Thursday, July 16, 2015

A mixed up month behind the times and anomalous anomalies @wattsupwiththat

There's distinctly odd article at WUWT right now (archived here). Anthony Watts is showing off. He's saying how he knows what the NOAA will be releasing tomorrow. He wrote:
Thanks partly to NOAA’s new adjusted dataset, tommorrow (sic) they’ll claim to reporters that May was the ‘hottest ever’

May? Well that isn't likely to be what the NOAA will announce tomorrow (US time). If they announce anything it will be what the June data shows. The NOAA announced the report for May 2015 a month ago, it was published on 18 June. (The next global report is due on 20 July, with a press briefing on 16 July. Here is a link to the briefing held in June.)

Actually, Anonymous points out that Anthony's big announcement will be the climate report for 2014. His note even says as much:

This is what is being sent out today:

NOAA to Announce Key Climate Findings: Learn more about the temperature, precipitation and weather events experienced around the world in 2014, tomorrow at 11 am EDT. Dial 1-888-989-9791 with the password “Climate” to join the call and view the slides here (available at 10:30 am EDT).

The really weird part about all of this, is that in the very same article, Anthony copied one of his headlines from back in June. His headline and the first few lines were:

NOAA Releases New Pause-Buster Global Surface Temperature Data and Immediately Claims Record-High Temps for May 2015 – What a Surprise!
NOAA recently published their State of the Climate Report for May 2015. Under the heading of Global Summary Information, they note:

His main headline can't have been a misprint, because Anthony goes on and on about what the May 2015 report is going to show and how he bets that "AP’s Seth Borenstein (and others) will eat that right up and that global image they are pushing will be seen in news world-wide". (He didn't report it.) Reading Anthony's article is a surreal experience. Is it just me, or do you agree?

Anomalous anomalies and different baselines

Anyway, let's just say young Anthony is having a senior's moment. We'll put that to one side. What about the rest. For one thing, he decided to compare the lower troposphere with the surface. He wrote:
So for May 2015 NOAA says the globe is at 0.87°C above normal, and UAH says the globe is at 0.27°C above normal –  a difference by a factor of three.

This time he failed to recognise that:

  • It makes no sense to talk about factors of three when discussing temperature like that. If the temperature here is 23C and there is 20C and the baseline is 20C, therefore the anomaly here is 3C and there is 0c - does that mean that here is infinitely different to there?
  • The baseline for NOAA's 0.87C is the twentieth century, whereas for UAH it's 1981-2010! Anthony still doesn't know his baselines from his anomalies :) (See also here and here where Anthony struggles with temperature baselines and anomalies)
  • Anthony might live in the clouds. The rest of us live on the surface.

Anthony Watts is confused by sea surface temperatures

Could anything else go wrong for him? Yes. Anthony still thinks that NOAA's sea surface temperatures are wrong because of something to do with night time marine temperatures. (NOAA used these temperatures to correct for bias in ship data.) Anthony doesn't know a lot about surface temperature, despite what he would have you believe. Nick Stokes pointed out this error, writing at WUWT some time ago:
June 11, 2015 at 2:46 am
The intent of this letter to present when and how the new NOAA sea surface temperature data differ during the hiatus from the night marine air temperature data, upon which it is based.”
Bob, it doesn’t help to start such a missive with a totally wrong assertion. NOAA SST data is not based on NMAT. That is why it is called SST, and why there is such fuss about buckets, engine intakes, buoys etc. Nor is it a reference. It may be a point of comparison. A problem with NMAT is the sparsity of data. It’s a puzzle, because I presume you know all this. So Fig 1 will fall flat.

Bob subsequently corrected his article, but Anthony's mind got stuck in Bob's initial error.

Nobody noticed

Is there anything else odd about this? Yes, there is. So far no-one has remarked on Anthony claiming that the NOAA is about to release the May temperature report, instead of the June one. Or the strangely mixed up article he wrote, in which he appeared to be talking about a future May 2015 report, at the same time as talking about a previous May 2015 report.

All sea surface temperatures for May were the hottest May on record

Oh, and yes, May was the hottest May ever in the NOAA record. And for all Anthony's trying to persuade his readers that the seas weren't really very hot, I've put together charts of sea surface temperatures - ERSSTv4, for HadSST1 and Reynolds OI v2. They differ from each other, but for all of them, May was the hottest on record. NOTE: The charts are just for the month of May each year - not the annual average.

May data only. Data source: KNMI Climate Explorer

And it was by far the hottest May on record for HadCRUT4 (global land and sea surface).  Again the chart is only for the month of May each year - not the annual average.

Data source: UK Met Office

GISTemp was the odd one out this time, where May was equal second. (I wouldn't be surprised if it was revised when the new data comes out this month - maybe some data was missing?)

From the WUWT comments

The first three comments were arguing that not everything on Earth has died yet so there's no need for panic:

Anachronda  July 15, 2015 at 7:23 am
“Land: +2.30 degrees F”
So… we can stop worrying about how a two degree increase is going to kill everything?
Anthony Watts  July 15, 2015 at 7:28 am
Good point, I’ll add that.
deebodk  July 15, 2015 at 7:56 am
“Well, it would seem so. But, 2F is not 2C. 2.30F works out to 1.27C.”
Even a 2C increase won’t kill everything.

M Courtney says that water sloshing about overwhelms the greenhouse effect (huh?)
July 15, 2015 at 7:25 am
NOAA is looking at the Oceans and UAH is looking where the effects of CO2 are manifest – in the air.
So why not believe them both? It just means that natural variation (water sloshing about) overwhelms the greenhouse effect.
As water has a far higher thermal capacity than air it’s what anyone with secondary school physics would expect.

Mumbles McGuirck is delighted to get the May report in July:
 July 15, 2015 at 7:31 am
Thanks for the “heads up.” Usually these press releases are dropped like a bomb on the science community, so if some enterprising reporter were to actually look for contrary commentary, any skeptics would be caught short. Forewarned is forearmed.

Owen is easily fooled. He thinks all the world is wrong except Anthony Watts:
July 15, 2015 at 7:58 am
The divergence between the cooked data and the reality on the ground is becoming ridiculous. Eventually the cold hard facts of real weather/climate will overcome the mindless propaganda being spouted by NOAA and the rest of the Climate Lying establishment. People will finally wake up and realize they are being lied too.


  1. GISS June in at .76C, which I believe ties 1998 as the hottest Junes in the record.

    1. JCH, not only have they updated the table with the June value (.76, as you said), but everything has changed, and I mean *everything* going all the way back to 1880! I couldn't believe my eyes when I refreshed this page:

      But sure enough, I was able to get the copy of the table as it was a few hours ago via the Wayback Machine, which had it cached:

      It looks like what they have done is use the latest homogenised SSTs. The last version said:

      sources: GHCN-v3 1880-05/2015 + SST: ERSST 1880-05/2015

      This new one says:

      sources: GHCN-v3 1880-06/2015 + SST: ERSST v4 1880-06/2015

      So they are now using ERSST v4.

      Well now... a lot of months have change by .10 or more. To say that deniersville ain't going to like this one single bit is something of an understatement. While we all know the latest SST adjustments make the distant past warmer and thus reduce the overall trend... the 2014 average, for example, has gone from .68 to .75!

      Yes, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth out there, and the scientists will of course be accused of cooking the books now more than ever before :-\ I just have to see this plotted. Sou, can you oblige? BTW, it makes the 2015 YTD average anomaly a sweltering .80.

    2. I've updated the YTD for June - so you might want to talk about it there.

      Deniers will find it difficult to complain too much about the adjustments, because they've pushed 2015 into second place :)

    3. Just checked again and 2010 and 2015 are neck and neck for the month of June. 2015 is equal top. I made a slight mistake in the June YTD. It's fixed now.

  2. Apologies for the diversion, Sou. Back on topic for this thread. I've always found it more than slightly ironic that the proprietor of the self-proclaimed "world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change" doesn't understand the most fundamental thing about temperature anomalies: baselines. No wonder Anthony and his army of numpties like the satellite records so much; for starters, they have more recent baseline periods than the land-based records, so the anomalies don't look so scary to the innumerate.

  3. Climate Change no Headline change definitely.

    Thanks partly to NOAA’s new adjusted dataset, tommorrow they’ll claim to reporters that May (and possibly June) was the ‘hottest ever’

    1. He he - is Anthony Watts a secret fan of HotWhopper?

    2. I'm sure he is - at least, his browser history probably gives that impression.

      I doubt though that he's a fan of the archiving...

    3. Fan may be too strong a word Sou, but he is becoming more and more reliant on you. Anthony's posts are so badly constructed they make Bob Tisdale look like a scientist.

    4. Ha! Priceless.I'll never tire of their cognitive dissonance.

  4. The deniers don't seem to understand probabilities, or uncertainty for that matter.

    I have pointed out to them in various places that uncertainty is no-one's friend. The actual (as opposed to estimated) temps could have been higher just as easily as they could have lower.

  5. I have been having been having a surreal time over on Jo Nova's forum.

    Other than the outright insults (I expected that), they have an odd policy that comments are automatically put into moderation if they contain the word "conspiracy".

    Considering the climate change dissenter's central argument is that various agencies are engaged in a conspiracy to manipulate the homogenised temperature data sets to show global warming where none exists, I find it odd the forum frowns upon conspiracies being commented on... what conclusion is one to draw from that?

  6. OT, but there's a great write up of the latest denierpalooza up on Ars Technica.

    Lovely pay-off line.

    1. That's a great read from Ars Technica. I'm becoming increasingly impressed with their climate change articles. They have it nailed. As you would if you understand the science.

      Meanwhile, Mark Steyn digs the hole he is in deeper and deeper. China Syndrome stuff, more popcorn please.

  7. As noted previously ... this release was so not about May 2015. I wonder how WUWT will try to squirm out of this one or do you think just try and ignore it? The 2014 report is quite the diagnosis.

  8. Could JMA's COBE-SST's be combined with land-based raw data to satisfy Anthony's longing for an "independent" comparison, for the major data sets?

    The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has its own independent Global Sea Surface Temperature Data: COBE-SST. On its website there is a "Comparison with Other SST Analyses (HadISST, ERSST.v2)."

    "The land part of the combined data for the period before 2000 consists of GHCN...information provided by NCDC...,while that for the period after 2001 consists of CLIMAT messages archived at JMA."

    Per Wikipedia: "CLIMAT is a code for reporting monthly climatological data assembled at land-based meteorological surface observation sites to data centres...sent and exchanged via the...World Meteorological Organization."

    Similarly, "The Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) is a database of temperature [etc] records managed by the National Climatic Data Center [etc].
    "...from many continuously reporting fixed stations at the Earth's surface...approximately 6000 temperature stations...
    "This work has often been used as a foundation for reconstructing past global temperatures, and was used in previous versions of two of the best-known reconstructions, [NCDC & GISS]"

    1. CLIMAT is filtered through the World Meteorological Organisation, an agency of the UN and by extension of Agenda 21, so I doubt it'll be accepted as independent.

      What this requires is a free-hand sketch drawn on a napkin, with more degrees of independence than you can shake a stick at.


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