Saturday, January 17, 2015

Confirmed - 2014 was the hottest year on record

Sou | 3:23 AM Go to the first of 38 comments. Add a comment

NOAA and NASA have jointly confirmed 2014 as the hottest year on record. Here is the chart of GISTemp, including the latest data for December 2014:

December came in at 0.72°C, the second hottest December on record. 2006 (0.74°C), was the hottest. The previous second warmest was 2003 (which was 0.71C).  (Corrected from earlier version h/t Jim Milks). The previous hottest calendar years were 2005 at 0.65°C and 2010 at 0.66°C above the 1951-2010 mean. This year was 0.68°C above that mean, despite there being no (official) El Nino.

Andrew Freedman reported that "There is less than a 1-in-27 million chance that Earth's record hot streak is natural". Nature News has a report about the hottest year, as does Justin Gillis of the New York Times, and Chris Mooney at the Washington Post. While the Union of Concerned Scientists pinched my line about how 65% of people living today have never ever experienced a year where the global average temperature is less than the twentieth century average.

Here's a video from NASA showing how Earth has warmed since 1880 :

You can read the NOAA global report here. Some highlights:

  • During 2014, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 135 years in the 1880–2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C).
  • Record warmth was spread around the world, including Far East Russia into western Alaska, the western United States, parts of interior South America, most of Europe stretching into northern Africa, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia, much of the northeastern Pacific around the Gulf of Alaska, the central to western equatorial Pacific, large swaths of northwestern and southeastern Atlantic, most of the Norwegian Sea, and parts of the central to southern Indian Ocean.
  • During 2014, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.80°F (1.00°C) above the 20th century average. This was the fourth highest among all years in the 1880–2014 record.
  • During 2014, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.03°F (0.57°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).

If you're wondering how WUWT will handle the news, well Bob Tisdale promised an article showing how it was nothing but sunlight-fueled oceans that caused the warming, or because the oceans were hotter, or some nonsense like that. He can't or won't explain why or how this can happen when the sun isn't putting out any more energy than before. His main concern is to try to persuade anyone who'll still read his tripe that it's got nothing to do with CO2 or the greenhouse effect. His article hasn't appeared yet, but that will be the gist of it, though I expect he'll say it in many more words.


  1. Haven't you heard, GHGs can't make the oceans warmer! Only magic can do that.

    1. Magic (ie. a powerful force unknown to science) has already been proposed by deniers. The magic got called Force X, although I prefer to call them Climate Elves.

  2. If 2015 turns out to be marginally cooler than 2014, you can pretty much bet this will be trumpeted as evidence that a full recovery is just around the corner.

    The argument seems to work for arctic ice, so why not global temperatures?

    As we've seen, anything works with these folks, no matter how pathetic, if it can be twisted to fit their preferred narrative. They're pretty much hopeless.

    1. I've just been told, in another place, that 2014 can't have been that warm because we're at the start of a Grand Solar Minimum and there's dangerous cooling coming, oh yes, just you see if there isn't. Next up will be the Oregon Petition if I'm any judge :)

    2. funny enough, while the grand solar minimum was supposed to cause global cooling, I've actually seen deniers saying that 2014's record shouldn't be a surprise because it occurred during solar max

      the contradictory nature of denier comments is truly a sight to behold


  3. Sou, one correction: 2006 had the hottest December in the GISS record, with an 0.74ºC anomaly. December 2014 was the second hottest December.

  4. The usual deniers are already claiming that neither UAH nor RSS show 2014 being the hottest year. Judith Curry for example writes: "Meanwhile, the ‘warmest year’ is noticeably missing in the satellite data sets of lower atmospheric temperatures." https://archive.today/v0klH

    That is odd since in November 2013 she wrote (as part of her article trying to debunk a Cowtan et al. paper *):

    "Second, UAH satellite analyses. Not useful at high latitudes in the presence of temperature inversions and not useful over sea ice (which has a very complex spatially varying microwave emission signature). Hopefully John Christy will chime in on this." https://archive.today/tChfX

    Anthony W at WUWT blogging about the same issue wrote back in 2013: "NOAA knows high latitude near-pole data will be noisy and not representative, so they don’t even try to display it. UAH is the same way. Between the look-angle problem and the noise generated by sea ice, their data analysis stops short of the pole. RSS does the same due to the same physical constraints of orbit and look angle." https://archive.today/JyVuI

    So what is it, Curry and Watts? Are satellite data OK or not? You can't reject them in 2013 when criticizing a paper which used satellite data only to fully embrace them again in January 2015 to deny that 2014 was the hottest year.

    * Cowtan et al., Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2297/abstract

    1. sure you can! just like you can embrace the surface temperature dataset when it shows a "pause", but reject it as tampered and corrupt when a new heat record is broken.

    2. Cherry-orchard :-) Judith Curry even dragged out and cherry-picked a couple of comments from BEST - I have not heard from them in a while.

  5. Satellites. Pffffft.

    You keep them in the back of grandma's china cabinet and you bring them out only for special occasions when you want to impress someone with your special table decorations. Other times you leave them unseen and make disparaging remarks about grandma's choice of colours and patterns.

    Easy when you know how.

  6. Should start a contest to pre-write some "wattasisms"and common sense stories for WUWT.
    Here's my couple of entries.

    C02 cannot possibly cause warming as it is a well known fire retardent.
    Followed by some professional looking graphs showing C02 cooling raging hydrocarbon fires from 3000 degrees to ambient temp in less than 30 sec's.

    And then of course there's the story about the weather station maintenance technician from Norrl'sk who was caught driving with a blood alcohol level 1700.
    Doctors expressed surprise he was even alive at this level but he was described as normal and quite sober by aquaintances at the Weather Station Technicians conference he had been attending.
    This naturally throws into question the entire Russian and FSU temperature data set.

  7. Judith Curry in her latest post has surpassed even her normal level of sourness today. Not to mention her preparedness to defend the indefensible. She rides bravely to the defence of Senator Ted Cruz, who now heads the Senate Committee overseeing Scientific Research in the US. Cruz claimed following the release of the 2014 temperature values that there has been no warming at all since 2000. Presumably he has convinced himself that only the RSS data exists. Anyway, Judith says he's broadly correct because the "satellite data" show no warming over this period. This is garbage which even Professor Curry will find it hard to wriggle out of, since the UAH satellite data actually show a trend of over 1 degree per century for UAH (higher than any of the surface temperature data sets)(h/t Nick Stokes).

    Oh and she goes on to say that the increasing trends shown by the surface datasets are irrelevant as:
    "since 2000, there is only a very small amount of warming; this small amount of warming is indeed contrary to the theory of AGW.".

    So now "a very small amount of warming" is a way of dismissing the significance of surface warming rates of 0.6-0.8 deg C per century (h/t to Nick once more).

    What on earth is Judith doing trashing her own reputation in order to defend a clown like Cruz who is clearly just regurgitating what some other clown (Monckton, maybe, with his RSS-idolatry?) has shovelled into his gob? Does testifying before congressional committees secure that much remuneration for her?

    1. Possibly she's looking for some appointment (or gov 't contract) from the Republican majority? Or positioning herself for same in 2017?

      Actually, I would like to think she is scheming, rather than conclude that she is simply losing her mind.


    2. Wolverine,

      You might be right. She did after all get selected for the Koch Brothers - funded Berkeley Earth project after acquiring a (largely self-promoted) reputation as a "climate heretic", though the two events may be purely coincidental.

      Having met her at a rather strange conference in Lisbon a few years ago, she really doesn't strike me as that much of a schemer. Mind you she did seem to have an incredibly large chip on her shoulder against the likes of Mann, Schmidt and Trenberth, so maybe she, like Churchill, would ally herself with the devil if it would allow her to defeat these perceived enemies.

    3. RSS idolatry seems to have become fairly general; it's the only way to keep the mythical Pause thing alive until they can hit on some new idea. Meanwhile, to avoid dead air, repeats of golden oldies will be played - models are rubbish, SlimeItGate, hockey sticks, Al Gore, I'm being oppressed, an Ice Age cometh ...

  8. She censored my post with a cartoon of a dead dog with its paws up. It disappeared.

    Michael repeated my refrain from 2013 that the pause was about to go paws up.

    1. And good for her, JCH. Such gratuitous displays of disrepect for animals is quite out of order and deserving of prompt action.

      Now, gratuitous displays of disrepect for humans, particularly if they happen to be climate scientists with a distinguished record of peer-reviewed publication, well that's a different matter. Clearly there is merit in such material remaining in the public domain in order to aid the discussion of the meta-issues of climate science which are so often pushed under the carpet by those who would seek to stifle debate in order to defend their ideological positions.

      (Warning: the foregoing may contain traces of irony)

    2. So Judith's back to censoring critical comments now. That didn't take long, did it. Yet she didn't censor a disgusting, vulgar caricature of a climate scientist, pretty well alleging he committed fraud.

      Do you think she's gone over the edge. I mean really nuts, bonkers. Not just set up house in deniersville - but joined the Lizard Men equivalent? (She did put back the Slayers' threads just the other day, which would be consistent with that hypothesis.)

    3. Sou, Did she deliberately allow the cartoon of a naked Mike Mann with money stuffed into his anus to remain on her blog? I thought she had just been slow to delete it?

    4. It was a cartoon of a a dog with his paws up. For all I know, the cartoon dog could have been playing dead.

    5. No, I don't think she's bonkers.

      Her apple cart was well and truly kicked over when Mann got the IPCC gig way back last century before anyone even knew much about him. At that stage he was just a young clever clogs who'd worked with Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes and come up with some fancy computer statistical gee-whizzery to get some interesting results.

      I've never heard that she and he were in any sort of overt, direct competition for the job, though it's likely there were a lot of names as possibles to choose from in which she would very likely have been included along with dozens of others. But she seems to have taken it personally. If not a temper tantrum at the time, then resentment (or something) has certainly intensified as time has gone on.

      She's now got to the point where she has to keep building and strengthening the ten foot wall she's constructed out of her dislike of him. And if that means excluding, dismissing, ignoring the greater majority of the scientific community then she's willing to go that way. She's allowed a personal dislike, however flimsily based, to overwhelm her whole way of dealing with science and scientists to the extent that she'd rather spend her time and her energies with anti-scientific nongs.

    6. Adelady

      Hmm, this all sounds like conjecture to me. I agree that she has a massive chip on her shoulder against a variety of prominent scientists: Mann, Schmidt and Trenberth for definite, and if those three then it would seem highly likely that there are others.

      Her reasoning is that these three are "implicated by climategate", to use her scientifically precise statement of their misdemeanours. I think she has calibrated sagainst the oft-validated Montford-Bishop-Hill turpitude scale in arriving at this conclusion .

      Joking apart, though, she's had a pretty successful career: professorship at a prestigious Univeristy: Georgia Tech is very highly regarded. I find the personal vendettas hard to comprehend

    7. Probably it is by now.

      I'm going entirely from memory of a discussion elsewhere around the time that Judith started her blog. Unfortunately the computer I used then went to electronic heaven and I couldn't save most of what was on it. I've not been able to find it again since and I can't for the life of me recall who it was that related the details. But I clearly remember is my "so that's it!" response.

    8. Curry's had a successful career, but her involvement in research seems pretty pedestrian. Professorship can often be more about teaching and administration than creativity.

      Interesting to hear Curry already held such animus for Mann at the Lisbon conference. I'd got the impression that Lisbon was her introduction to the denier scene as a 'bridge-builder' and assumed she'd slid down the slippery slope from there. Maybe there's more to the story than Steve McIntyre's oily charm :)

    9. Cugel, Interesting that you suggest there may have been a lack of creativity in Judith's career. She's certainly demonstrating that now in her construction of a justification for Senator Cruz.

      Wow, do people still remember this Lisbon Meeting? I thought it was just people like me who were actually there. No the introduction to denier-land was via Watts and Eschenbach soon after the CRU email theft. She then went on to plugging Montford's book as an authority on paleoclimatology, then came Lisbon, during which she sniped at Mann, Schmidt and Trenberth. Despite this, she was seen by the organisers as quite a catch and as someone who could restore the public trust that they asserted had been forfeited by those "implicated in climategate". As you can judge the organisers weren't themselves the greatest of bridge builders.

    10. Bill, the appalling cartoon is still there - several days later. Her behaviour when it comes to Michael Mann is quite disgusting. Her idiocy with climate science is inexplicable.

      Adelady is correct about it starting a long time ago - before Lisbon (it's why she was invited and probably the reason she went). I don't know why she is so jealous of Michael Mann, but it's a long-standing grudge that she holds.

      IIRC Judith once said something about having an epiphany with the publicity she got from her hurricane paper - and I think that was the highlight of an otherwise uneventful life. She used to do science - now she's doing an about face and chasing fame the only way she knows how. By differentiating herself from her scientific colleagues, disparaging their work, and touting silly denier memes. That way she at least gets David Rose of the Daily Mail to occasionally fit her into some column inches (maybe with Benny Peiser or another denier) - between the latest Royals scandal and a boy scout leader or equivalent. (She ought to take note of what's happened to Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke Sr.)

    11. Sou,

      Curry put the Slayer threads back after I questioned her stirring defence of free speech in light of the deletion of whole threads in the face of some empty threats about legal action.

    12. I think Judith Curry has gone nutter-butters. She obvious does not care too much about her reputation in the climate science community if she makes comments like this:

      "Capitol Weather Gang has reactions from 20 scientists [link], including a few sensible ones (such as moi).:

  9. Curry's gone #FullRetard...is it resentment, jealousy and spitefulness gone too far? Is it greed? Is it fame, sense of importance and the love of deniers? Has she simply gone nuts? Some combination of the above? Who the F cares...

  10. Well, I am perhaps being a pedant here, but the only alternative approach is probably that of a dramatist.

    , "The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2014 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880."
    "... . surpassing the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C)... "

    0.04°C, over records averaging the entire globe, derived from many different organizations and systems.

    Surely the normal scientific approach is to say: "It's dang warm alright, and may even be amongst the warmest we have recorded, but given the nature of the data and the error bars, we cannot say that with any statistical certainty".

    If the answer is, "Well, this is a world wide emergency, so we have to push the issue", surely that pre-supposes any conclusions the data may lead to?


    1. Is the poster marke:

      a. A Pedant.
      b. A Dramatist.
      c. A Scientist.
      d. A Statistician.
      e. None of the above.

    2. a. and b. Building a strawman is a sign of denialism. Or is it an appeal to extremes? Either way marke makes a logical fallacy.

    3. Marke makes a point that David Appell has already made. The issue is not that a record has been set, but that the three statistically-equal record holders are all in the last 10 years. The most important "AGW" plot in global surface temperatures is of the decadal averages, one of Sou's other posts.

    4. This is the one you're referring to I think, PL.


      I do think that 2014 being a record hot year is an important finding. It brings it home to the general public that there is no ice age about to happen and the world continues to heat up.

      I agree that in isolation it wouldn't be very important - but only if temperatures had been pretty well flat for the past century. If that were the case then neither would a record cold year have a lot of meaning in isolation.

      It's important because as time goes by the only global records being set are hot ones, not cold ones. As David Karoly pointed out:

      As the saying goes, one record hot year doesn’t make a global warming trend. However, the repeated setting of new record high temperatures in 2014, 2010, 2005, 1998 and 1997 is clear indication of ongoing global warming. Using NOAA data, a new record cold year globally has not been set since 1911!


    5. It is important to declare 2014 as the warmest year on record because there is this strange group of self-appointed fake experts who go around declaring there has been no warming for 18 years and 8 months - they do not seem too concerned about error bars and statistical certainty.

  11. A few years ago I made this prediction:

    "The annual GISS January-December land-and-sea mean global temperature anomaly for the next WMO-defined El Niño year will be:

    0.70 ± 0.10 degree celcius.


    Given that 2014 was a fizzer of an El Niño year:


    I'm calling bullseye.

    1. Heh, after all these years I just twigged that I meant 0.70 ± 0.01 degree celcius.

      That's the sort of typo that crashes a lander several metres into the surface of Mars...


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.