2011 Global Temperature and Anomaly

Later today there is going to be a debate at my daughter’s school about Global Warming.  She is one of the few students to sign-up for the opposing side of the debate.  Since the debate will be taking place at the 8th grade level I am not exactly sure the depth that the debate will cover, but she is getting to take the original “proof” copy of my book to school to use for her debate.  I suspect that it is far too much information for her debate, but she will be well prepared.  The one other thing I also wanted to prepare her with was some basic information about what is going on with the climate in the year of 2011 with the Earth’s temperature.  This was also a topic that I wanted to write about anyway, so the time is right for this article.

Warmists avoid discussing the Earth’s actual temperature at all costs.  It is one of the fundamental principles of global warming that the actual temperature of the Earth does not matter, only the temperature anomaly matters.  The official doctrine of the warmist belief can be summed up by the answer given by Dr. James Hansen of NASA.

Q. What do I do if I need absolute SATs, not anomalies ?
A. In 99.9% of the cases you’ll find that anomalies are exactly what you need, not absolute temperatures. In the remaining cases, you have to pick one of the available climatologies and add the anomalies (with respect to the proper base period) to it. For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14°C, i.e. 57.2°F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58°F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse.

That this argument has been accepted by so many is probably the 2nd greatest victory in the global warming debate.  Anyone who says that the actual temperature does not matter, does not understand the physics of heat.  Absolute temperature determines a whole range of behaviors and anomaly has no predictive value in this regard.  Few skeptics have caught on to this yet, but that will be changing.

If one were to accept the warmist argument for temperature anomaly, then the only thing that needs to be known about the year 2011 is that the temperature anomaly for the year through the end of October is +0.16 °C, at least based on the average of the RSS and UAH data.  That is a very comparable anomaly to the year 2001, although 2011 is slightly cooler than 2001.

Warmists like the anomaly for a variety of reasons, but the simplest is that it masks the true complexity of the Earth’s temperature.  I will start off by showing the monthly temperature anomalies for the year so far.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Monthly Temperature Anomaly for 2011

For people that make lots of charts, this is very useful because it shows only how much variation from the average monthly temperature there was for each month.  That is because the temperature anomaly is simply the difference of the actual monthly temperature from the average monthly temperature.  So this chart fits with the fact that the Earth’s temperature anomaly for the year 2011 is +0.16 °C.

This is where the warmists leave the issue.  This is where I get started.

I like to look at the actual temperature and the average temperature along with the temperature anomaly.  When I chart all of them together, here is what 2011 looks like.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Purple) Temperature Anomaly, (Green) Average Temperature, (Brown) Actual Temperature

The average temperature for the months Jan-Oct for the planet Earth is 14.12 °C.  The actual measured temperature of the Earth for that same period of time was 14.28 °C.  I also show the anomaly scale in this chart using the same scale as the actual temperature of the Earth.  Suddenly, the anomaly looks much less significant.  It is also interesting to note the behavior of the Earth.

The month of September had an average global temperature of 15.3 °C.  The month of October had a global average temperature of 14.1 °C.  The average temperature of the entire Earth dropped 1.2 °C in single month.  That is a LARGER drop in temperature than normally happens from September to October.  Normally the Earth only drops 1.0 °C in those two months.  So the Earth is cooling down FASTER than normal this fall.  Such variation is normal, but it is interesting what information gets missed when only the temperature anomaly is used to understand the Earth.

Of course there is still even more information that needs to be understood about the Earth.  Each hemisphere is behaving independently from the other as each one has a different relationship with the Sun.  Here is actual temperature for the year for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Green) Northern Hemisphere, (Blue) Southern Hemisphere, (Black) Global Temperature

So even though each hemisphere is equal in size, they each have a different impact on the global temperature.  The Northern Hemisphere (NH) has a larger impact on the Earth’s temperature than the Southern Hemisphere.  So even though the Southern Hemisphere (SH) is warming up now, the NH is cooling down faster than the SH is warming up.  That causes the average temperature of the Earth to drop.  In fact, the NH average temperature dropped from 19.3 °C to 16.2 °C from September to October.  That is a more than a 3 °C temperature drop in a single month.

None of this information shows up in the temperature anomaly.  Some of you may not think this matters, but it makes an enormous difference.  The Earth itself behaves differently at different actual temperatures.  Only by understanding the behavior of the Earth at each temperature is it possible to predict how the Earth’s climate will behave.  Temperature anomaly makes it impossible to understand how the Earth behaves.  That climate scientists focus on temperature anomaly is perhaps the greatest reason that they are wrong about global warming.  That most skeptics care about temperature anomaly is a great victory on the part of the warmists that believe in global warming.

Posted in Anomaly and Skeptic by inconvenientskeptic on November 16th, 2011 at 1:49 am.


This post has 9 comments

  1. Richard Nov 16th 2011

    As you have observed in your book (and above) the Northern Hemisphere has a wider range of temperatures than the Southern. Do you have any data on a finer graduation of this, say N/S Tropics, N/S Temperate and N/S Polar? The obvious assumption is that the land/water ratio is what is driving this but does the data show that the temperature ranges follow that distribution when plotted N/S?

    I would love to see data presented as a cross section of the Earth summed for each degree of Latitude from South Pole to North Pole with Mix/Max/Median of the values for Temperature, Land Height, Sea Depth for both current and (somehow) historical data.

  2. Richard Nov 16th 2011

    Sorry, … and Land/Water ratio (missed that 🙂

  3. inconvenientskeptic Nov 16th 2011


    When the teacher realized my daughter brought a book and was well prepared, he decided that the debate would be one sided and she was not allowed to participate.

    I would like to say I am surprised, but that is all to typical a response.

  4. Algormless Nov 17th 2011

    OMG mrs ics, that is a disgrace. Typical warmist mentality, “stuff everyone and everything here and now (even children), I have master plans to save the future world”!

  5. LOL – “she was not allowed to participate” because she was too prepared?

    I’m guessing this is a public school? We have reached a very sad state in our culture.

  6. It is great that you point out the importance of actual temperature vs anomalies. Warmists are contantly argueing that life cannot adapt when it is clear that they can adapt quite easly given the rapid changes in temperature in the course of a year.

    It is sad when a educator promotes a “debate” thinking there would be a straw man for one side and decides to cancel when they find out the opposition is well prepared. This is typical of educators who bring in a political agenda to the classroom. Bravo for your daughter to have the gumption to take on an unpopular stand.

  7. Daughter Nov 17th 2011

    Hi! Its the daughter here… ya, the teacher decided to show a video promoting the skeptic side instead, and the video stated that global warming is 100% real except for the fact that CO2 did not play such a large role as everybody made it out to. So, of course I mentioned this to my dad, so he offered to come in and talk about global warming. I told the said teacher this, and I quote “Well, I’m sure that he would love to come in, but its my classroom…so NO!” I was shocked…. not really…

  8. Eric Anderson Nov 19th 2011

    If the teacher said he was going to allow a debate and then changed it at the last minute to be a one-sided presentation without debate, that is a disgrace. I know it is always a tough call knowing how much to stir the pot (given that the teacher controls to a significant extent your daughter’s grade), but if this is what happened, I would think a strongly worded letter to the principal and/or district administrators would be appropriate. Better yet, a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, with names and specifics.

  9. Hi, “the daughter” –

    I’m curious, what is the name of the video “promoting the skeptic side” that your class was shown?

    I am glad to hear he didn’t show Al Gore’s movie.

    Wish I could reassure you that the teacher’s you’ll have over the next few years will be more open minded, but it sounds like you already know that won’t be true.

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