Saturday, August 15, 2015

Watching the global thermometer - year to date GISTemp with July 2015

Sou | 8:55 AM Go to the first of 81 comments. Add a comment
Every month since March, I've posted a chart of the progressive year-to-date global average surface temperature, from GISS. This is the update with July included. I'll repeat the explanation with each update and add what seem to be things to watch.

Worth noting: Another Hottest Month on Record

  • July was an average of 0.75°C above the 1951-1980 mean and is the hottest July on record.
  • The only other month this year that's been hottest on record is now June with an anomaly of 0.79°C.
  • The highest anomaly this year is now March at 0.9°C, which makes it the second hottest March after March 2010, at 0.92°C.
  • 2015 is still hottest on record so far.
  • The lowest anomaly was in April this year, now 0.73°C above the 1951-1980 mean. 
  • The progressive year to date average up to and including July is 0.8°C above the 1951-1980 mean.

Explaining the chart

The chart is a progressive year to date average, or running mean, for all years from 1995 to the present. What that means is for January each year, it just shows the anomaly for January. For February it shows the average of January and February for each year. For March, its the average of the monthly anomaly from January to March.

If you look at December, each year shows the annual average temperature for the full year. For November, each year has the average for the year up to November, not including December. (As before, I've made it extra large because of all the fine detail.)

Data Source: NASA GISS

2015 is tracking above all other years. The years to watch are 2014, 2010 and 2005. I've plotted them with slightly thicker lines so they stand out more easily.

The coldest year of the lot was 1996, which still ended up more than 0.3°C above the 1950 to 1981 average.  The next time someone tries to tell you that "it hasn't warmed since 1996" then show them this chart :)

Related updates

Here is the link to the table for the Year to Date chart.


  1. "2015 is tracking above all other years" ...with a strong or very strong El Nino waiting in the wings or on stage, depending on who you listen to.

    I'm getting the feeling that Arctic sea ice could hit a record low (probably not, maybe 2nd or 3rd this year), global surface temperature a record high, fatal record-breaking heat waves occur in four continents, and the denialati would still say "What warming?".

    WUWT and the like are irreparable, but I would love to see some US/UK/Canadian/Australian politicians sent off with their ears blistering the next time they repeated some brainless talking point.

    Sadly, an inappropriate hesitancy or sense of decorum on the part of their opponents usually prevents this.

    1. Unless Artic sea ice is record low, the deniaists will keep on talking about the 'recovery'.

  2. My back yard is a temperate rain forest. A large Sydney Peppermint fell over a few years back and took out 2 sheltering trees with it and half the branches of a mature jacaranda.
    My 8 giant fern trees have lost 60% of their shade canopy. I am resigned to losing them during Australia's El Nino summer. The reason we bought the house is about to disappear.

  3. Am I the only one on the edge of my seat waiting for WUWT and other usual suspects to crow about sea-ice area / extent being negative in both hemispheres as of a few days ago? :-)

    What do you mean its just weather noise? If the opposite was true there'd be at least ten articles up already. Thus far I see none. Just noting the dichotomy ...

    1. Yeah...the global ice area chart (http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg) which is so often misused because it has looked "good" the past couple of years is suddenly not looking so good at all.

      Good scientists know how to ignore superfluous data and hone in on the crucial data. Deniers know pretty much the reverse--cherrypicking whatever superfluous data can be fit into their narrative at any particular time by flitting from one detail to another as variation occurs.

    2. The Antarctic sea ice extent figures do look odd.

    3. Maybe just shows how sensitive Antarctic sea-ice extent is to meteorology. I don't doubt its stalled the normal seasonal growing as several groups are replicating the result. We understand far less about Antarctic sea-ice mechanisms than those in the Arctic.

    4. How is being only 310K sq km from the climatological average "odd"???

    5. It's the first time it's gone below the 1979-2008 mean in four years.Not sure what's caused that this year. Over the long term it will decrease, so not odd in terms of long term expectations.

    6. As far as I can see the trend is following about what you'd expect of a system where there is a declining trend and autocorrelated noise. Anyone talking about the "meaning" in short term runs simply doesn't understand statistics. That would include nearly 100% of the deniers who have, in fact, been talking about the "meaning" in short term runs in both hemispheres for quite a while now.

    7. jgnfld.

      Instead of increasing, the extent is going sideways. Check out this chart is does look strange compared to the other years.


    8. Forgive me, but why not try this "experiment":

      1. Flip a coin 1000 times.
      2. Count the number of times the plot is "going sideways" by getting a long run of head or tails.
      3. Consider how random variation actually works as opposed to looking for patterns in short--and even medium--term runs of noisy data.

    9. jgnfld.

      What is your problem?

      I made a simple observation, that's it.

      It was in the context Anonymous introduced that whenever there is a slight "recovery" in the sea ice extent the deniers claim it is evidence that global warming is a hoax.

    10. You're making too big a deal over this jgnfld. Harry remarked on the change this year. Antarctic sea ice isn't spreading out as much over winter as it has in recent years. For the past four years it's been spreading more each year - extending more than 2 sigma from the recent average. This year it's less than the average of recent years. That's fact. It's not "looking for a pattern". It's an observation.

      Even if it is just noise, noise is caused by something. Is it that the wind is different? The sea is more choppy? The currents are different? Is it some connection to what's happening elsehwhere in the world?

      A casual curiosity needn't be so easily dismissed as pattern watching. Especially when compared with the sort of pattern nonsense you see on denier blogs. Curiosity is what drives a lot of science.

    11. Sou/Harry...

      Sorry to belabor, but sometimes noise is, in fact, just noise and has no measurable cause. That is where pre-20th century scientists went very wrong with determinism.

      A rather famous classroom demonstration in stats is to have half the class flip a coin 100 times and write down the sequence and the other half generate their own "random" sequences of 100 heads or tails while the prof is out of the room. The class shuffles the papers and gives them to the prof who then proceeds to make two piles correctly identifying the real random numbers from the student generated ones with very high accuracy. The "trick"? The true random sequences contain obvious "patterns" while the student generated ones generally do not.

      Asking why there are usually runs of 5 or 6 in a random sequence of 100 flips is simply to ask the wrong question. There is nothing curious about it at all.

      Anyway, so long as that small point is clear, I don't mean to be a troublemaker.

    12. I meant to add: With any data you _expect_ the values to be beyond 2 sigma 5% of the time. I have found many students have trouble with this flip side of significance--which is the point of the classroom demo, of course.

      Further, as these data are pretty clearly autocorrelated, the standard OLS 2 sigma CI's almost certainly _under_estimate the real confidence intervals.

      Anyway, sorry for any confusion.

    13. "...but sometimes noise is, in fact, just noise and has no measurable cause. "

      Well, no, and that is why you are labouring the point. Noise has a "meaning". Just because we cannot isolate it or measure it or even know what is causing it does not mean it has no cause.

      Are you John Garland also? Sounds similar. Every datapoint has a meaning. And every short term run has a meaning. It is the meaning that is accessible to us that is the point.

      If so or both of you stop believing you are superior statisticians. You are talking elementary statistics which many people her understand well.

    14. Anon...

      I guess you're a member of the Einstein school ("God does not play dice...")! I'm not. You're in good company with Einstein, true. But I have some good company of my own!

      While I get your point, I pretty much disagree with the "every datapoint has meaning" notion as well. What is the meaning of a head? a run of 5 heads? You cannot do much "meaning" stuff with a random or sufficiently chaotic process until you have a lot of points and examine all the points, their relationships, and how they fit into the whole space. A single point or short run simply does not contain enough information--sufficient meaning--about such underlying processes. It takes more.

      Totally agree with the notion of accessing meaning as much as possible from each set of points. BUT, while I have no feelings of superiority that I know of and usually quite the reverse, I do have feelings about talking about patterns where there are none to talk about meaningfully. It's an error I've commonly run across--most often with engineers (the worst bunch) but also with physicists from time to time.

      Rather than superiority, my comments' basis stems from all the exasperation I've had for a long, long, very meaningless time with the "hiatus" people--primarily deniers, of course. Maybe because of that I'm being too hyperaware of the issue going the other way. But it is, in fact, the very same issue.

    15. The physics of coin tosses might interest some people from a purely intellectual stance, but isn't a make or break issue.

      The physics of climate, on the other hand, is both interesting and valuaable. A lot has been learnt over the past few years from investigating the reasons for the slower rise in temperature over the past few years. And the increase again that is happening now.

      A lot is being learnt about climate from investigating why sea ice around Antarctica has been pushed further out in some areas, and diminished in other areas. Just as I expect a lot will be learnt from studying the wind and currents or whatever is causing sea ice to not expand so much this winter.

      Antarctica is arguably one of the most, if not the most, important area to focus on in regard to climate change. Not just for sea level rises, but for how changes there are going to affect the world in other ways. Eg the ocean take up of CO2 - which some have suggested is declining or at risk of it.

      I can understand a person wanting to dismiss the silliness from deniers who say dumb stuff like Antarctic sea ice changes offset Arctic sea ice changes - when they are a world apart. However that doesn't mean that one should dismiss what is happening by calling it "noise". (I've learnt a lot from reading up on what scientists have been learning about Antarctica - which holds some of the biggest yet-to-be unravelled mysteries on earth today. Dangerous and difficult as those mysteries are to explore.)

    16. I'm fine with almost all of the above. Learning and research is the key and you seem wholly focused on that. Some of the issues you mention, though, are more weather than climate, however.

      Where I get off is where some people are now quite literally cheering the fact of an el Nino, cheering the "recovery" to inside the OLS CIs of Antarctic ice, and other clearly _weather_ , not climate, events as if they mean something. Events which in a climate sense really are all or mostly noise w.r.t. the long term trend. That, to me at least, smacks of denier "logic", not scientific or statistical logic. And whether I'm superior or inferior I have come to truly loath denier "logic" and the level of attention such drivel has come to command. And I would truly hate to see a science site fall into the same illogical traps.

      I have nothing more to say, really. Probably have said too much already. Sorry if I was unclear above or created a hijack.

    17. "Where I get off is where some people are now quite literally cheering the fact of an el Nino, cheering the "recovery""

      Really? Examples please.

    18. See for example Joe Romm at ClimateProgress. He is correct enough to start with but goes too far to my mind with the polemics. One recent example:

      "Bottom Line: the warming trend that made 2014 the hottest calendar year on record is continuing. We appear to be in the midst of of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures."

      Personally I, at least, was not "long awaiting" a "jump in global temperatures". Nor am I seeing one now. Rather I was expecting the long term trend to continue increasing and varying as it has been for half a century now (correcting for the correct CMIP scenario as time goes on) including input from various cycles that over time average out to 0. I also await the likely fact that 5 percent of the time or even more (autocorrelation again), the models will fail to predict within the CIs. And over a term given the decades now of data and modeling, it really won't affect my conclusions all that much. I made the exact same argument a LONG time ago over Mt. Pinatubo when deniers cherrypicked the local max prior to the eruption to "show" no warming for many years after. Cheering or booing singular events which carry an extremely low S-N ratio w.r.t. the climate signal has been going on a very LONG and extremely exasperating time.

      The point: Neither the "hiatus" previously nor an el Nino now has yet or will change the long term trend value all that much. Around third decimal place if you start in 1970 or so. Tamino, among others, has been at extreme pains to show this on many occasions w.r.t. the supposed "hiatus". At some time in the future I expect his entry about the reverse we are seeing now.

    19. jgnfld

      No. That is not cheering. That is all you are going on about?

      Really, what is your problem?

    20. Disagree re. not cheering. Disagree re. having a problem.

      Guess we'll just have to disagree. It's a big world.

    21. Well, I'm fine with "long-awaited", and in the political world it is something to cheer about, because a few years above the trend line will undermine the nonsense arguments that short term deviation from the trend "proves cooling" or "proves the end of global warming".

      "long-awaited" is silly in the physics/statstics context because reversion to trend was obviously coming at some point.

      But politically the supposed hiatus has been a powerful hammer used batter those who understand science, and while those wielding the hammer are often aware that they're not being honest, it doesn't diminish that political impact.

      "No warming since 2015" just ain't going to have the impact in 2016 that "no warming since 1998" has ... (even if the latter statement isn't strictly true, it's oft-repeated, and effective).

    22. Regarding determinism, coin flips are on a scale far above where non-determinism plays a role, quantum mechanics can be ignored. That's probably where anon is coming from.

      Your students flipping coins are applying exactly the same force to the coin every time they flip it. That's impossible. Small variations in the force applied can have an effect on the heads-tails outcome. Likewise air currents, for instance.

      And on the climate scale, natural variability does have physical causes not rooted in quantum mechanics. Just because we can't measure the world with enough precision, data points (missing much of the deep ocean, nevermind resolution), and wouldn't have the computational power available to precisely model earth systems even if near-infinite data were available doesn't mean that determinism isn't at work here.

      And some things we label as "natural variation" because they they can't be accurately modeled today may be accurately modeled in the future - ENSO comes to mind.

    23. Chaos theory tells us that in non linear systems there is no way to predict any future state with any sort of accuracy when the starting conditions are not absolutely fully known.
      There is no such thing as determinism or fate in our Universe at even the macro scale.
      The curious thing about so called chaotic systems is that a pseudo stability can arise from seemingly nowhere. Climate being the pseudo stability and weather the oscillations about the mean.
      Climate scientists are busy looking at the full picture. Denialists will cherry pick one little eddy in the turbulent flow and make up some poorly thought out scenario. The false conclusions these ignorant denialists come up with are both ridiculous and contradictory.
      With better and more comprehensive measurements the Earth's Climate system will be better understood.
      The real danger is if we by our actions cause a tipping point where the chaotic climate system flips to a new state of stability we are all in a lot of trouble. This is because we most probably cannot reverse this change at all even if we get CO2 atmospheric concentration back down to pre industrial levels.
      We do not have time to educate the idiots. Bert

    24. +1 Dhogaza @ August 19, 2015 at 6:17 AM.

      It's a point that I've been meaning to make for a while, but never done.

  4. I'm new to this whole 'climate denial being a thing' thing. I'm sure I'll stumble upon it on my own in due time, but right now I've got a question that someone on here might be able to answer:

    From what I've read of LOLWUWT, they say they believe in some kind of tampering that's happening with surface temperature records, saying that there have been changes in the way measurements done that on average tend to favor higher readings as time goes on. This would happen as some kind of conspiracy thing where the way measurements are done is changed so that the results would conform with the models and projections that climate science is based on.

    Furthermore, Watts (or whoever's blogging on that thing) refers to some kind of satellite records, and apparently those kinds of records show no global temperature increase, or at least show so little that it somehow fits into Watts' argument, since he's not denying climate change, just that it's man made. (And if it's man made, and since we're producing more and more CO2, I think I'm correct in thinking that the rate of warming should indeed be increasing, instead of a linear increase in temperature. The article I'm commenting on would seem to agree with that assumption, if I understood it right. Sorry if I seem dense, but I'm a liberal arts major and not a smart man)

    So, my questions are:

    1: What's the background behind Watts' claims of tampering with the way measurements are done? From what I've seen, the way he argues is dishonest and unreasonable, but he wouldn't be where it is if he were just flat out making stuff up.

    If the measurements had been tampered with (and let's forget about the whole "it's obviously a dumbass conspiracy theory by some nutter" thing for a second just for the sake of argument), showing a climate denier a graph like posted in the present article wouldn't seem to help our argument much.

    2: How do the satellite readings he talks about work? Why and how are they different? Why is he so hell-bent on declaring them the only valid measurements? Do they really support his claim? Or do they measure something entirely unrelated and they just seem to?

    Thanks guys. I hope you can help poor little me along a bit. I'd always thought the whole climate issue was obvious, but recently someone I know has been talking to me about how it's all some huge conspiracy.

    Gimme some ammo!

    1. Assuming yours is a real request, all the ammo you need is here for the learning: https://www.edx.org/course/making-sense-climate-science-denial-uqx-denial101x-0

    2. Thanks, I'll give it a look.

      And yeah, it's a real request. Why would you think it's not?

    3. nub, we have seen quite a few pseudoskeptics first come with an 'innocent' question. Usually that fake posture is then quickly exposed by their follow-up to the answer(s) they receive.

      It has happened so often that the honest person who has an honest question may encounter a rather skeptical response to his honest question.

    4. Hi nub,
      You might find this useful http://www.skepticalscience.com/. It has some fairly brief summaries of several of the more egregius denier myths. One of my favourites is Myth 42 "CO2 is plant food" (therefore why worry, eh?).

    5. When someone posted an accusation of temperature "data tampering" on my hometown newspaper's discussion board, here is how I responded.

      That has become my boilerplate reply to anyone who accuses NASA and NOAA of tampering with temperature data.

      Please read the whole thing.

      The big take-home point you should pound deniers over the head with: "A competent programmer/analyst can, in a few days *at most*, code up a temperature calculation program from scratch that debunks every one of your temperature data claims."

    6. @Marco: I kind understand why I'm getting a critical reception. I asked about it because I think it's an important point to discuss. I get that you guys have probably been hanging around here for a while. You're privy to the discussion, you've done the reading, you know your shit. I also know that if I went to LOLWUWT and posted a comment even vaguely suggesting they were all a bunch of nutters, it'd probably get deleted in minutes no matter how rational my arguments or how imperturbable my data.

      But try to put yourself in my shoes (and let's say I was a bit more easily upset and actually thought this kind of skeptical reception was a problem instead of the expected outcome - so not my shoes, but some other newcomer's I guess). I come here and I've basically read a bit of this blog and a bit of LOLWUWT. Now, I can see from general rhetoric on the two pages that WUWT is kind of shady.

      But otherwise, when I look at either of the two pages, I just see links to graphs I don't understand from studies I'm too dumb to comprehend when I read them. Then on both pages there's some snarky comments on the opposition and an interpretation of some study or other that supposedly bolsters their side's arguments.

      If I try to be honest and unbiased, I have to admit that I have no idea what to think. Now, usually for me it'd be enough of a hint to see how shady WUWT's practices are and what kind of stupid underhanded shit they're doing and then trying to hide, but I'm trying to be rational here and understand the facts, so that I can hold my own in an argument.

      From what I've read I've sifted through and have seen debunked a lot of WUWT bullshit already (and I feel dirty), it's just that these two questions I posted were sticking points that I haven't been able to find answers on.

      So here I come with my questions and get a snarky reply and a link to a very general and time intensive (albeit interesting) online seminar. That's just propaganda, no matter what way you slice it, since that's not addressing my questions at all. It feels evasive and exactly like something the guys at WUWT would do.

      I'm not saying this just to criticise, just that you guys don't need this. Let the facts talk. There's no point in sinking to the other guys' level.

      After that comment it looks like I got some more appropriate suggestions (I don't think I can muster up the time for an entire webinar on "how many percent of scientists agree on this issue", which, honestly, is kind of insulting) - I'll chek them out right away.

      @jrkrideau and @caerbannog: thanks for the links!

    7. @caerbannog: you might want to update that site you linked. The ftp for the GHCN data has moved. I think this is the new link, can you tell me if it's the right one? ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/daily/

      There's also a more comfortable way to access it here which seems more convenient for laypeople: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/search

      Just thought I'd give you a heads up since you said you were linking people there.

    8. @caerbannog: Thanks so much! That was exactly what I've been looking for with my first question! Now all I have to figure out is what that thing with the satellite data is all about and I think I'll be able to hold my own in a debate.

    9. nub, I understand what you mean. I was just explaining jg's question.

      Regarding your question 2:
      Wikipedia has a reasonably good description of how temperatures are measured
      one of the figures shows a number of different 'products' calculated from the satellite measurements - the temperatures in different parts of the atmosphere. Usually "TLT" is used for the comparison with the land-based measurements. This "temperature of the lower troposphere" is, however, is not the same. One problem is removal of the influence of the other layers of the atmosphere, and there have been numerous changes made to the algorithms. These "data manipulations" you will not find criticized on WUWT, although at one point in time the RSS series was more and more preferred over the UAH series. Guess why (hint: one had a larger trend than the other).
      A known challenge in the TLT is that the temperatures there appear to be much more sensitive to the El Nino and La Nina phases. As a result the variability is much larger, and trend analyses much more uncertain. Which makes it easy to claim there is no or less warming than the surface temperatures indicate.

      The biggest problem with all the temperature measurements is that most of the energy goes into the oceans, some is used for e.g. melting ice, and only a little bit is used to warm the atmosphere. To give an order of magnitude: if all energy would be used to heat the atmosphere, rather than the oceans, we'd have warmed by tens of degrees.

    10. @jrkrideau thanks again for your link! It cleared up the satellite issue a bit, together with

      @Marco. Thank you too, sir, It seems like the satellite records are a bit shakier than the site @jrkrideau linked me to would lead me to assume. I still don't like to interpret other people's graphs myself, but it looks like the needle is going up and down a fair amount further than what the surface records show. That alone suggests some kind of unreliability to me.

      This is all a bit of a cluster****. At least there's an obvious conclusion, unlike when you try to figure out which diet is best on the internet...

    11. That the temperature of the troposphere (satellite) varies more due to El Nino ("needle is going up and down") than the surface temperature (stations) is real; that is in itself not a sign that the trend of the satellite data is wrong.

      This variability of the tropospheric temperature makes the trend look less prominent, but if you compute it or plot it together with the surface temperature, you will see that the trend is about the same.

      The tropospheric temperature is expected to warm faster than the surface temperature. Thus that they are about the same is a sign that there may be a conflict, but it still fits within the rather large uncertainties of the tropospheric (and surface) temperature trends.

      Why WUWT likes the tropospheric temperature? It shows a little less warming than it should and can thus be used as an argument for less mitigation, which is their main reference point. Historically, when UAH was the only dataset, the tropospheric temperature showed no warming or even cooling and was promoted strongly by the mitigation sceptics. And the people behind UAH are faithful mitigation sceptics; tribal allegiance is important for this group.

    12. Here is one of Sou's charts showing UAH vs HadCRUT4 vs GISTemp which illustrates Victor's point. So long as you do not cherry pick an El Nino year as a starting point, the satellite record shows a similar trend to the surface record.


      The chart also illustrates Victor's point about the greater impact of El Nino & La Nina on the satellite record.

      It is discussed in this article
      "The global mean TLT differs from the global mean near-surface temperature in a few key aspects. One of them is that the influence of El Niño is much larger, as can be seen from, e.g., the height of the peak in 1998, which is about 0.4 K above the trend line, against about 0.2 K in the near-surface temperature. Note that strongest effects of El Niño on temperature lag the event itself by about half a year. "


      So with 2015 looking like a very strong El Nino, the satellite record may cease to be as popular with "skeptics" over the next 12 months.

    13. "someone I know has been talking to me about how it's all some huge conspiracy."

      If they are that mental I'd check they don't own high powered automatic weaponry before arguing with them.

    14. "huge" is an understatement. Such a conspiracy would by necessity involve not just every scientist involved in earth system research (not just climate research), all their tech staff, all editors of every journal that's published anything related to climate (general science journals like Science and Nature as well as specialist journals), all the senior scientists working in research institutions and universities around the world, all the scientific advisers to governments, and most of the politicians and senior public servants of the past four of five decades - in all 193 member nations of the UN - that is, most countries in the world. And the majority of the 7 billion people on earth, none of whom have 'blown the whistle'.

      There is another scenario that could be considered ...

    15. I neglected to mention how the cryosphere, oceans, waterways and atmosphere must be involved in the conspiracy, too. Which is a bit of a stretch.

    16. nub –
      Here are some additional links that you may find useful:


      "Satellites do not measure temperature. They measure radiances in various wavelength bands, which must then be mathematically inverted to obtain indirect inferences of temperature.[1][2] The resulting temperature profiles depend on details of the methods that are used to obtain temperatures from radiances. As a result, different groups that have analyzed the satellite data have produced differing temperature datasets. Among these are the UAH dataset prepared at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the RSS dataset prepared by Remote Sensing Systems. The satellite series is not fully homogeneous – it is constructed from a series of satellites with similar but not identical instrumentation. The sensors deteriorate over time, and corrections are necessary for orbital drift and decay. Particularly large differences between reconstructed temperature series occur at the few times when there is little temporal overlap between successive satellites, making intercalibration difficult."

      “...Andrew Dessler, a climate researcher at Texas A&M University, says he is skeptical of the satellite data’s reliability. 'As far as the data go, I don’t really trust the satellite data. While satellites clearly have some advantages over the surface thermometer record, such as better sampling, measuring temperature from a satellite is actually an incredibly difficult problem. That’s why, every few years, another big problem in the UAH temperature calculation is discovered. And, when these problems are fixed, the trend always goes up,' he said via email.
      'It’s also worth noting that there have not been any similar revisions to the surface temperature data, despite the fact that people have looked at it very, very carefully.' ”

      On the one hand climate septics have demanded adjustments because they believe that factors such as the urban heat island effect are distorting temperature measurements. But when the data are adjusted they claim that the data have been manipulated. They believe that satellite measurements show less warming, so they trust them more than surface measurements, even though they need more adjustments and are less reliable. Another factor: the UAH measurements are associated with John Christy and Roy Spencer.

      Re. Watts:
      Please see the section on Watts and BEST.

    17. Hi nub,

      Try not to get too narrow a focus on all this with just temperature datasets. There's a whole lot more to climate change. This is a great presentation from Prof Richard Alley at the National Academy of Sciences symposium in June this year with an overview of the history of earth's climate. It's only 24 minutes long and he's a bit of a character, but very well respected.


      Another good place for an depth overview is the Discovery of Global Warming series on the American Institute of Physics website by Prof Spencer Weart:


      And of course there are the Royal Society and National Academy of Sciences websites:



    18. Spencer and Christy are of the "Mankind couldn't possibly stuff up the earth's climate because God wouldn't allow it, and fossil fuels are God's gift to mankind to use" types.

      Aka the evangelical Cornwall Alliance against global warming.


      They have a bit of a history of misrepresenting the science with cherry-picked graphs.

  5. @caerbannog: you might want to update that site you linked. The ftp for the GHCN data has moved. I think this is the new link, can you tell me if it's the right one? ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/daily/

    There's also a more comfortable way to access it here which seems more convenient for laypeople: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/search

    Just thought I'd give you a heads up since you said you were linking people there.

    1. Ack, sorry everyone, could you delete this comment tree? I made a new comment by mistake.

    2. helpful, both of you. Bit rot is always happening, thanks for the help.

    3. GHCN monthly-average temperature data (raw and adjusted) can be found at ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v3/

      Also want to emphasize that the results I computed and posted at the link I provided earlier here were computed from the raw (not the adjusted) GHCN data.

    4. @caerbannog: yeah, that's what I meant, that link doesn't work.

    5. Nevermind, it just opened, no idea why.

    6. FYI, the app I used to generate my global temperature results can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/nasa-hansen5. It's a VM (virtual machine) app that can be launched with a virtual-machine manager program like VirtualBox (http://virtualbox.org). Will run on most any PC/laptop with at least 2GB memory.

  6. Here's a verified link to the GHCN monthly-average data: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v3/

    Also, you might want to play around with my "global temperature virtual machine", available at http://tinyurl.com/NASA-HANSEN5

    You will need to install VirtualBox to run it. (VirtualBox is an Oracle product that's available for free at http://virtualbox.org).

    The virtual-machine (VM) file at the tinyurl.com link above is a bit of a big download, but it is pretty easy to set up and run. It will run on most OS-X/Windows/Linux systems with at least 2GB memory.

    The virtual machine (VM) app contains a simple global temperature gridding/averaging program set up to work with a Google Map web-browser interface. Complete GHCN raw and adjusted temperature data-sets are included in the VM.

    You can compute global-average temperature results from temperature stations you choose by mouse-clicking temperature stations on the Google Map display.

    The app computes global temperature results from raw and adjusted data, and plots them along with the official NASA "Meteorological Stations" results. This allows you to compare your own results directly with the NASA results.

    Everything runs in a Linux VM session on your desktop. Just import the VM appliance file into VirtualBox, hit the VirtualBox "Start" button, and you'll be off and running.

  7. I.....How to best utilize a significant monthly YTD graph that can be easily simplified and summarized (albeit without the pictorial dramatics) in one sentence and then forgotten?
    "Again another very hot month, so 2015 is still likely to be another hottest year."
    One obvious way would be to align it with the post-1970 portion of the GISS LOTI graph. And fill the too-large-to-tolerate gaps with ENSO info that helps explain what's happening.
    Then add decadal average anomaly balloons that extend the LOTI graph from 1880 to the current year for non-technical newbies who don't know what a 'mean' is, let alone a running one.

    This would be a long graph that started on top at about 1.2 on the y-axis like the YTD graph, but including within it the two bare respective graph titles. It would extend all the way to the very bottom above -.4, at the beginning of the instrumental record. Of the earliest decadal balloons squished into the lower left corner, only the shortened beginning {1880's} and the lowest {1910's} balloons would be so labeled. There would only be unlabeled short yellow stubs (in respective order) for the 1890's, 1900's and 1920's.
    This 'unconventionality' is worth doing even on what is the long form of the graph, to make room for the graph's caption beside (!) it, without introducing another vertical gap. The caption contains all the information common to both graphs.
    A long graph is unavoidable if we want to go from the YTD back to the beginning of the instrumental record, from +1.2 to -.4. Because getting down to -.4 makes it apparent that this pre-1970 warming is only half of the post-1970 warming. And we've smoothed away most of the pre-1970 temperature changes that usually aren't part of the story anyway.

    Again there is an obvious way to channel every-30-day visits looking for the latest monthly temperature rankings directly into the overall post-1970 relentless temperature rise story. It'd be a large graph because of the long scroll: but imagine:

    To the right of the Year-to-Date (YTD) graph, on the same vertical anomaly scale, would be an exact duplicate of the post-1970 portion of the GISS Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index (>1970LOTI) graph. The colors of the YTD spaghetti years (now for the typical hiatus period of 1998-2013) would be replicated in those respective year's squares. And, for Steve Bloom, there is the red 5-year running mean.

    In summary, added on to the YTD graph are both a detailed post-1970 GISTemp LOTI graph for the AGW years, and the easier-to-follow post-1880 decadal balloons for the entire range of anomalies. This would be a long scroll on the computer. But if proportional to 8 1/2x11...
    Hopefully, every 30 days the blog post announcement would be followed by paper-appearances on bulletin boards and office cubicles around the world. Spreading the latest news... Helping those-who-know help those-who-want-to-know????

    From Nick Stokes' 22Jul radial temperature graph I can read rough decadal average temperature anomalies. The inner (earlier) years are closer together radially than the increasing-in-temperature 1980's, and following years. But for me this understanding came originally from looking at these decadal anomaly balloons crossing this graph horizontally and then vertically.

    1. II.....Again, with the YTD graph on the left, aligned to the right with a duplicate of the post-1970 portion of the standard GISS Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index (>1970LOTI) graph with its red 5-year running mean. With the vertical anomaly scale ranging from {in this first take} -.2 up to 1.0, and appearing on both margins. And with horizontal blue background lines joining them.

      The yellow {1930's} thru {1970's} decadal anomaly balloons cross below the left-hand YTD graph in a fairly straight line at 0.0 until the middle, between the two graphs. Then they begin, due to increasing temperatures, to make a series of jumps, to {1980's}, {1990's}, {2000's} and {2010,11,12,13,14}

      [The obvious intrudes. Though this makes for a little shorter graph.......Should probably consider extending the decadal balloons and the y-axis further, all the way back to the {1880's} and -.4. Which is all the way to the beginning of the instrumental record.]

      Less-technical newbies who come for the monthly temperature score will probably take away an overall view of recent temperatures mostly from these decadal balloons. (?)

      Of course the vertical gaps, resulting from the alignment of the two main graphs, came first. But the ENSO info now filling them would be very helpful in explaining the ups and downs in the temperatures themselves. And hopefully demonstrate that the ENSO ups and downs are riding on top of post-1970 increasing temperatures.

      Pardon my Northern Hemispheric loyalties, but I am starting from a preference for NOAA's Ocean Nino Index (ONI) graph, because its +.5 and -.5 dashed lines show neutral years. Along with two added volcanoes, this would fit above the right hand >1970LOTI graph. It appears on NOAA update: "ENSO: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions."
      The matching monthly data is also there, in the complete table, with its blues and reds. A suitable portion (2009+) could be squeezed a little to line up under the YTD graph itself.

      The YTD spaghetti maze would be more purposeful if it started with 1998, to become illustrative of Bob Carter's original "No warming since 1998." And which is still the most frequently encountered hiatus period.
      If the extraneous 1995, 1996 & 1997 are eliminated, then the spaghetti (except 2014) represents the denier's 1998+ hiatus period. And it lines up with the yearly graph opposite.

      And potentially to a "denial time" dotted line box around the hiatus years, as shown in tamino's 22Jul & 30Jul articles.
      Alternatively and preferably here, because it would nail the connection between the two graphs: The individual 'denial time' hiatus-year squares could be color-coded to the respective 1998-2013 YTD line colors.
      Here's the motivation for all this graphing effort, the anticipation of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by those deniers who have now even-more-visibly lost their, "No warming since 1998" argument. And who find all those long-vaunted hiatus years actually surrounding just a pretty ordinary (upslope) 'step' in the 5-year running mean.

    2. III.....The individual-month x-axis labeling is put above the YTD graph, because the current and once-warmest years are the only interesting ones. For the >1970LOTI graph the yearly labeling is on both the top, because that's where the interesting years are, and on the bottom, because of the long scroll.

      The YTD yearly color labeling could be done where it fits in available openings in-the-same-color alongside the individual strands of spaghetti. Alternatively, or in-addition-to, this could usefully be done below the upper yearly scale of the >1970LOTI graph, with a short downward colored line below the respective hiatus year.

      Alternatively, when the hiatus is history, the >1970LOTI graph can be a crude ENSO identifying graph. Just by coloring squares red for El Nino years (mostly above, and increasing), and blue for La Nina years (mostly below, and increasing). The obvious net result is the 'relentless rise'.
      This display may also be useful in the future to compare the next developing La Nina against recent La Nina years.

    3. Sounds like a great suggestion. Except I didn't really follow the bit after "How to best utilize a significant monthly YTD graph..." :D

      Sorry SOF :(

  8. Does anyone have a link for the absolute monthly temperature data used by GISS? That is, the absolute figure on which the monthly anomaly is based (1951-1980 average estimate).

    NOAA publish these and July is the warmest month globally in absolute terms according to them. It could be the case that July 2015 was the 'absolute' warmest month ever recorded by thermometers.

    1. Are you referring to the raw temperature data - that is an absolute temperature measure.

      I think GISS converts the temperature data into anomalies first before computing the estimated monthly global averages.

      If you want to get an estimated "absolute", just add the baseline average back to the anomaly. There are instructions for this in the GISTEMP dataset.

      Just looking at the absolute average temperature is not very helpful, it does not make a lot of sense to refer to it.

  9. Sorry to reply to my own comment, but Tamino just answered my question: https://tamino.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/hottest-month/

    Yes, July 2015 was the absolute warmest month recorded at the surface.

  10. Apologies for the off-topic post here, but I've been poking Dana Rohrabacher with a stick on twitter to see how he responds. And his latest response is a real howler, well worthy of top-billing in the HotWhoppery section of this blog.

    For those of you who don't follow USA politics, Dana Rohrabacher is a very right-wing (and not very bright) Republican congressman. He is the vice-chairman of the House Science Committee, the Committee that oversees NASA climate research. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA/GISS, has to answer to Rohrabacher. Climate-science funding in the USA is at the mercy of this guy.

    Anyway, below is a link to the latest tweet I got from Rohrabacher. I'm inserting a bunch of newlines ahead of the link so that you will have the opportunity to secure all hot beverages before you scroll down and read it.


    It is personally embarrassing to me to admit that I live only 90 minutes from Rohrabacher's office building.

    1. The bigger question is, since he presumably has better access than most to the science, why doesn't he bother to take the opportunity to learn something about it.

    2. Indeed -- The University of California, Irvine is less than a 20-minute drive from Rohrabacher's district office. Plenty of outstanding scientists there, including Dr. Eric Rignot (http://www.ess.uci.edu/group/erignot/home).

      But Rohrabacher would rather fly halfway around the world to talk to some obscure Russian crank than drive 20 minutes to talk to expert scientists in his own congressional district.

    3. That is really scary that Rohrabacher is so stupid yet is in a position of influence and power. A 5th grader would know more than he does about climate science. Maybe someone should send him a link to NASA's Climate Kids website.

    4. Ceist

      There is a school of thought that Benjamin Franklin deliberately designed the US government to be dysfunctional. How better to limit its power?

    5. It functioned remarkably well until recently, given that it was breaking new ground. I doubt Franklin would have approved of an elected Senate, and therein, I suspect, lies a lot of the current problem.

    6. Good grief, how the heck can both the Chair (Inhofe) a vice-chair (Rohrabacher) of the House Committee on Science be so completely and utterly ignorant about science? How do these people get selected? Pin the tail on the donkey?

    7. "That is really scary that Rohrabacher is so stupid yet is in a position of influence and power. "

      Puppets don't have to be intelligent. This one just has to dance to the fossil fuel industry's tune.

    8. Ceist, as some would say, their lack of scientific insight is not a bug but a required feature. Or perhaps they are so anti-science they want to control it, and thus lobby the hardest to get the top positions in the committee.

    9. He may not be scientifically illiterate, but he's not dumb. He's morally bankrupt, dishonest and doesn't want to trade short-term $$ for long term "enviro" benefits. After researching and reading his tweets with caerbannog and others, I believe he's got a lot of bias, is caught up in anti-green tribalism going back to his Reagan days, and is a slave to his libertarian religion.

    10. Joe, no seriously, if you know anything about the guy he's dumb. He is also a slave to his ideology, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

    11. As for Senator Inhofe and Congressman Rohrbacher, inter alia: it's not a matter of ignorance so much as cynical self-interest. That is, "it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it" (Upton Sinclair). Does anyone here really doubt that?

      It takes money to make money, and the people who make $billions from the sale of fossil fuels are willing to spend 100s of $millions to impede the USA's transition to a carbon-neutral energy economy. Besides lavish campaign funding for friendly candidates, that kind of money buys a lot of disinformation in the mass media. That's all abundantly documented, but if anyone wants links I'll provide them. The point is that if Inhofe or Rohrbacher took a public position that AGW is real and the need to curtail Tyndall gas emissions is urgent, they'd lose their seats in the next election. That's conventional political wisdom in the US, having been repeatedly demonstrated.

  11. Inhofe's a Senator (that does not make it better)

    1. Well, with Inhofe, you can actually show that he takes money from the Energy industry: https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?type=C&cid=N00005582&newMem=N&cycle=2014

  12. A Year-to-Date graph during an El Nino presents a monthly opportunity to transmit a larger message to a larger, more important, audience. Not to the deniers who've chosen to deny the message of rising temperature, in graphs. But to those who Don't know because they Don't use the Internet to research global warming. Who therefore never encounter graphs. The Don't Know Graphs (DKG)...

    Here in the US graphs don't appear in newspapers or magazines (except on business issues) or television. For DKGs, temperature change is a verbal concept, not a pictorial one. There-in lies my motivation to attempt a crude 'Climate Report' that, when reproduced on paper, might get posted on a hallway bulleting board.

    Anyway, there remains a much easier way to perform this trick with the Year-to-Date graph, when challenging a denier's claim of a hiatus. Simply (?) insert the YTD graph into the upper-left corner of the full 1880+ GISTemp LOTI graph, aligned to the anomaly y-axis.
    The 1998-2013 YTD values then highlight tamino's denial time (22Jul & 30Jul) box, as portrayed by one-bright-color-coloring of the respective LOTI squares (and interconnecting lines).

    Being charitable, and being aware of denier counts of AGW papers that specifically address the "hiatus", I'm inclined to give them an insignificant (small) one. Looking at the 5-year running mean, this is the third (or fourth) 'step' in the period of increasing temperatures; and the first up-slope one. They can have this, as long as they stop calling it a "hiatus".

    1. Oh, I think I get you SOF. You're right. This chart was more for interested people to see how 2015 is shaping up compared to other years. I hadn't really thought about how to present it for an graph-deficient audience. (I've put up other charts for that, though maps are probably better for people who can distinguish colours but aren't familiar with graphs.)

  13. BTW if anyone wants to put together other ways of illustrating this, eg by maps or other means, and is happy to have them posted here, please do so, or send them to me by email.


  14. NOAA has July 2015 being the warmest month on record.

    GISTEMP probably was as well, wasn't it? July is assumed to be the warmest month of the year globally.

    I get lost in a tangle of baselines, sometimes.


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