2012 Global Temperature Update


Hot weather has been much in the news of late.  This is especially true in the United States where there have been some real scorchers in the past month.  Needless to say that when the temperature is high, so is the news about global warming.  I will be the first to admit that there has been less of it than I expected, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been an avalanche of news about how this summer is what global warming looks like.

Previous studies have shown that people are more prone to news about global warming when the temperature is elevated.  It is easy to see how what people are experiencing influences their behavior, by simply going to Google Trends.  It is easy to see the frequency of searches and how strongly they correlate to the summer months in the United States.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

When it is Summer, people search about hot weather.

So the real question is, how hot is 2012 in comparison.  I will admit that I am bored with the whole temperature anomaly issue.  It is really an argument about a variation that is so tiny and insignificant that it is a waste of time, but it is what people talk about, so I will continue to do so when it is needed.

In the last article someone noted one of the more common news themes is that 2012 had the 2nd warmest May in history (in this case history is ~120 years) and the United States experienced it’s warmest March-May ever in that same period of time.  What is clear is that there has been nothing abnormal for the first half of 2012 for the global temperature.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

(Blue) UAH, (Green), RSS Temperature Anomaly. (Brown) is the average 2012 average for the two versions.

The data speaks for itself.  For the RSS data the first half of 2012 is the 12th warmest year, since 1979.  For the UAH 2012 is the 9th warmest half of a year since 1979.  Those are not significant rankings in warmth.  However it does appear that the ENSO phase is going to switch to the warm phase so the later part of 2012 is likely to be warm, but really the warm weather this year has been local to the United States.

The analysis for the United States is quite different.  Much like Russia experienced a significant heat wave a couple of years ago that was a localized weather event, the United States is experiencing something like that this year.  There is a significant difference between local and global events and this years temperature is a good example of this.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Continental United States Temperature anomaly for Jan-June of 2012.

In this case it is clear that the United States is experiencing an abnormally warm year.  Few would argue otherwise, but the story is difference globally.  It is interesting that it was two years after the powerful El Nino that the US experienced is other very warm year and once again it is two years after a powerful El Nino that it is once again very warm.  The oceans drive local weather and how the switching of the ENSO influences weather is complicated.

What is interesting is that the NOAA May report that is being used to say how warm the Earth is globally acknowledges that it was only the United States that was experiencing abnormally warm conditions while Australia was experiencing colder than average weather.  That is how weather works.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

From the NOAA site. United States warm, Australia cold.

Somehow I suspect the talk about global warming is less enthusiastic down under at the moment.  The data simply does not support that statement that the Earth has been any different this year than it has in any of the past 15 years.  Local events don’t cut it and that is all that is going on in 2012.

Finally the warmest May according to the satellite data is 1998 when May logged a 0.66 °C anomaly.  May of this year was 0.3 °C.

Posted in Anomaly by inconvenientskeptic on July 17th, 2012 at 3:03 am.

5 comments

This post has 5 comments

  1. Werner Brozek Jul 18th 2012

    2012 in Perspective so far on Five Data Sets

    2012 started off rather cold but has warmed up since then. So the present rank is not the most meaningful number. Therefore I will also give what the ranking would be assuming the latest month’s anomaly will continue for the rest of the year. I will also indicate what is required for the rest of the year in each case to set a new record.

    Note the bolded numbers for each data set where the lower bolded number is the highest anomaly recorded so far in 2012 and the higher one is the all time record so far. There is no comparison.

    With the UAH anomaly for June at 0.369, the average for the first six months of the year is (-0.089 -0.111 + 0.111 + 0.299 + 0.289 + 0.369)/6 = 0.145. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 10th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.153 to rank it 9th for that year. On the other hand, if the rest of the year averaged the June value, which is more likely if the El Nino gets stronger, then 2012 would come in at 0.257 and it would rank 3rd. 1998 was the warmest at 0.428. The highest ever monthly anomalies were in February and April of 1998 when it reached 0.66. In order for a new record to be set in 2012, the average for the last 6 months of the year would need to be 0.71. Since this is above the highest monthly anomaly ever recorded, it is virtually impossible for 2012 to set a new record.

    With the GISS anomaly for June at 0.56, the average for the first six months of the year is (0.34 + 0.41 + 0.47 + 0.56 + 0.64 + 0.56)/6 = 0.497. This is about the same as in 2011 when it was 0.514 and ranked 9th for that year. 2010 was the warmest at 0.63. The highest ever monthly anomalies were in March of 2002 and January of 2007 when it reached 0.88. If the June anomaly continued for the rest of the year, 2012 would end up 9th. In order for a new record to be set in 2012, the average for the last 6 months of the year would need to be 0.76. Since this is close to the highest monthly anomaly ever recorded, it is virtually impossible for 2012 to set a new record.

    With the Hadcrut3 anomaly for May at 0.474, the average for the first five months of the year is (0.217 + 0.194 + 0.305 + 0.482 + 0.474)/5 = 0.334. This is about the same as the anomaly in 2011 which was at 0.34 to rank it 12th for that year. 1998 was the warmest at 0.548. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in February of 1998 when it reached 0.756. If the May anomaly continued for the rest of the year, 2012 would end up 9th. In order for a new record to be set in 2012, the average for the last 7 months of the year would need to be 0.70. Since this is close to the highest monthly anomaly ever recorded, it is virtually impossible for 2012 to set a new record.

    With the sea surface anomaly for June at 0.351, the average for the first six months of the year is (0.203 + 0.230 + 0.242 + 0.292 + 0.339 + 0.351)/6 = 0.276. This is about the same as in 2011 when it was 0.273 and ranked 12th for that year. 1998 was the warmest at 0.451. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in August of 1998 when it reached 0.555. If the June anomaly continued for the rest of the year, 2012 would end up 10th. In order for a new record to be set in 2012, the average for the last 6 months of the year would need to be 0.63. Since this is above the highest monthly anomaly ever recorded, it is virtually impossible for 2012 to set a new record.

    With the RSS anomaly for June at 0.338, the average for the first six months of the year is (-0.058 -0.121 + 0.074 + 0.333 + 0.233 + 0.338)/6 = 0.133. If the average stayed this way for the rest of the year, its ranking would be 13th. This compares with the anomaly in 2011 at 0.147 to rank it 12th for that year. 1998 was the warmest at 0.55. The highest ever monthly anomaly was in April of 1998 when it reached 0.857. If the June anomaly continued for the rest of the year, 2012 would end up 8th. In order for a new record to be set in 2012, the average for the last 6 months of the year would need to be 0.97. Since this is above the highest monthly anomaly ever recorded, it is virtually impossible for 2012 to set a new record.

    So on all five of the above data sets, for their latest anomaly average, the 2012 average so far is close to that of 2011. If present trends continue, 2012 will be warmer than 2011, but a record is out of reach on all sets.

    On all data sets, the different times for a slope that is flat for all practical purposes range from 10 years and 9 months to 15 years and 7 months. Following is the longest period of time (above 10 years) where each of the data sets is more or less flat. (*For any positive slope, the exponent is no larger than 10^-5, except UAH which is 0.0018436 per year or 0.18/century up to June. So while it is not flat, the slope is not statistically significant either.)

    1. UAH: since October 2001 or 10 years, 9 months (goes to June, but note * above)
    2. GISS: since May 2001 or 11 years, 2 months (goes to June)
    3. Combination of the above 4: since October 2000 or 11 years, 6 months (goes to March) (Hadcrut3 is SLOW!!)
    4. HadCrut3: since January 1997 or 15 years, 3 months (goes to March)
    5. Sea surface temperatures: since January 1997 or 15 years, 6 months (goes to June)
    6. RSS: since December 1996 or 15 years, 7 months (goes to June)
    7. Hadcrut4: since December 2000 or 11 years, 7 months (goes to June using GISS. See below.)

    See the graph below to show it all for #1 to #6.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2001.33/trend/plot/rss/from:1996.9/trend/plot/wti/from:2000.75/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997/trend/plot/uah/from:2001.75/trend

    For #7: Hadcrut4 only goes to December 2010 so what I did was get the slope of GISS from December 2000 to the end of December 2010. Then I got the slope of GISS from December 2000 to the present. The DIFFERENCE in slope was that the slope was 0.0045 lower for the total period. The positive slope for Hadcrut4 was 0.0041 from December 2000. So IF Hadcrut4 were totally up to date, and IF it then were to trend like GISS, I conclude it would show no slope for at least 11 years and 7 months going back to December 2000. (By the way, doing the same thing with Hadcrut3 gives the same end result, but GISS comes out much sooner each month.) See:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000/to/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000.9/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2000/plot/gistemp/from:2000.9/to:2011/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2000.9/trend

  2. inconvenientskeptic Jul 19th 2012

    The one problem with projecting anomaly is that it ignores what is happening with the climate itself.

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/11/2011-global-temperature-and-anomaly/

    From now until December the Earth will cool off by ~4 °C. The anomaly will be determined by how quickly (faster or slower) a particular month is during that cooling period.

    Measuring the anomaly in a highly dynamic system is like measuring the anomaly in a cars speed as it is accelerating to the “cruising” speed. It doesn’t really matter very much and there is always some variation.

    That entire aspect is ignored in typical anomaly discussions.

  3. Werner Brozek Jul 19th 2012

    Thank you! I sort of view my numbers as a ‘half time’ score as well as an indication where the momentum is at the moment. Naturally things can quickly change. However the later it is in the year, the less time there is for any change.
    (P.S. I keep this entry updated with each new number and if possible, I post the latest on both WUWT and Dr. Spencer’s site when each posts the new monthly anomaly.)

  4. Richard111 Jul 21st 2012

    I am currently reading H. H. Lamb’s book, Climate, History and the Modern world.
    He reports a saga from the Landnámabók, a book written about 1125, cataloguing the Norse settlement of Iceland. The story is of one Thorkel Farserk, a cousin of Erik the Red, founder of a colony in Greenland over the period 985AD to 1000AD. This Thorkel Farserk SWAM TWO MILES across the Hvalseyjarfjord to the island of Hvalsey to fetch a full-grown sheep to entertain his cousin!
    To have survived that epic swim in those waters the sea temperature must have been at least 10C as determined by studies of present day channel swimmers. Current temperatures of these Greenland waters are about 6C even in August.
    As a side note; I was a member of my school swimming team back in the early 50s. We were expected to turn up every school day, before school started, for training in the tidal swimming pool at St. Helier, Jersey, CI. Failure to attend resulted in banishment. We were excused training only if and when the pool temperature fell BELOW 10C. Now I understand! 🙂
    p.s. those years would be from 1952 to 1956.

  5. inconvenientskeptic Jul 21st 2012

    The greatest problem with the theory of global warming is that there is no natural variation in the Earth’s temperature.

    There is no doubt that the Earth is warmer now than it was 200 years ago, but it has been much warmer than it is now for most of the past 10,000 years. The theory of global warming ignores the past so it can focus only on the past 150 years.

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