Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Heat continues with a hot October - second hottest on record

Sou | 4:30 AM Go to the first of 27 comments. Add a comment
According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for October was 0.89 °C, which is the second hottest October on record, and 0.18 °C lower than the hottest October in 2015. This is despite the fact that NOAA has announced a La Nina advisory.

The average for the nine months to the end of October is 1.02 °C, which is 0.19 °C higher than the previous hottest January to October period in 2015, which with the latest data had an anomaly of 0.83 °C.

Here is a chart of the average of 12 months to October each year. The 12 months to October 2016 averaged 1.03 °C above the 1951-1980 mean and was 0.21 °C hotter than the 12 months to October 2015:
Figure 1 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the 12 months to October each year. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Below is a chart of the month of October only. Hover over the chart to see the anomaly in any October:
Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the the month of October only. The base period is 1951-1980. Data source: GISS NASA

Is there a La Niña?

You can see the global mean temperature trend by month in the chart below, for the strongest El Niño years since 1950, which were followed by a La Nina. I've included the 2015/16 period for comparison. NOAA has announced a La Nina advisory. The BoM ENSO update is still on watch status (it never came off).

Not counting 2015/16, of the seven very strong, strong and strong to moderate El Ninos since 1950, there were only three that were followed by a La Nina. The chart spans a three year period. That is, for the 2015-16 El Niño and subsequent, it goes from January 2015 to December 2017, or would if the data allowed. (For a more detailed explanation see the HW articles: El Niño to La Niña years with more detail here.)

Figure 3 | Global mean surface temperature for strong or moderate/strong El Nino years that were followed by a La Nina. Data source: GISS NASA

Where was it hot?

Last month it was very hot in the Arctic. There was a part of the northern mid-latitudes over Russia that was rather cool, also Australia.

Figure 4 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for October, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA
Below is September for comparison:

Figure 5 | Map showing mean surface temperature, anomalies for September, from the 1951-1980 mean. Source: GISS NASA

Year to date average surface temperature

The chart below tracks the year to date. Each point on the plot is the average of the year to that month. For 2016, the last point is the average of all months to date including October. This year is tracking well above 2015, partly because of the El Niño and partly because of the extraordinary warmth in the Arctic. To drop below the average for 2015, the average anomaly for the next three two months would need to be 0.11 °C or less:

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

The next two months would have to be the temperatures of 32 years ago...

Given the expectation that this will be another "hottest year", below is a chart showing the average temperature for the two months from November to December from 2000 onwards. The last time the November to December average was 0.11 C or less and that was 32 years ago in 1984. (The blue line is the average year to date for 2016.)

Figure 7 | Global mean surface temperature anomaly for the two months from November to December. The base period is 1951-1980. The blue line is the average year to date for 2016. Data source: GISS NASA

Related HotWhopper articles


  1. The October PDO index just came in... .56, up from September's .45.

  2. "There was a part of the northern mid-latitudes over Russia that was rather cool"

    Those Russian steam pipes were down for maintenance?

  3. OK, I know this is off topic, but I just want to get something straight in my head that's been bothering me for a few days now. And I trust that some of the wise, politically/legally savvy heads at HW might just be able to shed some light here.

    So The Donald is appointing Myron Ebell to head his 'transition team' at the EPA. And yet, Myron has his name down as a contributor to this very damning document:


    So, yeah, that's a manifesto from the oil companies about how they are going to systematically disinform the public on the dangers of anthropogenic global warming. It's a 'we are the merchants of doubt, and we have the resources to do this' declaration.

    So, I suppose my question is, fundamentally: is there no way to hold someone accountable for declaring war on humanity for the sake of profit, when it's Exhibit A right there in your face in writing for everyone to see?

    For the record, this is 'Day of The Donald #8'. But who's counting? And please remind me again how many days there are in 4 years. Actually, no, please don't.

    1. I can't answer your question, MM. What I may do, if no-one objects, is to have the occasional policy/politics article. The continuation of climate science, expansion of renewables, and works on adaptation are too important IMO.

      Meantime, to show that scientists are treating this matter seriously, here's an article in The Independent where Gavin Schmidt from NASA speaks out:

      'Global warming doesn’t care about the election': Nasa scientist warns Donald Trump over interference

    2. Nicholas Sarkozy has come up with a possible response, if Trump does as he has threatened, withdraws the US from the China agreement and adopts a more generally protectionist stance in international trade, the countries remaining in the agreement could impose a 'carbon tax' on goods imported from countries outside the agreement. Chris Hope of Cambridge Judge Business School summarises:

      "How large should such a tax be? If it is to be proportionate, it should cover the harm caused to the Earth from the production of the goods, a harm that will not be reflected in their price if the US presses ahead with the unfettered use of fossil fuels. Let’s consider some ballpark numbers. The Gross Domestic Product of the US in 2015 was about $18 trillion. The US emissions of greenhouse gases in the same year were about 7 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Dividing one quantity by the other, we find that every thousand dollars of US production involves the emission of about 0.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
      The best estimate we have of the global harm caused by these emissions comes from integrated assessment models, like my PAGE09 model which gives a mean value of about $150 per tonne of CO2 if valued by an average citizen in Europe, or $250 per tonne of CO2 if valued by an average US citizen (US citizens are on average about 50% richer than European ones, so they should value an equivalent physical harm more highly).
      Applying these mean values as an ad valorem tax on imports of USA goods to Europe results in a tax of about 6%, if the European valuation of harm is used, or 10% with the US valuation. These are higher, but not dramatically so, than Sarkozy’s proposal of a 1 – 3% tax on US imports."


      Whether this will fly politically is above my pay grade, however if implemented there are two side benefits: it would highlight just how isolated is Trumps' America and it might just throw the flaxen haired billionaire into a white hot rage :-)

      Hat tip to William Connolley


  4. "To drop below the average for 2015, the average anomaly for the next three months would need to be 0.11 °C or less'

    Perhaps it's just the late hour, but I count only two months after October...

    1. Yeah, blame the late hour :)


    2. So far, November is just a bitty bit hotter than .11 ℃

  5. Groenland ice growth is breaking records, around 50% above normal since september.



    Also we see a rapid decline in global land temperature:

    Woodfortrees: Time series (UAH) from 1979 to 2016.83


    1. Wow, that was fast!

      No warming since September!!

    2. Greenland ice has been growing since September?

      OMGS, who would have thought that could happen?

    3. Bojangles

      So we come out of El Nino and into maybe early La Nina territory and land surface temps estimated by a model of the top of the lower troposphere show a spike. They went up (EN) and now down (LN?). That's exactly what they usually do (hint: see 1998).

      Here's UAH LT land only plotted with GISTEMP global average (just for lulz). One has to smile. Or perhaps laughter would be more appropriate?

      Isn't Bojangles the name of a clown? I do believe that it is!

    4. Mr Bojangles please!


      Another entertainer that used to enter the Casino where he was a headline act by the kitchen rear door. Never made it to the Whitehouse. Bert

    5. Here is Aretha



    6. I suspect Bojangles is just here to waste our time, another cut-n-paste warrior of the Climate Change Denialism websites. But I will bite:

      "Also we see a rapid decline in global land temperature:"

      Really? Please explain what you mean by an "8 month change" - a change from what? Why 8 months?

    7. "Groenland ice growth is breaking records, around 50% above normal since september."

      I can't find justification for this claim. If it is true, then 2015-16 was also a "record", at least for a couple of months. If the grey shaded area shows the complete range of values, then the upper edge should at least be the same as 2015-16 (it doesn't, so maybe the grey shaded area shows the 2-sigma variation).

    8. Here is the link to the source data, it saves having to follow an article which just refers to another article (talk about an echo-chamber in action! :-) )


    9. Following on from Harry Twinotter's comment, quoting the article on the web site:

      "Over the year, it snows more than it melts, but calving of icebergs also adds to the total mass budget of the ice sheet. Satellite observations over the last decade show that the ice sheet is not in balance. The calving loss is greater than the gain from surface mass balance, and Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr."

      The estimates shown are only of the surface mass balance, and do not include mass loss from ice loss. Note the last sentence of the quoted text - overall mass loss of about 200Gt/year - equivalent to approximately +0.55mm/year global-mean sea level!


    10. He might be onto something, you know. We've had rapid temperature decline here since last week. Even had a bit of snow the other day. And it definitely is colder now than September up here in the N hemisphere.

    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    12. yep, I just checked too, here in the UK that is

      average temps way down since July / August

    13. Dan Andrews.

      "He might be onto something, you know."

      Not necessarily. It is not clear from the articles what might be causing the surface mass accumulation. If it is extra snow, then that can be caused by warmer temperatures and more snow falling.

      To make an extreme example, I had a side-bet with myself that sea level will fall due to global warming causing more snow to fall over the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps - technically speaking they are deserts so the extra snow has to come from the oceans.

  6. "Also we see a rapid decline in global land temperature"

    Is that anything to do with winter coming?

    1. Oh that's what they always say when an ice age starts. Although, it could be because the White Witch has escaped from Narnia.

    2. Not winter; the anomalies are differences from each month's baseline temperature, and the baseline is near constant.

  7. Someone was mentioning the coolish temps over Europe etc - not wrong. I just hope I don't lose my money on the bet I made with someone about 2016.

    October 2016 does appear to be an outlier of sorts. So I am making a loose prediction November 2016 will be warmer, due to regression to the mean. Keep me honest! :-)



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