans surrounding the Antarctic are cooling at the rate of 0.02°C per decade, or 0.07°C since December 1978.
- The Northern Hemisphere is warming more than twice as fast as the Southern Hemisphere (0.19°C per decade vs. 0.09°C per decade).
- The contiguous 48 U.S. states have an average warming rate of 0.22°C (almost 0.40°F) per decade during the past 36 years. That means the average atmospheric temperature over the lower 48 has warmed by 0.79°C or about 1.43°F during that time.
(2) Was this the hottest November?
Before we look at the numbers, Colin Morice (climate monitoring scientist at the UK Met Office) warns us that…
Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade.
Dr. Morice refers to the records from the hodgepodge of surface temperature stations. Their HadCRUT4 data is on course to exceed the 2010 record by 0.01°C (0.57°C above the 1961-1991 average). Neither of the two satellite datasets show new records for 2014.They measure lower troposphere temperature, with better coverage and consistency than the many national weather bureaus (many quite poor) that collect surface temperatures.
From the report of the UAH satellite data for November 2014 (the graph shows YTD thru November):
November 2014 was the second warmest November in the 36-year global satellite temperature record, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
With a global average temperature that was 0.33°C (about 0.60°F) warmer than seasonal norms, November 2014 trailed only November 2009, which averaged 0.39°C (about 0.70°F) warmer than seasonal norms.
Update: NASA funds two satellite temperature datasets. The second comes from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). It shows that 2014 so far is the 7th warmest since 1979, not even close to the El Nino years of 1998 and 2010.
(c) A key thing to know: since 1980 climate models have predicted too much heat.
Here is a comparison of actual global average temperature from Remote Sensing Systems (the other satellite dataset) vs forecasts of the major climate models.
The thick black line is the observed time series from RSS V3.3 MSU/AMSU Temperatures. The yellow band is the 5% to 95% range of output from CMIP-5 climate simulations. The mean value of each time series average from 1979-1984 is set to zero so the changes over time can be more easily seen. Note that after 1998, the observations are likely to be below the simulated values, indicating that the simulation as a whole are predicting too much warming.
CMIP-5 is model output from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5, used in the IPCC’s AR5).
(3) The vital context: a longer-term temperature history
Summary: Two decades of cool weather, followed by 18 years of warm weather. Wide swings in temperature; a relatively flat trend starting in 1998 – 2000. For more about the pause see these posts.
(a) From the UAH monthly report: a graph of the full record of UAH satellite data (started in 1979).
(b) A different view of the UAH data, by Roy Spencer, principal scientists on the UAH team (at his website).
(4) Who produces this satellite data and analysis?
(a) About the global satellite data, from the Novmeber report:
As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, Christy 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 othe 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 eight kilometers above sea level.
(b) About John R. Christy
He is Professor of Atmospheric Science at U Al-Huntsville, and Director of their Earth System Science Center (ESSC). He is also Alabama’s State Climatologis. See his full profile and publications here.
(c) Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist at the ESSC and member of the Affiliated Faculty at the U AL-Huntsville.
(5) For More Information
(a) Reference Pages about climate on the FM sites:
- The important things to know about global warming
- My posts
- Studies & reports, by subject
- The history of climate fears
(b) An introduction to climate change:
- What we know about our past climate, and its causes
- Good news! Global temperatures have stabilized, at least for now.
- What can climate scientists tell about the drivers of future warming?
- What can climate scientists tell us about the drivers of future warming? – part two of two