Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hottest February by far at a whopping 1.35 C above the 1951-1980 mean

Sou | 2:12 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment
While science disinformers falsely accuse scientists of fraud and dig up decades-old television claims of a climate conspiracy, the world is getting very, very hot. GISTemp has now released the results for February and they are startling, even for an El Nino year.

Below is a chart of annual mean surface temperature anomaly, on which I've added the anomaly for last month:

Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature, anomaly from the 1951-1980 mean. The chart also shows the anomaly for February 2016. Data source: GISS NASA

Last month, February, the global mean surface temperature was a whopping 1.35 °C (2.43 °F) above the 1951-1980 mean. That smashes previous records, and is the hottest February on record by 0.47 °C. The previous hottest February's were in 1998 at 0.88 °C and 2015 at 0.87 °C.

It's also the highest ever anomaly for any month,with the previous highest anomaly being the previous month, January 2016, when the temperature was 1.14 °C above the 1951-1980 mean. There've now been five "hottest months on record" in a row, starting in October last year.

More than 2 degrees of warming

According to Professor Michael Mann's estimate, February brings us to the danger mark of 2 degrees hotter than pre-industrial temperatures.

El Niño years comparison

I've updated the chart for El Niño years, too. I had to expand the y axis a lot to fit the February data:

Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature for El Nino years. Data source: GISS NASA

The shaded area is the normal period for an El Niño.

Where is the heat happening? It's not the equatorial Pacific

It's more than El Niño that's causing the extra heat. Below is a map showing just where it's getting so hot. It's the northern hemisphere, including the Arctic, parts of the USA and Canada, and much of northern Europe:

Figure 3 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for February, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA

February comparisons

Look, it's too soon to post any year to date temperatures, but here's a chart showing just the months of February:

Figure 4 | Global mean surface temperature, anomaly from the 1951-1980 mean for the month of February only. Data source: GISS NASA

Year to date comparisons

As I said, it's too soon to start the year-to-date charts, but I will anyway. Here is the chart to the end of 2015:

Figure 5 | Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to the end of 2015. Data source: GISS NASA

For this year, I'll have to extend the y axis a whole lot. Here's a taste. The lines represent the running average. The end point marked 2016 is the average of January and February anomalies this year:

Figure 6 | Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to February 2016. Data source. GISS NASA

Tedious Tisdale has diverged from reality

Over at WUWT, Bob Tisdale has written an article showing how hot it is getting (archived here). Yet in it he continues to repeat his ludicrous claim:
It’s very hard to overlook the fact that, over the past decade, climate models are simulating way too much warming and are diverging rapidly from reality.

Here is a chart of monthly anomalies (against the 1951-1980 mean) comparing observations with the multi-model mean from CMIP5 RCP8.5 (the worst pathway). It shows that Bob Tisdale is so used to spouting nonsense that he no longer knows how to tell the truth:

Figure 7 | Monthly global mean surface temperature,to February 2016, observed and modeled. Data sources. GISS NASA and KNMI Climate Explorer for CMIP5
Not only that, but for the period from around 2005 onwards, the climate models overstate the forcings. They used estimates that meant that the models were overestimating what the warming would be. Below is a chart showing the models vs observations using actual forcings instead of estimated:

Figure 8 | Global mean surface temperature and CMIP5. The CMIP5 multi-model mean has been updated with recent forcings and GISTemp data includes 2015 observations. Source: Stefan Rahmstorf, updated fromMann15 article in Nature's Scientific Reports.

From the WUWT comments

It's surprising that Anthony Watts allowed an article showing how hot the world is getting, even one as full of nonsense as Bob Tisdale's. There aren't a lot of comments so far. Maybe deniers are stunned into silence. That would be a first!

Luke started the ball rolling:
March 12, 2016 at 4:19 pm
It looks like the “pause” is officially over.

All anyone else could come up with was no better than this dumb comment from conspiracy theorist Rud Istvan. ristvan wrote:
March 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm
Knowing something about statistics, there are only two plausible interpretations of your figures 1-5. 1.We are all going to die very soon of CAGW, worse than warmunists thought!!!. 2. Nino heat Burps get compensated. My money is on not panicking over an El Nino ‘burp’. Time will tell.
Thanks for the update, either way.:

Except the burp wasn't from the equatorial Pacific, it was from higher latitudes in the northern hemisphere.  Some of that could have been hot air moving north - I'll wait to see what the experts say.


  1. I try to keep a level head about this issue, but Figure 4 scares the crap out of me.

    1. It's just NASA scientists panicking over the prospect of a Trump presidency and dialing their secret Arctic volcanic heating coils to 11. And the NOAA has probably turned its El Nino heat pump to High too.

    2. The Russians have secretly assembled another 5,000 km of steam pipes.

  2. ==> "There aren't a lot of comments so far. '

    Interesting. Only 28 "thoughts" so far. Seems that the post hasn't captured the attention of too many WUWT readers. Surprising, given that it's about the recent trend of temperatures - a topic that WUWT readers generally find worthy of a lot of discussion.

    I wonder what might explain their relative lack of interest in Bob's recent post? I just can't imagine what the explanation might be.

  3. Judith Curry posted Spencer and Christy's blog comments on RSS V4 TMT. She didn't post Mears response to their comments.

    Then she claims "There is a legitimate debate on how to correct for the diurnal cycle, but based on my assessment, the UAH empirically based approach seems better." - but posts no 'assessment'.

    Then she posts that she agrees with Bob Tisdale's article on WUWT.



    1. My guess is that Curry didn't post an 'assessment' because she can't muster one. She strikes me a being a complete poser.


    2. One wonders how she managed to assess an unpublished method.

    3. Being unpublished automatically renders it Judith-Worthy.

    4. I haven't seen how the updated RSS compares to the most current UAH dataset, so I'm not sure how they now line up, but if the current UAH assessment is better than the new RSS, then I wonder if Curry thinks that the UAH is also better than the older RSS. If that's the case, then isn't she going against the "gold standard" that is RSS and actually supporting a dataset in UAH that shows more of a warming trend?

  4. yep, classic pretentious attention seeker

  5. As one might suspect, the land-based Northern Hemisphere GISTEMP anomaly for February is even greater: 2.36 °C. This means many temperate regions experienced February temperatures that were more characteristic of March throughout most of the 20th century.

  6. Looks like the 'plateau' may be no more..of course it
    was bs from start. Nice proof of this would be a graph of the thirty year average over the last fifty years, as every year has been above the average, it'only going one way... straight to hell..lol

  7. Taking 14C as the 'normal' global surface temperature for the 1951-1980 period, then an anomaly of +1.35C is an increase above 'normal' of about 10%.

    Using human body temperature as an analogy (which may or may not be appropriate, but is interesting anyway); a 10% increase over 37C gives ~40.5C.

    By at least one definition, a body temperature of >40C can be treated as hyperpyrexia, which "is considered a medical emergency as it may indicate a serious underlying condition or lead to significant side effects."

    "Immediate aggressive cooling... has been found to improve survival."

    Oh dear.

  8. Percentages of temperatures is problematic, since the 0 point is essentially arbitrary. Really, you'd want to do the calculation in Kelvin for it to be meaningful. That would only show a 0.5% increase though, and that doesn't convey the urgency. The analogy to body temperature is a more effective argument.

    1. Global mean temps rose from between 4-6 K from the LGM to Holocene Optimum, so a 1.35 K anomaly from the 1951-1980 mean represents between 23-34% of the difference between a deep ice age and the climate in which our civilization developed.

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  10. It's the magnitude of the Arctic anomaly as depicted in figure 3 that particularly concerns me. There's the range of immediate ecological consequences that such warming portends, but there's also the fact that that's where a lot of methane is locked up in permafrost...

    I know that there are many climate scientists who discount the methane bomb notion, but if this anomalous warming of the Arctic becomes usual rather than an extraordinarily rare occurrence, we may already have left Kansas far behind.

    For mine, I'm convinced that 1.5°C was left behind several years ago, and that we're probably already effectively too late to avoid 2°C short of imminent global nuclear war or pandemic. On the current escalating trend in atmospheric CO2 concentration, and given the almost total lack of response of the international community since COP21 in Paris and since Francis' encyclical, I can see no mechanism where we don't emit sufficient CO2 to scorch our civilisation from the planet.

    Even without an unexpectedly huge slug of methane burping into the atmosphere it's likely that the known committments and feedings back are sufficient to put us closer to 3°C than 2°C. And no, the remarkable uptake of renewables doesn't assuage my concerns. See the above link and also here. Jevon's paradox seems to be operating under full steam, because for all the explosion in solar and wind it hasn't been sufficient to alter the escalating trajectory of CO2 emissions.

    And Larry Marshall thinks that now is a great time to cut funding to the CSIRO's climate science division... The guy's playing chicken with a freight train, and he has on his bus a nation (and a planet) of passengers along for the ride.

    To use a (related...) bushfire analogy, humanity is now at the watch and act level of alert. And yet we seem to be sitting in front of our collective televisions transfixed by inane pap and triviality.

    It's time for Plan B.

    If only we had one...

  11. Ignored but still chugging along, UAH 5.6 put February at 0.90C, beating the previous record of 0.66C, set in 1998.


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