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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 the fourth hottest year in the UAH record

Sou | 8:07 PM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

This won't be pleasing news to anyone, let alone the deniers at WUWT.  From WUWT (archived here):

2013 was the fourth warmest year in the satellite era, trailing only 1998, 2010 and 2005, 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. The warmest areas during the year were over the North Pacific and the Antarctic, where temperatures for the year averaged more than 1.4 C (more than 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal. There were small areas of cooler than normal temperatures scattered about the globe, including one area over central Canada where temperatures were 0.6 C (about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than the 30-year norm.

The Antarctic was much warmer than 'normal'

All sorts of things should shake the faith of the denialati, not least of which is the fact that according to UAH analysis, the Antarctic was one of the warmest areas -  where temperatures for the year averaged more than 1.4 C (more than 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal.

After all their recent ravings over sea ice around Antarctica, that should have given the deniers at WUWT pause.

I've done a quick chart of annual UAH annual global lower troposphere temperature anomalies, up to and including 2013:

Data Source: UAH

Addendum - RSS and UAH

I've included HadCRUT below, here is RSS and UAH together, for the sake of completeness.  GISTemp isn't out yet. They are fairly closely aligned, at least up until a couple of years ago. [Sou 10:19 am 5 Jan 14 AEDST]

Data Sources: UAH and RSS


I've made minor corrections to the charts, using the latest data from UAH. [Sou 11:33 am 5 January 2014 AEDST]

Despite this, the denial continues - from the WUWT comments

Lots of comments of the type "I don't believe it" and "it's about to cool down" and even "warmer = cooling". You've got to admit that WUWT houses a lot of utter nutters.

RichardLH says:
January 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Given that we appear to be at the top of a well observed 60 year cycle then this is not unexpected. The real question is ‘How much down from here do we go and for how long?”.

Gareth Phillips queries Richard and says:
January 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm
The point is Richard, the trend remains upwards.It may be a small amount, but it is still rising, not falling or staying still. Is there any objective evidence that we are at a peak and the trend will reverse?

To which RichardLH replies (excerpt, quotes removed):
January 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm
Well the HadCrut4 says there is a 60 year and we are at the top of it.
The UAH says the same (though with only data since 1979 you can only see half a cycle).
What evidence do you have that this is an upward trend? It looks very, very cyclic to me.
Let's look at HadCRUT4 to see just how we are now at temperatures of sixty years ago. I've animated with UAH superimposed as well - with a 1981-2010 baseline:

Data Sources: UAH and UK Met Office Hadley Centre

Nope - we should surely be at the temperatures of 1953 if all that affected climate was a sixty year cycle. But no, we're not. And no-one's likely to see surface temperatures of the 1950s for at least tens of thousands of years, barring supervolcanic eruptions or some other cataclysmic event.

Incidentally, in HadCRUT4, 2013 is the eighth hottest year on record, after (in order)  2010, 2005, 1998, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2002.

JimS demands a recount from science deniers Roy Spencer and John Christy and says:
January 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm
I find that very hard to believe, quite frankly – 2013 being the 4th warmest year in the last 30 years. I demand a recount, or, perhaps the coolists should be given opportunity to “adjust” the figures, this time, eh?

WeatherOrNot doesn't understand anomalies and says:
January 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm
Is mean global average temperature data available, rather than just the anomaly? I’d be interested to know the trend for the actual average global temperature over the years.

LT says:
January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm
It looks like UAH continues to deviate from the other global temperature datasets. Something seems off.

dp says that warming means it's cooling - huh?:
January 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm
Having that heat in the atmosphere above the north Pacific is a net cooling effect to the planet as the ocean heat passes through the air before making its way back the the dark regions of the universe. People are viewing this as a bad thing – I don’t understand that. Rejoice, people – that is what global cooling looks like.

Steve from Rockwood rides a cycle and says:
January 3, 2014 at 1:28 pm
If there is such a thing as a 60 year cycle then using a 30 year average for the negative half of the 60 year cycle and then claiming that 2001-2013 are the warmest years is … well … entirely expected. With the positive peak of a 60 year cycle centered around 2005 anything other than 12 of 13 years being 2001 or later would be very unusual – like 1998 which shouldn’t be there (we all know why it is an exception). It seems as though the world is unfolding as it should.

Steven Mosher posts a challenge to deniers and says:
January 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm
Time for all you sun nuts and PDO fans to place your bets.
we are at solar max.. If the sun is the cause then its time to make predictions

justsomeguy31167 goes for "it's a conspiracy" of the "gremlins in the satellite" type and and says:
January 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm
Since you get your data from NASA, any chance it is “pre-cooked” Hansen and Gavin?

bazza  misunderstood the ABC, thinking that "since 1889" means it was hot in 1889, not realising it means "since records began in 1889" (in that part of Queensland) and says:
January 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm
The abc here in australia are obsessed with the hot weather we are getting in qld at the moment.They spent most of the news talking about it no mention of the extream cold in the us.At one point in the show they had a [so called] weather expert on and with great joy he said it has not been this hot since 1889 scary scary we are all going to fry.My question is what made it so hot in 1889?it was not SUVs and air con, trust me the weather is no different now than it was in the 1950s.When will this global warming madness end?so we can stop spending billions of dollars on stupid research projects like that fiasco in antarctica with there ship stuck in the ice that they claim is not there.

This is for bazza courtesy HotWhopper and the Bureau of Meteorology:

Adapted from: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Bob Grise applies the logical fallacy of argument from incredulity when he says:
January 4, 2014 at 12:25 am
You look at all this massive ice at the poles and all that mass of water in the oceans and then do some math. The population of man per square mile of Earth is only 35, or one person per 18 acres. How the heck did that influence climate, or the amount of ice at the poles in any given year? It can’t be possible. This is nature at work. Natural variation. We have very little to no control.

Arno Arrak writes a very long post, of which the following excerpt is probably the gist of it. Step warming happened but it isn't really warming. (My para breaks and bold italics.)
January 3, 2014 at 5:07 pmThis way of calculating temperature is all wrong. What happened is that the 1998 super El Nino brought so much warm water across the ocean that it created a step warming immediately following it. That step warming raised global temperature by 0.3 degrees Celsius and then stopped. This 0.3 degrees rise looked like another El Nino at first but the temperature rise it created became a permanent addition to global temperature, starting with the year 2002. As a result, all 21st century temperatures sit on a high platform created by this step warming. It is a pretty level platform too, judging by the fact that global mean temperature has stayed the same throughout this century.
Just comparing twenty-first to twentieth century temperatures will give the impression that some kind of warming is taking place which is wrong. Warming did happen but it was a step warming and is over.
But it did leave a permanent imprint on global temperature whose consequences we must account for. It is not clear why the temperature rise it created stayed at that high level instead of going back to the pre-1998 period. Superimposed upon this platform are the 2008 La Nina and the 2010 El Nino that are part of the ENSO oscillation. That super El Nino of 1998 was itself preceded by eighteen years of temperature standstill, just like the one we have now.
Hansen noticed the temperature increase and pointed out that the ten warmest years all happened in the twenty-first century. He was right of course but he did not understand the role of the step warming and jumped to the conclusion that CO2 was responsible.
The super El Nino and its aftermath are a climate mystery that should have been intensely investigated. Nothing like this has happened for more than a century. Instead we see billions of dollars wasted on trying to prove greenhouse warming which does not exist. These “experts” controlling the money don’t have a clue about 1998 and its aftermath. Real climate science just does not interest them
You can read more dross at the archived WUWT article.


  1. A time ago I did a reconstruction of the HADCRUT 3 data using just sine waves (just wiggle matching!!) to show how a trend can be cancelled for a time by a cycle.
    one should also remember this:
    "With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk".
    Attributed to von Neumann

    There does seem to be a 60year cycle but we're over the peak (peak was around 200) and well on the way down! hence the levelling off of the hadcrut temperature.

    If no trend is assumed (i.e. there is no increasing magical "fluence" with time causing temp increase) then a 315 year cycle gives an approximation to the current trend - but this is also peaking and will then cause a decrease (time will tell!) The 315 year cycle does have a problem at the 1800s end where it should be increasing temps, and of course it doesn't tie in with the mwp/lia etc.!

    If one assumes a magical "fluence" increasing with time (let's call it CO2 and GH effect, for a laugh) then a 60 year cycle is still needed but its downward trend stops in 2030 and the GHG effect takes over and we cook +1.5°C by 2050 (time will tell).

    If any of the very dubious curve fitting has any predictive ability (it hasn't) little temperature increase will be measured until 2020 - so Tony will be able to post his "no warming for xx years" for a few years to come unfortunately.

  2. The idea of a 60-80 year cycle emerged in the US in the early 20thCE, with regard to rainfall patterns in the mid-West, so it seems entirely plausible. A 315 year cycle shows evidence of severe data torture.

    The take-away is, of course, that things ain't what they were 60-80 years ago. Something must be going on, and I think we all know what it is.

  3. if 2014 is an el nino year the popcorn is coming out

  4. If 2014 just leans toward El Nino for more than 7 months, the popcorn is out.

    2013, with 10 periods reporting, has 10 La Nina leaners, and it still made 4th warmest.


  5. Fourth hottest year in a record which spans an entire 34years... WOW.

    And it was only last July when you were questioning the validity of the UAH dataset.

    1. Huh? The choice of dataset was WUWT's.

    2. Yes, we can add the "it's only 34 years" to the "I don't believe it" and "it's about to cool down" and even "warmer = cooling"

      My questioning was more related to John Christy's chart where he aligned various observations of tropical mid-troposphere temps with CMIP models. (He aligned at a point rather than on a trend, and he averaged UAH with RSS rather than show them separately, to make the observations look much lower than modeled.) In retrospect it seems to me it was John Christy who was questioning UAH by averaging with RSS. Though I notice that he's now shifted to questioning RSS, saying it's not correcting for satellite drift or something.

      I've often posted charts that show how close UAH lower troposphere is to surface temps. The biggest differences pop up in the first three years of the UAH record.

    3. What JCH said. 2013 was fourth, but 1998 was a super El Nino, 2010 was a big EN. Only 2005 wasn't dominated by ENSO and 2013 leans to LN.

      As for UAH LT, there is the question of cool bias and still 2013 sits in the top four warmest years of a period exceeding a standard (WMO definition) 30 year climatology.

    4. I don't take UAH on it's own as having any greater significance than any other record. The surface temps for HadCRUT4 make it 8th hottest. GISTemp isn't in yet but so far up to Nov it's equal 6th hottest. RSS is 10th hottest.

      I just thought it was funny how WUWT-ers are so fickle. They used to just love UAH, it was the only "reliable" record. Now they've shifted allegiances to RSS. They've stopped adoring Roy Spencer and John Christy who must be feeling left right out in the cold. Their non-scientific pronouncements aren't given any credence by their colleagues and their scientific reports aren't given any credence by deniers.

      Like WUWT-ers used to hate Hadley/CRU but now they prefer it to GISTemp.

    5. RSS is 10th hottest. [...] Now they've shifted allegiances to RSS.

      RSS: 70.0S to 82.5N

      UAH: 85.0S to 85.0N

      They just exclude as much polar amplification as they can.

    6. RSuksSuks. Yah gotta read the small print.


    7. RSS is better for equatorial MT than UAH. That's one of the several problems with Christy's graph that Sou was talking about earlier.

  6. The comments were just crazy and hard to pick the best with so many classics on offer, this was my personal favorite

    strike says:
    January 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm
    Can someone please explain, how the “global avg” is being calculated? It looks to me, as if the tropics do not take part in this calculation? Global always equals (NH + SH) / 2

    1. Is strike arguing that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?

    2. Classic denier muppetry. Couldn't even be bothered to check Spencer's own blog for the details.

  7. I've added RSS above, for the sake of completeness. GISTemp isn't out for Dec 13 yet.

    1. My guess is that following from the warmest November on record GISTEMP will show December not to be the warmest on record.

      I wonder if deniers will take this to represent a "significant cooling that confounds IPCC scientists"

  8. I read your bio.... You have no background in climate science, and probably limited mathematical skills. Therefore, you are not qualified to comment on the way climate changes, or any of the complexities of weather patterns.

    1. Thanks :)

      However this blog isn't about me. As you'll have seen in your HotWhopper travels, I defer to the scientific experts when it comes to climate and other sciences. You too, I presume.

    2. Post the same at WUWT, Tisdale etc, and let us know how it goes.

      And give us a link to your own vita so we can judge you.



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