Sunday, January 24, 2016

Desperate Deniers Part 6: David Whitehouse sez it's just a blob and ENSO

Sou | 6:19 PM Go to the first of 44 comments. Add a comment
Deniers are still trickling in excuses for why they deny the world is warming, trying to dispute or downplay the latest "hottest year" - 2015. Today Anthony Watts put up an article by David Whitehouse of the denier lobby group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, sorry, Forum (it was from the anti-science lobbying arm of the GWPF) (archived here, latest here). David chose to mimic Bob Tisdale and claim it's only got hotter because it got hotter - pointing to hot blobs and hot El Niños.

What he doesn't explain, and what no denier at WUWT has the brains to ask him, are the following:
  1. What made the blob and El Niño so hot?
  2. How did the blob and El Niño make the entire earth so hot when they've never done it before?
  3. What about all the other hot blobs that appeared last year, didn't they make any difference?
How on earth could a blob and El Niño make the entire global mean temperature so high? The fact is that the earth was the hottest it's ever been in the last 150 years at least, and possibly in the entire time since civilisation began.

Here's David Whitehouse's excuse:
Figure 1 | Land and Ocean Temperature Percentiles Jan-Dec 2015. Annotations show the "blob" and El Niño. Source: NOAA

Here's my reply to David Whitehouse. That's no excuse!

Figure 2 | Land and Ocean Temperature Percentiles Jan-Dec 2015. Annotations show the "blob" and El Niño and other record hot regions. Source: NOAA

David "not a climate scientist" Whitehouse proclaimed:
Despite what some scientists have said the large increase over 2014 is far too great and swift to be due to a resurgence of forced global warming. It must be due to short-term natural variability, and you don’t have to look far to find it. 2015 was the year of the El Nino which boosted the year’s temperature. (In the Nasa press conference about the 2015 global temperature see how long it takes the presenters to mention the El Nino).

Let's pick that paragraph apart. David takes it on himself to dispute Dr Gavin "climate scientist" Schmidt who said:

Not the very strongest El Niño

While David Whitehouse wants to blame the hottest year on ENSO and a blob, Bob Tisdale at WUWT has been working furiously to argue that this El Niño is NOT the biggest ever. He's written umpteen articles mostly arguing how it probably wasn't the strongest ever (based on a strawman). None of the agencies that study and report ENSO events (to my knowledge) have claimed it was the biggest El Niño ever. The Bureau of Meteorology has been saying: "The 2015–16 El Niño is strong, and likely to rank in the top three events of the past 50 years." The papers reported it as "'among the four strongest events since 1950". (Someone ought to get Bob and David together to get their story straight.)

Anyway, my question to David Whitehouse is:
If El Nino is likely to rank in the top three events of the past 50 years, then why wasn't the world as hot in 1997 or 1982 or 1972, which were the first years of the "strongest El Niños", equivalent to this year's, using ONI as a benchmark.

Here is a chart of global mean surface temperature, with the first years of the strongest El Niños marked with a dotted line:

Figure 3 | Global Mean Surface Temperature. The years of the four strongest El Nino's since the 1950s are marked by a dashed line and labeled. Data source: GISS NASA

David Whitehouse's excuse is not only pathetic, it falls completely apart when you look at the evidence.

Interestingly, David contradicts himself multiple times. He admits that "2015 was an exceptional year for weather". Yet he claims that this "is not the way some scientists presented it". WTF?
  • In its Annual Climate Statement, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology used the words "exceptional" and "exceptionally" no less than seven times.
  • The Financial Times states: "Climate scientists pin responsibility for the exceptional weather on man-made warming"
  • The BBC reports scientist Dr Stott saying "The end of 2015 was very exceptional in many ways. Here in the UK we had both the wettest and the warmest December in our records going back to 1910, but also globally,".

David claims that scientists have ignored the blob of warm water in the Pacific, which largely dissipated by the second half of the year. Yet he would not have heard of the "blob" if one of his denier mates had not alerted him to the fact that scientists were researching it. He whined:
None of them mentioned the “blob” and as for the El Nino it was the “little bit on the top” merely a minor contribution. Most of the temperature rise was down to forced global warming, they said.
If you look again at Figure 1 and Figure 2 up top, you'll see why many scientists didn't pick out the "blob" for special attention. It was only one small area out of all the huge areas that were in the top percentile - the "record warmest".

Is it any wonder that David Whitehouse didn't put up any charts or maps to "prove" his points?

ALL the warming from 1951 is because of human activity

David isn't above telling lies, either. He wrote:
The IPCC says that just over half of the warming since the fifties is forced so most of the contribution to 2015′s temperature is natural variability. In addition the factor that makes 2015 warmer than its previous years is not a resurgence of forced global warming but the “blob” and the El Nino.
That's quite a blatant lie, isn't it. What the IPCC stated in it's most recent report (2013) was that for the period from from 1951 to 2010:
The best estimate of the human induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.
In other words, the IPCC report effectively says that all the global warming observed since the 1951 is because of human activity.

David speculates what if it hadn't got warmer?

David wonders what the 2015 global mean surface temperature would have been if parts of the planet hadn't got hotter. He wrote:
One can speculate what the temperature of 2014 and 2015 would have been without the blob and the El Nino.
That sounds suspiciously like the argument put forward by Bob Carter, Chris de Frietas and John McLean, when they removed the warming trend from the global surface temperature record and pronounced that the world hadn't warmed! Others have tried that trick, too. It doesn't work.

David wants to delete 2015 from the temperature record, writing:
Consequently it is unsafe to use 2015 in any trend analysis to eliminate the “pause.” It is essential to view the 2015 along with subsequent years to catch the cooling La Nina effect. Only this way can the El Nino contribution be properly assessed.
Yet he ends with the fact that:
The main conclusion that can be drawn about 2015 is that it was a truly exceptional year for weather, and for misleading press releases
(He didn't really link to his own article. That was just me having a dig.)

From the WUWT comments

I expect that Anthony Watts' followers won't know what to make of the mixed up article from David Whitehouse. Was 2015 an exceptional year or wasn't it? Was it a lot hotter or wasn't it? Is global warming real or isn't it? What would have happened if there hadn't been so many record warm areas on the planet?

Jared has a (conspiracy) theory, and claims to have found reports where temperatures are reported to the fifth decimal place. Typical of deniers, he doesn't cite any evidence:
January 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm
Just wait until 2017 when they readjust all the temps. These temps are incorrect as they always have to readjust them, yet at the same time they are very precise to the tune of .00001 degrees.

Pat Ch refuses to accept that the hottest year on record is something "unusual". Is his amygdala in overdrive? I expect that he'd think he could break all the world records broken by athletes, too, if given half a chance.
January 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm
Absolutely nothing unusual is happening and has happened, yet thousand of politicians and scientists paid by those very politicians, as well as shockingly ignorant media types, are running around screaming panic.

Notanist thinks deniers will be saved by the next La Niña, which he or she predicts will surface in "a year or two from now". Yet if it's anything like the recent La Niña's it will temporarily dent, but won't stop global warming. The planet will still be hotter than in any previous La Niña year.
January 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm
Can’t wait to see how they’re going to keep the game going a year or two from now when we get the next La Nina. 
In the chart below, La Niña years are in blue and El Niño years are in orange. When the next La Niña arrives, will Notanist and David Whitehouse argue that the planet would have been a lot hotter except for the La Niña?

Figure 4: Global Mean Surface Temperature with ENSO years. El Nino years are in orange, La Nina years are in blue. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index is shown shaded. Data sources: GISS NASA, JMA, BoM.

Nicholas Schroeder wants to look at things in 30 year bundles.
January 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm
According to IPCC AR5 glossary and WMO climate is weather averaged over thirty years. I would take that to mean at least thirty years. So the “record” has to start no later than 1986. Better yet let’s go back three “climates,” 90 years or 1926.
Let's see what it looks like in 30 year blocks of averages, going back from 2015, with the dashed lines showing the global mean surface temperature in 2015, 2005, 1995, 1985 and 1926:

Figure 5 | Global Mean Surface Temperature averaged in 30 year blocks. The annual temperature anomaly for selected years is shown as a dashed line. Data source: GISS NASA

Bill Treuren decides it's been heating up by magic, a "rebound" from the Little Ice Age that has magically "bound" higher than it's ever bounded since civilisation began, and shows no sign of unbounding. That sure was some kick that the Little Ice Age gave the planet. Wait a minute - I thought the Little Ice Age was supposed to be cold? How on earth (or in heaven or hell) did the coldest period since civilisation manage to heat up the planet?
January 23, 2016 at 1:46 pm
Trafa but first you need to correct the temperatures for the LIA rebound and then see how many of those 16 record highs survive and how many new record lows enter.
CAGW is about the impact of Humans not the impact of natural changes such as LIA rebounds etc.
In the mantra of the IPCC any misfortune suffered by man due to nature is to be celebrated.
There were lots of people who decided to ignore the data that they don't like. There were lots of empty wails of "error margins" and "I don't believe it" and "algoreisfat".

HotWhopper regular Brandon R Gates stirs up the rabble with some sensible comments, (how can this year end a pause that never was, after all), and another regular Harry Twinotter says:
January 23, 2016 at 2:05 pm
I can’t say I understand the headline for this article. It would take a brave person to call conditions averaged over the globe for a year or more “weather”.
Variation is the global climate, yes. Try comparing the global mean temperature of 2014-2015 with the last Great El nino of 1997/98.

ShrNfr wants to look at enthalpy, not temperature:
January 23, 2016 at 2:07 pm
The problem is that surface temperatures, be they up or down mean zip. What you need to compute is the excess retained enthalpy of the earth. A comprehensive map using satellite that can compute the radiation budget across all wavelength on a global basis would come the closest to being the only practical way to do it. The El Nino and surface temperatures are a vivid example of the uselessness of surface temperatures for computation of either global warming or cooling. But you have to have an academic background in reality to understand that. Sadly that is largely missing in today’s academia. 
This chart is for ShrNfr. It shows the change in ocean heat content as a percentage of the total 1865 to 2015 change, from a new paper by Peter Gleckler et al. More than 90% of the heat is building up in the oceans, so that should satisfy him.

Figure 6 | Change in Ocean heat content as a percentage of the total 1865 to 2015 change. Source: Gleckler16

Tony thinks it's not enough for David Whitehouse to rant and rave about weather. He thinks that the claims that the global surface temperature is rising ought to be checked.
January 23, 2016 at 4:06 pm
Has anyone checked these ratbags’ calculations and claims?
Not that anyone questions that the Earth has warmed from the LIA. A tad more warming is just a trick to divert attention from the fact that there is zero evidence that man’s CO2 caused any of it.
Well, yes they have been checked. Below is a chart showing the results of six independent teams of people who compile surface temperature data and two that compile upper air temperature data:

Figure 7 | Global mean temperature from six datasets. The 2015 line is the average of the 2015 temperature from all four surface sources. Data sources: GISS NASA, UK Met Office, NOAA, Berkeley Earth, UAH, RSS.

That leaves no doubt that the world is getting hotter. Below is a table showing the trends at the surface since the last time the trend changed in the beginning of the 1970s:

Table 1 | Temperature trend per decades since 1970. Data sources: GISS NASA, UK Met Office, NOAA, Berkeley Earth

Berkeley Earth was hailed by science deniers as being truly independent, and shows the second steepest rise of the lot.

That's more than enough, surely. Deniers need to work together to come up with a single protest. I don't think I saw an "it's the sun" comment, or "it's volcanoes". Some of the dimwits try to claim it's not warming. The rest are fossicking about trying to find a reason for the warming that's not to do with the massive hike in greenhouse gases. None have been successful.

References and further reading

Peter J. Gleckler, Paul J. Durack, Ronald J. Stouffer, Gregory C. Johnson, Chris E. Forest. Industrial-era global ocean heat uptake doubles in recent decades. Nature Climate Change, 2016; DOI:10.1038/nclimate2915
2015 Temperatures - article by Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate.org

History of Record Warm Years - article by Nick Stokes at Moyhu

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. "Consequently it is unsafe to use 2015 in any trend analysis to eliminate the “pause.” "

    So for WUWTers it is OK to create their imaginary 'pause' using an El Nino in 1997/1998. And wrong to erase the pause by having a similar El Nino at the other end of the plot.

    Brandon picked up on that: did it really just go straight over every WUWTer's head?

    1. In a word, yes. I didn't really make that specific point, but Harry Twinotter did, and it went woosh with alacrity.

    2. Millicent,

      You made this comment yesterday on a different thread: http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2016/01/desperate-deniers-part-4-anthony-watts.html?showComment=1453523270051#c5314483274656004191

      I see dbstealey is continuing with his latest ridiculous personal meme:

      "Wake me if you can find verifiable, testable, empirical measurements quantifying the fraction of AGW out of all global warming"

      It seems we must break out our AGW measuring devices.

      I was going reply: Yeah, but when you ask him for "verifiable, testable, empirical measurements quantifying the fraction of natural warming out of all global warming" he'll reply, "skeptics have nothing to prove" but got distracted by some silliness or other.

      Anyway, today he pulled that one out on this article, thus reminding me of it:

      Alan Robertson
      January 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Brandon says: “Global warming “pausing” and “resurging” is a concept I see mainly being promoted by folks who reject AGW for whatever reason.”
      Oh. A promoted concept. Please clarify- are you implying that there was/is no pause?


      January 23, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Alan Robertson,

      This is a textbook example of turning the scientific method upside down:

      …a concept I see mainly being promoted by folks who reject AGW for whatever reason.

      The conjecture is AGW. Skeptics have nothing to “promote”.

      And Kevin Trenberth said:

      The null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.

      In other words: the real world is falsifying our AGW scare, so let’s defenestrate the scientific method and just presume we’re right, and put the onus on skeptics.

      Amusing, if he wasn’t being paid with public taxes.

      He's essentially given himself carte blanche to claim whatever he wants with no duty whatsoever to support it. And exercises that "freedom" regularly. It would be more amusing if he, and those of his credulous fans who gobble up his nitwitted double-standards, weren't allowed to vote.

      And how about Alan Robertson trying to set me up there? No, I don't believe there is or was a "pause", and yes, I see your RSS (and now UAH v6.0beta) and raise that with what I lead off the thread with: unabated rising ocean heat content since 1997.

    3. Your "global weather" coinage in reply to me was nice, and I said so, however all my comments on that thread are going to moderation. You getting the same thing?

    4. Brandon R. Gates


      Yes pretty much all my comments are going into moderation. Or they are just deleted outright. They really dislike terms such as "climate change denier" or "conspiracy theory" which is ironic because that it what they discuss most of the time.

      The "moderators" (I use the term loosely) try to beat me up on Joanne Nova's blog, their double-standard is appalling, they obviously have their instructions. But that asylum was taken over by the loonie anti-green and right-wingers a long time ago (Joanne Nova encourages them). There is one or two brave souls who do try to talk some sense, and are promptly beaten up.

      Anyway my interest has passed for now, there is no hope of having a decent discussion on those blogs. I have removed both from my RSS feed. I am happy to just read HotWhopper to stay current on what is happening in the denialsphere.

    5. Harry Twinotter,

      Prior to that thread, most of my comments did not go into moderation by default. It was nice seeing you over there, totally understand and respect that you've lost interest in dealing with them. Our little exchange prompted some hilarity:


      Harry Twinotter
      January 23, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      Brandon Gates.

      “Especially compared to, “bbbbut blizzards!”. Compared to the standard, albeit somewhat arbitrary, definition of climate as the 30 year statistics of weather, I’d say it’s more weather than climate.”

      I would not feel comfortable calling something “global weather”, but I take your point.

      Brandon Gates
      January 23, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Harry Twinotter,

      Figured you would. Global weather, I like that ….

      Anthony Watts
      January 24, 2016 at 7:06 am

      Weather is local and regional in scope; microscale, mesoscale, or synoptic scale. There’s no such thing as “global weather”, but since both you and Harry are big on disinformation, I can see why you’d embrace something so wrong.


      Irony meter #6 of 2016 goes to Willard Anthony Watts. Does he literally not realize that the OP he published on his own blog is what started the discussion of treating global temps for an entire year as weather?

    6. Report card for Willard Anthony Watts: Reading comprehension D-

    7. "skeptics have nothing to prove"

      I have been thinking about that line for a while, and the more I think about it the more bizarre (and, frankly, moronic) it seems.

      Skeptics claim they can overthrow the scientific consensus and its they who have nothing to prove? Actually I think I may be being unkind to morons. Its more like something from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

      I must try this line of reasoning. I am Napoleon. I really, really am. No, I have nothing to prove. You must prove I am not. Hmmm... Will I be able to get a pension from the French state? I wonder how much it is going to cost to heat Fontainebleau.

    8. Perhaps in dbstealey's case that should be One Tried to Fly Over The Cuckoos Nest, But Only Managed To Collide With It.

    9. Millicent,

      Report card for Willard Anthony Watts: Reading comprehension D-

      That's only because his language prof didn't want to see him again next semester. Further down we find:

      Rhetoric: C
      Sophistry: A+
      Logical consistency: F-
      Ethics: I

      "skeptics have nothing to prove"

      I have been thinking about that line for a while, and the more I think about it the more bizarre (and, frankly, moronic) it seems.

      Me too, since he's been using for a while ... generally when he's painted himself into the corner opposite the wastebin within which he's attempting to hide the dunce cap.

      I've also been thinking about Dr. Trenberth's statement, which I believe is more or less accurate as stated but ... grrr ... rummage rummage ... gooogle ... ah: The Human Cause of Climate Change: Where Does the Burden of Proof Lie? http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/PressRelease/pressReleaseId-101479.html

      I get his point, but offer he may have overstated it a bit. Though ... were I in his shoes, I might very well have said the same thing.

      Perhaps in dbstealey's case that should be One Tried to Fly Over The Cuckoos Nest, But Only Managed To Collide With It.

      It's been said of Microsoft products that features are really just bugs with seniority. There may be a parallel application here.

    10. Brandon R. Gates.

      "There’s no such thing as “global weather”, but since both you and Harry are big on disinformation, I can see why you’d embrace something so wrong"

      What a loathsome little toad Anthony Watts is. I, for one, will be very happy when the denier lobbyists funds dry up and these silly blogs disappear.

    11. Harry Twinotter,

      Aren't you the optimist. I think if we don't lick this thing, some future Anthony will almost surely be standing knee-deep in salt water where downtown Houston used to be saying that it's nothing unprecedented that cannot be completely explained by natural means alone.

      In other news, I would be remiss for neglecting to mention that Stealey just apologized to me for incorrectly remembering something I wrote a few months ago:


    12. "I think if we don't lick this thing, some future Anthony will almost surely be standing knee-deep in salt water where downtown Houston used to be saying that it's nothing unprecedented that cannot be completely explained by natural means alone.

      That just begs for another reminder of the famous scene from Erik the Viking.

      I never tire of its uncanny depiction of climate change deniers, a decade and a half before they even became a plague on the internet.

    13. Bernard J.,

      I was a bit busy in 1989 when that movie was released, so I can understand why I missed it then, but that didn't even know of it until today is simply inexcusable. Holy cow, that scene is dead on the mark.


      WUWT regular Aphan has finally taken on one of the main points I made in my original post over there. She pointed me toward this paragraph:

      David Whitehouse: So can the combined “blob” and El Nino account for the 2015 temperature excess of 0.13, 0.18 or 0.16°C depending on your choice of data set? It could. Indeed without the “blob” and the El Nino 2015 could have been cooler than 2014. Without the “blob” 2014 could have been cooler than 2010. This makes suggestions that the “pause” in annual average global surface temperatures has been “terminated” premature. The “pause” will not be ended by weather but by forced global warming.

      Embedded in the word "suggestions" (emphasis mine) is this link: http://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-how-2015-became-the-hottest-year-on-record

      Wherein we find that the offending quote ...

      In a joint summary with former head of NASA GISS, Dr James Hansen, Schmidt says 2015 global temperature “smashed the prior record” and “should practically terminate” discussion of any slowdown in the pace of global warming.

      ... has been improperly paraphrased. Shocker.

      In other unsurprising news, my grasp of my own native tongue is now being questioned for having been brazen enough to point out the discrepancy.

    14. I've elevated the "global weather" discussion to an article.

      Do let me know if I've misinterpreted your respective points, Harry and Brandon :)

    15. Sou.

      Spot on for what I said and intended. "Global Weather" :-)

    16. Ditto, Sou. And Harry, always a pleasure.

  2. Tbf "it is warming because it is warm" is cutting edge science in denier land

    And actually backed up the the evidence

  3. The years 1975 to 2014 had an average temperature increase of +0.022 degrees Celsius per year (measuring December to December).

    2015 had a temperature increase of 0.34 degrees Celsius (measuring December to December).

    How much of the 2015 temperature increase do you think is due to el Nino, and how much do you think is due to AGW?

    Which factor should be given the greatest importance when discussing the temperature increase in 2015?

    1. Sheldon, read the article by Gavin Schmidt at realclimate re question 1. He posted a chart that will give you some idea of the contribution of El Nino. This year it'll probably be a greater contribution (going by past ENSO events). (There's a link under "references" at the bottom of the main article above.)

      re Question 2 - I don't understand the question. Can you rephrase it?

    2. Just out of curiosity, do you have similar questions when the annual variability shows a decrease?

      Talking about climate trends on an annual basis is fairly useless. That would be like talking about batting averages on a game basis in baseball. You need a longer period to establish the actual trend. Your question is the equivalent of asking "which factor should be given the greatest importance when discussing why A-Rod went 3 for 3 last night"? It is a silly question.

    3. Sheldon,

      I've noticed this exact comment on several different blogs, so I suspect it's a drive-by. But I can't resist some comments.

      1. You haven't identified which data set you are using. Fortunately, all of the global surface temperature data sets are similar enough that it doesn't affect the general conclusions.

      2. I'm not sure why you're looking at December data only, rather than all monthly data or annual data.

      3. Your "average temperature increase" is calculated incorrectly. Computing all the year over year changes and then averaging them is equivalent to subtracting the 1975 temperature (or anomaly) from the 2014 temperature and dividing by 39. What you should be doing is using linear regression to fit a line to the data, and then comparing the 2015 data to the regression line. The slope of the regression line gives the best estimate of the average annual temperature increase.

      4. Since we have the 2015 data, there's no reason not to use it in the calculation of the linear regression. Since you already know that 2015 was the hottest year in the record, excluding the 2015 data from that calculation just biases the average increase down.

      5. If you are new to climate studies, errors like the ones listed above are easy to make. Errors don't make you a bad person, but they do suggest that you should spend a lot more time reading and thinking about what other people say before you make any big arguments about climate change. I suspect that your two questions are making an implied climate change argument, but after reading your previous statements, I'm not inclined to take it seriously.

      6. I read the second question as implying that 2015 doesn't count as the warmest year on record because much of the increase over 2014 is due to El Niño. When we talk about the temperature in 2015, we should be obligated to talk about El Niño so much that we can't mention any role for global warming, or the responsibility of human activities in causing that warming.

      This argument is specious. There have been large El Niños before, larger than the current one. And yet the global temperature in 2015 is much warmer than it was during the previous large El Niños. On top of that, an El Niño is a two year event. When comparing the current El Niño to the 1998 El Niño, for example, the correct comparison is between the first years of each El Niño. 2015 should be compared to 1997. Since 2016 is the second year of the current El Niño, it is likely to be hotter than 2015 was. At that point, your argument, which is that 1998 was an El Niño year and 2016 was an El Niño year so the temperature change between them doesn't matter, will be even less plausible.

      A large portion of the temperature increase in 2015 was due to El Niño, which is a temporary event. If we exclude that portion of the increase when considering whether 2015 should be considered a record breaking year, we should exclude temporary temperature changes from previous years as well.

      That leaves us with the linear trend in temperature, which is still going up. The most recent year will always be the hottest year in the linear trend, and it will always be due to the human activity of increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    4. Sheldon Have a look at this graph.


      It shows that El Nino, La Nina and Neutral years all have about the same gradient due to global warming in spite of the noise in the data.

      The 1997/8 El Nino and 2015 (red asterisk ) El Nino are also on the same gradient but a tad higher. Bert

    5. OSweetMrMath,

      Thank you for your detailed reply.

      1. The data is the latest GISTEMP data, which includes the update for December 2015.

      Here is the GISTEMP description:
      Combined Land-Surface Air and Sea-Surface Water Temperature Anomalies
      (Land-Ocean Temperature Index, LOTI)
      Global-mean monthly, seasonal, and annual means, 1880-present

      2. I was looking at the temperature increase from December one year, to December the next year, in order to get

      the increase for each year.

      3. I agree with you, that my way of calculating the average yearly temperature increase was incorrect. I have

      now repeated the analysis using linear regression to fit a line to all of the data from 1975 to 2014. The new

      linear regression average yearly increase of temperature due to AGW is +0.017 degrees Celsius per year. (My

      original incorrect calculation gave +0.022 degrees Celsius per year)

      It is easy to see why the linear regression gives a smaller average temperature increase compared to my

      original method. If you look at the data, December 1975 is below the regression line, and December 2014 is

      above the regression line, so my original method gave a result which was too high.

      4. I didn't want to include 2015 in the regression, because I am trying to estimate the average temperature

      increase due to AGW. 2015 includes el Nino, and including it would overestimate the increase due to AGW. El

      Nino's which occurred in earlier years would be "averaged out" because of the temperature change when the el

      Nino finishes. The same applies to La Nina's.

      6. My second question did not imply that 2015 doesn't count as the warmest year on record. Because there is a

      steady temperature increase each year due to AGW, 2015 would still be the warmest year on record, even if there

      was no el Nino. But it wouldn't be such a big record.

      My linear regression gave the average yearly increase of temperature due to AGW to be +0.017 degrees Celsius

      per year. The fit of the regression line was reasonable, and I tried fitting several curves to see if the slope

      was increasing or decreasing over time. The curves had little effect on the fit, so I stayed with a straight


      In 2015 the temperature increased by 0.34 degrees Celsius. My analysis implies that 0.017 degrees Celsius was

      due to AGW, and 0.323 degrees Celsius was due to el Nino. So el Nino was responsible for 95% of the temperature

      increase, and AGW was responsible for 5% of the temperature increase.

      I can imagine that this result will not be popular with some people. You are welcome to repeat my analysis and

      prove me wrong. My reason for doing the analysis, was because I felt that many people are minimising the effect

      of the el Nino, in order to increase the effect of AGW.

      This has bad consequences in following years when AGW does not live up to the hype. Do you want people to start

      seeing a pause again, when AGW doesn't keep increasing at a high rate?

      To me, AGW is a slow steady increase in temperature. It doesn't zoom up and down. Over the years it steadily

      accumulates, and that is the timeframe when you can reliably measure AGW.

    6. Sorry for the bad formatting in my previous post. I pasted the text from Notepad. Is it possible for somebody to remove the excess "new lines" in the previous post? I will paste using a different method next time :)

    7. Sheldon, if you want to reformat and repost your comment, I can remove the above version.

    8. That would be great, Sou. Thanks.

    9. Sheldon, I don't know where your 0.34C came from. The increase in temperature of 2015 over 2014 was between 0.13C and 0.18C, depending on which dataset you use.

      The trend per year is around 0.017 C in all data sets (Table 1 above).

      As well, you cannot infer what can be attributed to ENSO just by subtracting from the trend. That would be assuming that all the difference between the trend and the actual difference is because of ENSO.

      If you look at the map in Figure 2 above, there were a lot of areas that experienced record warming, not just the equatorial Pacific.

      I referred you to the chart that Gavin Schmidt put up at realclimate. He estimated around 0.07 C was attributable to El Nino - that's around 50% of the 0.13C rise in GISTemp.

      As for your "this has bad consequences ... when AGW does not live up to the hype", I"ve no idea what you regard as "hype". You'd be surprised at the number of people who understand that an El Nino year is usually hotter than it would otherwise be (globally).

      The rate of warming at 0.17C/decade could well increase over time, depending on how quickly we reduce emissions growth, and ultimately reduce emissions a lot.

    10. jgnflg.

      "Just out of curiosity, do you have similar questions when the annual variability shows a decrease?"

      I tend to agree, reporting maybe every 5 years would be more appropriate.

      But the sad sad situation is it is a propaganda war. I can't help feeling the pro-global warming blogs (such as this one) are a reaction to the anti-science propaganda from the denialist blogs. I think John Cook said that was one of his motivations for Skeptical Science.

      The monthly and annual "highest temperature on record" gets headlines, that is the main thing. I am sure if a "lowest temperature on record" happened, it would get headlines too, so there is some balance.

    11. The problem with your analysis is that it doesn't "prove" anything in the first place so there is precious little to "disprove". You just don't get what you think you are getting from a regression analysis. You simply cannot use regression to estimate annual contributions in the way you are trying to.

      If you still have your output delve into it. The trend is ~.017 degrees/year. Now what is expected error for the value for each year? Note: This is NOT the error in the trend estimate. You get the value for the error in individual annual points from the "residual squared error" term. This value gives you some notion of the expected error in the annual values.

      Even should you do this, however, there is also the large additional complication that there is some level of positive autocorrelation in the residuals which affects the error analysis (but not the trend estimate) such that residual error is underestimated.

      Anyway, most basically you will find that if you do a full analysis the 2 sigma residual error term is on the order of plus or minus 20X the trend depending on series. All of this variation is error under regression and as such assumed to be random and not "caused" by anything at all by definition! 20*.017 is, oddly enough, .34 degrees. That is, up to about plus or minus .34 degrees of annual variation is totally expectable. (1998 was probably just out of the expected range BTW which makes it a particularly bad year to start a analysis. But deniers don't worry about such little things.)

      Again, you might as well ask what percentage of a 3 for 3 game was due to a hitter's prior .325 batting average. The answer is "I do not and cannot know".

      Physical models, of course, in principle can reduce the amount of unexplained error, but that is getting away from pure statistics.

    12. Sheldon Walker.

      "To me, AGW is a slow steady increase in temperature. It doesn't zoom up and down. Over the years it steadily."

      No, the surface temperatures are always going to vary because of natural variability and because of uncertainty in the measurements. If some natural cooling decreases (which there is evidence for), the temps will jump up.

      I recommend the trend not be expressed as years. The climate people seem to like 10 year periods.

      There never was a "pause" of course, that term was an invention of the media. And there is nothing to prevent several years of warming above the long term trend.

      1.7C per century may not sound alarming. But when you consider positive feedbacks such as increased water vapour (which is happening) and reduced albedo (which is happening), it is very alarming. The climate system is being set up for an exponential surface temperature increase.

      Considering a different angle: the global mean temperature includes the oceans. Over land the rate of temperature increase is higher.

    13. Today's realclimate entry http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/01/how-likely-is-the-observed-recent-warmth/
      goes into great detail about the issues I briefly raised above.

    14. "To me, AGW is a slow steady increase in temperature."

      You'd need to be accurately measuring total planetary heat content to see that, not just the temperature in a small part of a much larger chaotic system.

    15. Sheldon, I don't know where your 0.34C came from. The increase in temperature of 2015 over 2014 was between 0.13C and 0.18C, depending on which dataset you use.

      And, if I may add, no one is claiming that the coming years we will see this again and again to produce a smooth trend of 13 to 18°C per century.

      Weather varies, that will stay like it always was and in 5 to 10 years we will hear claims of a hiatus since 2016, no matter what scientists will say or do.

    16. Sheldon seems a bit too complicit with the conspiracy to be a true believer in the hoax.

    17. Sheldon and any other confused by my idiotic post above...

      Was half asleep, working from memory, and went way off track above in specific number, though the basic logic remains. The residual error in the GISS series is .092 degrees (1975 to 2015) Therefore, the 2 sigma expected band for individual year values is plus or minus .184 degrees which equates to a band .368 degrees wide where values may be expected to fall 95% of the time.

      The rest of the logic remains and note that the 2 sigma error in the residuals is about 10X the trend.

      Sorry for any confusion. I can't believe how bad an error in description that was.

    18. Ignoring any correction for autocorrelation.

    19. A bit late, but there's been a ring around climate scientists at the Carbon Brief, so you can see the different (not dissimilar) estimates from various scientists, about how much El Nino contributed to the record heat.


    20. Of course the extrapolation from the Carbon Brief piece is that if we could account and correctfor every parameter that affects the temperature record we'd end up with a monotonically-increasing warming trajectory.

      And likely one that is remarkably close to a straight linear regression through the last four decades of the record... which would then take us back to where we came in, which is that because of the noise inherent in any such system, there is a minimum period going back from the present where variability masks the short-term statistical power to detect the trend.

      The terms "pause" and "hiatus" are ideological squirrels for propagandists and innumerates who refuse to understand and/or acknowledge this inherent property of noisy data. We could continue at the current rate and variability of warming to the point that we boil all the water from the surface of the Earth, and with the Denailati's innumerate logic it would never have warmed at any point in the process for the last 12 to 20 years...

  4. I made the point a few weeks ago but didn't bookmark it for simpling linking here, so I'll apologise if anyone's perturbed by the repetition of this comment.

    The large cold anomaly in the northwest Atlantic appears as such only because the mass that produces it has shifted in space. If that mass had remained where it was when its temperature changed (in the transition from ice to water...), it would appear as a warm anomaly.

    In other words, the main reason that there's a big cold anomaly in the northwest Atlantic is because the (Artic-sourced) melting water flowed to an area that was on average even warmer that it was, even after abdorbing thermal energy.

    The northwest Atlantic cold doesn't refute global warming, it supports it...

    1. Yeah, yeah, I know...

      But I have a code id by dose.

    2. Bernard J.

      The cold blob is not necessarily caused by increases inartic melt water.

    3. Good point Harry and elsewhere I mentioned that melt was only a part of the reason for the cold anomaly, but I should have made it here too. Thanks.


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.