9th Hottest Year?


Over the past week I have seen news articles all over the place that 2011 was the 9th hottest year ever recorded.  Not only that, but 9 of the 10 hottest years are since the year 2000.  The NASA news release (GISS) is the main source for this statement, but it has been everywhere.  Press releases like this are really good examples of irrelevant arguments, while being misleading at the same time.

Here is the associated chart with the press release:

GISS Temperature

I have been discussing the problems with only showing the temperature anomaly recently and nothing has changed.  Most of the warming that has taken place on this chart has taken place since 1980.  This is convenient to me since the satellite data is available since 1979 and since there seems to be continuous revisions upwards in the station data, I am going to focus on the satellite data to discuss 2011.

I will start by showing the Earth’s temperature for the past 32 years.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

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

I am using the same scale for the anomaly as I am for the global temperature.  Each year the Earth’s temperature has it’s minimum in January and it’s maximum in July.  That temperature range is from ~12 °C to ~16 °C for a yearly temperature swing of ~4 °C.  This puts the temperature of the Earth for 2011 at 14.01 °C which is 0.15 °C above the 13.86 °C yearly average.  That 0.15 °C is an entire 4% of the annual temperature variation.

Of course according to the satellite data, 2011 was the 4th coldest of the past 14 years, which means that there are 10 years that were warmer in the past 14 years.  Right away that makes the 9th hottest year claim look a little weak, but details like that aside, I would like to put some greater context to the current warmth of the Earth right now.

I will switch to the GRIP (Greenland Ice Core Project).  Using that I will gladly concede that the past 100 years is the hottest period of the past 1,000 years.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Green) Greenland Ice Core Temperature Reconstruction, (Black) 1,000 year average temperature

This is using a 15 point average to smooth out the data.  Even with this I will gladly concede that the past 100 years is the warmest of the past 1,000.

So the Earth is in the warmest decade of the warmest century of the past 1,000 years.  I consider that to be essentially correct, but nor am I concerned with that fact.  The reason for this is simple, the past 1,000 years happens to have been the coldest period of the past 8,000 years.  So we are in the warmest part of the past 1,000 years, which is the coldest overall period of the past 8,000 years.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Green) Greenland Ice Core Temperature Reconstruction, (Black) 1,000 year average temperature

Greenland has been experiencing warmer climate for most of the past 8,000 years.  In fact, the peak temperature that we are experiencing now is closer to the average 1,000 year period from only a few thousand years ago.  Mostly the ice core shows that for the most part, the Earth is experiencing more cold climate now, than it has in a very long time.

The warmists really dislike the climate from the past 10,000 years because the Earth was warmer, but the CO2 was significantly lower than it has been recently.  My only comment is that we should enjoy the warm weather now before the climate swings cold again.

Posted in Climate and Fear and Misinformation by inconvenientskeptic on January 22nd, 2012 at 9:54 pm.

12 comments

This post has 12 comments

  1. Richard Jan 23rd 2012

    I’ve been thinking about this area (pardon the pun) for a while.

    I think that any discussion about global phenonema needs to rapidly be partitioned into four, quite different quadrents given the geographic layout of this Earth :-). These are 0 to180 degrees North to South and 180 degrees East to West. If two of these quadrents are alligned on the Pacific to best fit the geography then the other two are what is left.

    These 4 quadrents have sufficiently different geographical characterictics externally whilst being comparitavely consistent but varied internally.

    It is likely that any change, from whatever source, will distribute that change into different outcomes in each of these quadrent.

    For instance, there can be made a good arguement that the Northern Pacific ice cover figure is much more likely to easily show long term trends for the Northern Hemisphere than the corresponding North Atlantic ice cover figure, as it has a much lower volaility, i.e. less noise.

    Of course an arguement can also be made for any more detailed sub division can also be made, but then the global picture quickly becomes too fragmented and lost.

  2. inconvenientskeptic Jan 23rd 2012

    I suspect that each hemisphere is the only breakdown that is needed. Each one will have it’s own trend over time.

    Most anomaly that we observe is weather that is shifted from one place to another, but within the same hemisphere.

  3. Only Hansen’s adjustments make it warmer than the 1930s.

    http://www.real-science.com/cooling-nuuk

    http://www.real-science.com/science

    GISS is fiction.

  4. inconvenientskeptic Jan 23rd 2012

    Bruce,

    Even if I assume that GISS is reasonable, it doesn’t matter. The scale of GISS is tiny in comparison. It simply doesn’t matter.

  5. Richard Jan 24th 2012

    If you break down the global figues into each hemisphere then it becomes obvious that North and South follow very different behaviors. One is going up whilst the other is going down (at least for short times).

    See http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A3.lrg.gif which is a hemisphere version of your graph in the post above.

    This shows a least some degree of interaction or at least difference in behavior between the two parts.

    I think that if this is divided into two further sub-sections that three out of four will show one type of behavior, and one will show another. This is becuse, if further selected into quadrants (or whatever one quarter of a sphere is called), then a larger portion of the land falls into just one quadrant. North – West. This is not unreasonable given that ocean is 70% of the surface and each quadrant is 25%.

    Now phenomena that are ‘global’ should have defined outcomes that relate more to how they impact the geographical layout of the planet and, in particulat the land/ocean distribution.

    It also so happens that this sub-division also then becomes more similar internally . Land to the West and East of large oceans show higher temperatures on the East side than the West due to well understood factors. Only one of each of these pairs falls into each quadrant. This should allow common factors to be more visible and accounted for.

  6. Richard Jan 25th 2012

    The other thing of note I believe is that everybody seems to concentrating of the amplitude of the signals (with min and max what is comtemplated) and completely ignoring the phase of the signal.

    Thus the range (the value between min and max) is often discarded, as well as the importance of the central crossing points and where they and the min and max are in time during any cycle.

    It is like listening to a radio signal with AM and FM components only on an AM radio.

  7. The warmists really dislike the climate from the past 10,000 years because the Earth was warmer, but the CO2 was significantly lower than it has been recently.

    If NASA dislikes the climate from the past then why do they study it so much?

    The NASA news release (GISS) is the main source for this statement, but it has been everywhere. Press releases like this are really good examples of irrelevant arguments…

    NASA is misleading people? How shocking.
    Are there any scientific communities on the planet that disagree with NASA’s conclusions or is it just no-name blogs on the internet and some escapees from the nursing home?
    Write that scientific paper. Overturn the scientific consensus. Claim that Nobel Prize. Fame and fortune await you.
    All else is bluster and empty talk.
    Less talky-talky and more worky-worky.

    NASA: Climate Change; A Warming World (HD)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u68E3SubjFY

  8. inconvenientskeptic Jan 29th 2012

    Cedric,

    Like most topics there are plenty of scientific papers that support both sides of the argument and global warming is no exception.

    I have covered the back and forth on several of the topics that I find interesting.

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/12/more-bad-science-with-antarctica/

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/05/major-blow-to-the-idea-that-co2-played-a-role-in-global-cooling/

    The push that the climate now is unusual in any way is simply false. I do research and develop new technologies on a regular basis. Papers are the product of university research. Private research doesn’t create papers, but makes new technology.

    The Earth is right where it should be for this stage of the climate cycle.

  9. Like most topics there are plenty of scientific papers that support both sides of the argument and global warming is no exception.

    No, there are not.
    The overwhelming preponderance of evidence and the scientific peer-reviewed literature that clearly documents it is clearly lop-sided.
    That’s verifiable. That’s a simple statement of fact.
    It’s something that you can count for yourself.
    Pick up any copy of Nature.
    Pick up any copy of Science.

    The same can be said for the climatologist community and all the scientific communities at large.

    Global warming is happening.
    We are altering our own atmosphere. CO2 works the way scientists are saying it works.

    The push that the climate now is unusual in any way is simply false.

    Not according to NASA. Not according the the American Chemical Society. Not according to NOAA. Not according to the American Physical Society. Not according to the NAS. Not according to the AAAS. Not according to the Royal Society. Not according to all the scientific communities on the planet.

    I do research and develop new technologies on a regular basis.

    So does NASA.
    (shrug)
    To me you are a guy with a blog who’s trying to sell a book.
    Only the work counts. Not empty assurances that you do the work. The work has to be shown to exist.
    Not to me.
    You must, as a scientist, show it to the scientific community where it counts.

    Papers are the product of university research. Private research doesn’t create papers, but makes new technology.

    This magically stops you from entering the scientific arena and writing a paper and claiming your Nobel Prize exactly….how?
    Excuses will get you nowhere.

    You must submit you science to your peers.
    Not to the ignorant public at large.
    Books, memos, videos, letters to the editor and scrawls on toilet walls are worthless.

    If you really have something worthwhile then publish.
    NOW!
    Whip out a paper and submit it to the science journal Nature.

    6. Evolution vs. Creationism:Experts vs. Scientists-Peer Review
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X50lH-XxHI

  10. inconvenientskeptic Jan 30th 2012

    Cedric,

    No science is worth anything without independent replication of results.

    That is what I have done is try to replicate the results of the theory that CO2 causes warming…

    Guess what. It doesn’t. All the papers in the world mean nothing if independent scientists cannot replicate the results.

    I know where the errors are and I have highlighted them in a variety of ways. CO2 does not cause warming, it is a proxy for ocean temperatures. If you have science to discuss, feel free.

    Going creation vs. evolution or smoking/cancer will not score points here. Science will. So please point out something in the science without resorting to boring talking points that mean nothing. So far you have contributed nothing to knowledge, just re-hashed tired, old arguments.

    Where is the science wrong in this article? Is my data invalid? Is my analysis flawed? Go into the science and contribute. Try to prove the article wrong with actual science. That is what this website is about.

  11. inconvenientskeptic Jan 30th 2012

    FYI: Cedric continues to discuss off-topic commentary that is not related to this post and his latest comment has not bee approved as a result. If he posts on topic to this I will approve later comments.

    This post is about the temperature of 2011 relative to the past 130 and and past several thousand years. All of this data is scientifically accepted. I welcome any discussion that is related to this post. I very much enjoy scientific debate, but discussion needs to stay somewhat related to the topic at hand.

  12. The claim “9 of the 10 hottest years are since the year 2000” is a classic straw man when the hypothesis is “that CO2 levels are the main driver of climate.” I believe it is being trotted out when the lack of warming for 15 years is used to disprove the hypothesis. From my experience, people using straw men are generally hiding something.

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