« Previous | Main | Next »

July global temperatures show further rise

Paul Hudson | 17:26 UK time, Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The latest global temperature for July, according to the UAH satellite measure, has shown a further rise from June, and now stands at 0.372C above the running 30 year mean.

Adjusted to the more standard time period used by the Met Office and the WMO, the anomaly is now approximately +0.625C above the 1961-1990 average, continuing its sharp rebound from around the turn of the year.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    2 blogs in one day Paul. Steady on lad. It's much worse than we thought.

    When are you going to do a blog to explain that temperature cannot be averaged? That would be a good start in injecting some science into the matter. And then we can move on to temperature is not the same as heat and that the amount of heat energy in the earth system may be of interest but at the present time no-one has the foggiest about where the heat energy is or isn't and meanwhile fuel poverty threatens the vulnerable. Plenty to go at there Paul.

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 2.

    I notice that most of the rise in the global anomaly is due to the Southern Hemisphere, with the NH actually showing a decline.
    This seems to tie in with some above normal temperatures in the antarctic region, during July, which may not be picked up by other series such as HadCRUT3, so that would suggest that the others may not show such a large rise this month.
    Based on the AQUA CH5 temperature, the UAH anomaly should have been around 0.28c, but UAH has tended to be about 0.1c above the theoretical figure for the last couple of months.
    RSS doesn't seem to suffer from this quirk and I am expecting a global RSS figure of around 0.37c for July.
    I should be able to estimate the HadCRUT3 figure, using the same method as June, within the next few days.

  • Comment number 3.

    Once again to ensure that our forcasts remain on record I post our predictions made for 2011 at the start of the year


    Met Office +0.44
    SmokingDeepThroat +0.39
    quake +0.36
    ukpahonta +0.35
    Gadgetfriend +0.30
    NeilHamp +0.27
    QuaesoVeritas +0.25 (revised)
    millinia +0.24
    Joe Bastardi +0.2
    Ken Sharples +0.18
    LabMunkey +0.18
    nibor25 +0.15

    The above figures are based upon HadCRUT3
    The June HadCRUT3 figure was +0.426
    As QV told us last month ".... the running mean for 2011 goes up from 0.302c to 0.323c and the 12 month average goes down from 0.385c to 0.375c.."
    QV will soon issue his HadCRUT3 estimate. We will have to wait till month end for their calculated figure

    Quake and Smokingdeepthroat might be a tad high

    I based my own estimate on Joe Bastardi's thinking.
    Looks like he was also wrong on the Arctic Sea Ice extent for this September

  • Comment number 4.

    Neil- sorry to be a bore, but i'd asked for mine to be revise up to .25 (in line with QV). I did it in a very confusing way mind!

    @ 2 QV.

    That highlights one of the bigger issues when relying on these kind of data sets. Though, i'll be very interested to see how the rest of the year pans out- we could literally see anything ranging from a modest rise, to stagnation, to a fall (to state the wildly obvious).

    Too soon to call i reckon.

  • Comment number 5.

    2011 was the third warmest July in UAH's 33 year record, and bumps the long term anomaly for that month up from +1.3C to +1.4C per century.

    Jan-Jul 2011 is now inside the top ten warmest 'years-to-date' in the UAH record. This despite the natural cooling influence of the negative ENSO phase, which persisted until mid May across the eastern Pacific.

    While the NH was cooler than in June, it was still +0.34C above the 1981-2010 average, and warming at a rate of +2.0C per century. SH was +0.4C above the 1981-2010 average in July, but its long term warming trend, at +0.7C per century, is a good deal slower than that of the NH.

    Arctic sea ice extent is decreasing at a slightly slower rate than it was ealier this summer but remains at near record low extent for the time of year. Antarctic sea ice extent is also below average at present.

    There does not appear to be any sign of 'global cooling' - yet.

  • Comment number 6.

    #3. - NeilHamp wrote:
    "As QV told us last month ".... the running mean for 2011 goes up from 0.302c to 0.323c and the 12 month average goes down from 0.385c to 0.375c..""
    Neil, the figure to watch is actually the MO running mean of 0.306c, which uses the same method as their annual figure, not the simple average of the months. Of course, the simple average is the method used by the CRU to calculate the annual figure. At the moment the simple average is higher than the MO figure but that isn't always the case and by the end of the year it could be the other way round.

  • Comment number 7.

    #5. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "2011 was the third warmest July in UAH's 33 year record, and bumps the long term anomaly for that month up from +1.3C to +1.4C per century. "
    That may be correct for UAH, but at the moment UAH seems to be relatively high, compared to the othes. Of course, it may be that UAH is the only one which is correct, but for whatever reason, it does seem to exaggerate the extremes.


  • Comment number 8.

    0.37C is still below the error band. It is a computer generated figure and has no real meaning. I might add--So What.

    My daughter lives in central Spain and suffered a cold wet spring/early summer. Temperatures 10-15C below 'normal'

    German data shows a steady cooling in Gemany for the past 4 years.

  • Comment number 9.

    #8. - John Marshall wrote:
    "0.37C is still below the error band. It is a computer generated figure and has no real meaning. I might add--So What."
    I'm not sure what error band you are referring to.
    What do you mean by "computer generated"?


  • Comment number 10.

    Newdwr54
    "There does not appear to be any sign of 'global cooling' - yet."
    Not sure if there is much sign of warming either, although I'd agree that the bounce back from la nina has been rapid.
    Earlier in the year, there was some fuss about Phil Jones and how he had been reported to say there had been no statistically significant warming for 15 years. The 2010 year results apparently made the difference and he was able to state that warming was now statistically significant (16 years).
    Question - any idea what temp for year end 2011 might reverse his latest statement?

  • Comment number 11.

    "...it may be that UAH is the only one which is correct, but for whatever reason, it does seem to exaggerate the extremes"

    Hard to know what to make of Spencer to be honest. UAH is publically funded, as far as I know, so he can't mess around with the figures too much (not suggesting that he would, even if he could).

    But we all know his 'sceptical' stance; so I very much doubt that he would be tempted to manipulate figures upward, even if he were able to do so.

    Spencer has been adamant in the past that UAH is a more accurate data set than RSS. Then again, I suppose he would say that, wouldn't he?

  • Comment number 12.

    10. lateintheday:

    Yes, I read a comment by Richard Black of the BBC quoting Jones as stating that 2010 returned the 15 year data set to +95% significance. To be honest, I tried a few variations on that and did not find that there was a +95% statistical significance in the global HadCRUT3 data set.

    I did find a +95% significance with HadCRUT3 northern hemisphere data over 15 years; but that's not 'global'. I suspect that Jones, or more likely Black, has been a little 'economical with the truth' here. I stand to be corrected. Perhaps QV can give some direction on this one?

    My personal view is that it is slightly irrelevant. The HadCRUT3 global data set has seen frequent periods of 15-20 years and more of statistically insignificant temperatures, despite an overall statistically significant warming trend.

  • Comment number 13.

    #12. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Yes, I read a comment by Richard Black of the BBC quoting Jones as stating that 2010 returned the 15 year data set to +95% significance. To be honest, I tried a few variations on that and did not find that there was a +95% statistical significance in the global HadCRUT3 data set.
    I did find a +95% significance with HadCRUT3 northern hemisphere data over 15 years; but that's not 'global'. I suspect that Jones, or more likely Black, has been a little 'economical with the truth' here. I stand to be corrected. Perhaps QV can give some direction on this one?"

    I'm sorry, I can't really help on this one. I did find this article on the Blackboard site, which does seem to support your findings.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/statistical-significance-since-1995-not-with-hadcrut/

    I tend to agree with you that whether there is significant warming or cooling over a particular period of time is largely irrelevant.

    I must brush up on my statistics.

  • Comment number 14.

    QV says "I tend to agree with you that whether there is significant warming or cooling over a particular period of time is largely irrelevant."

    Take another step QV and you will see that the whole surface temperature record is irrelevant. Temperature is not heat energy. Changes in the surface temperature record do not tell you if the earth system is warming or cooling. The vast majority of the heaat energy is stored in the oceans. If the oceans give up some of that heat enrgy to the atmosphere it will appear from the surface temperature record that the earth is warming but given that the heat energy then has nowhere to go but to space the earth could actually be cooling. And vice versa of course. Discussions about surface temprature may hold a fascination for many people but really the only point of constructing the surface temperature record was so that politicians could beat us up with green taxes.

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 15.

    #14. - Spanglerboy wrote:
    "Discussions about surface temprature may hold a fascination for many people but really the only point of constructing the surface temperature record was so that politicians could beat us up with green taxes."
    I agree with you to an extent, but as long as the "climate change" industry uses surface temperatures, it is necessary to work with them, especially if the predictions of them turn out to be incorrect.
    I don't agree with your conspiracy theory, since many of the surface temperature records go back long before "climate change" was thought of. They may be being misused now, but they were created for meteorological reasons.


  • Comment number 16.

    QV I am not suggesting any conspiracy here. As you say temperature records were created for meteorological reasons - or weather as we call it round here. As weather data it is innocuous. It becomes dangerous when it gets into the hands of those with an agenda. I don't think that amounts to a conspiracy theory. People are pragmatic. They use whatever tools are lying around even if they are not fit for purpose. And that is the point. The surface temperature record is not fit for purpose.

    Science needs to be reinstated. The surface temperature record is more about politics than science. That is why I won't play the game.

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.

    The Roy Spencer paper made it into the Mail Online, but I don't know if it ever
    got into the actual Daily Mail:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2020427/Climate-change-far-alarmists-predict-says-NASA-scientist.html

  • Comment number 19.

    As I said in the sea ice post - called way too early...

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  • Comment number 20.

    millennia - yup! but now you're doing the same.
    I'd like JB to to be right on his calls for sea ice and GAT this year but let's not jump the gun. At the moment it still looks possible but very unlikely.

  • Comment number 21.

    The cumulative AQUA CH5 anomaly for July ended up at +0.244c, which based on 2003-2010, should have produced a UAH anomaly of about 0.28c, but as we know, it was actually 0.37c.
    However, the CH5 anomaly actually peaked around July 8th, when absolutete temperatures were challenging those of 2010 and since then they have fallen fairly consistently, so that by the end of July, they were nearly 0.2c below those of 2010 and at the moment they are somewhere between 2010 and the 2002-2010 average.
    For the last 5 days, the average CH5 anomaly has been 0.192c, equivalent to a UAH anomaly of between 0.215c and 0.315c.
    Otherwise, recent CH5 anomalies have been back down at around the June level, or possibly lower, depending on whether the "excess" anomaly of recent months is maintained.
    Also, the cumulative CH5 anomaly for 2011, which exceeded the 2009 cumulative anomaly for a time during early July, has now fallen behind that year again, which makes it the second coolest year since 2003, at this stage, with only 2008 having a lower cumulative anomaly.

  • Comment number 22.

    @14 spanglerboy:

    Ocean surface temperatures have also been rising at the same time as lower air temperatures. The Arctic Ocean has been warming at a rate of 5.3C per century since 1979.

    There has been no increase in solar output to account for this. In fact solar has on averaged slightly reduced over that time.

    If you are suggesting that this heat is coming from solar energy previously stored in the oceans, i.e. since the mid 20th century, then can you point to a paper that explains this mechanism?

  • Comment number 23.

    According to Bob Tisdale, SSTs and OHC move in opposite directions on short timescales reflecting a energy transmissions from one to to the other - at least, that's what I think he means. As newdwr54 says, SSTs have trended up until around 2000 (flattened since) and so has OHC. Both of these are candidates for having the most significant effect on atmospheric temps as we see regularly through ENSO events.

    Whilst a rising trend in SSTs may be seen by some as evidence of increased back radiation through enhanced greenhouse gas effect, there are those who would say that this trend could be attributed to natural variation, PDO, AMO, etc. What's more, one might assume that there would be a strong relationship between SST and OHC trends since theoretically, the energy is stored is the deeper water.

    The physics are far from clear. Some argue that the specific wavelengths of back radiation (theory) would be unable to penetrate beyond the ocean skin layer. If this is the case, then what caused the rising OHC trend?
    I can only see one likely culprit - the sun. As newdwr54 likes to point out, solar activity reduced slightly from mid century. What I like to point out is that this mid century high was exceptional, and that solar activity did not suddenly return to 'normal' if there is such a thing. Cycle activity remained at historically high levels when compared to 17th - 19thC.

  • Comment number 24.

    Appologies to labmonkey for not including your revision

    Met Office +0.44
    SmokingDeepThroat +0.39
    quake +0.36
    ukpahonta +0.35
    Gadgetfriend +0.30
    NeilHamp +0.27
    LabMunkey +0.25 (revised)
    QuaesoVeritas +0.25 (revised)
    millinia +0.24
    Joe Bastardi +0.2
    Ken Sharples +0.18
    nibor25 +0.15

    QV If +0.306 is the one to watch it looks like 2011 is heading for +0.36 by year end
    If so quake is spot on

  • Comment number 25.

    #24. - NeilHamp wrote:
    "QV If +0.306 is the one to watch it looks like 2011 is heading for +0.36 by year end
    If so quake is spot on"
    I'm not sure how you have worked out that estimate, but as I said earlier, I wouldn't assume that the "official" MO figure will necessarily be lower than the simple average. Between 1986 and 2009, the CRU simple average tended to be above the MO figure, but last year, the MO figure was higher.
    I don't want to make more work for you, but if there are to be revisions to the predictions, should the original prediction and the date of the revisions not be noted?
    Personally, I think it might be better to stick with the orginal predictions and I wouldn't mind going back to my first figure, which I believe was 0.31c :)

  • Comment number 26.

    Site officials, fellow posters, I have just tried to post a response which ran to a few hundred words. The system failed. It fails every time I try to post anything of any length. Sorry but life is too short. Can the last one out please switch off the lights.

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 27.

    Spanglerboy,
    Unfortunately this seems to be a "feature" of this blog, but it could be worse, I think that the Richard Black blogs only allow 250 characters, but at least it tells you when you are over the limit.
    I think the warning sign is if you can't display a preview.
    Unfortunately this means that you need to always keep a copy of what you intend to post and it is often necessary to split your post into sections, if it is particularly long.
    I suppose it makes sense to restrict the size of posts, but some advice on the actual limit would be useful.

  • Comment number 28.

    23. At 11:53 4th Aug 2011, lateintheday wrote

    "Whilst a rising trend in SSTs may be seen by some as evidence of increased back radiation through enhanced greenhouse gas effect, there are those who would say that this trend could be attributed to natural variation, PDO, AMO, etc."

    But the 'O' in both PDO and AMO stands for 'oscillation'. An oscillation cannot add heat energy to a system.

    The PDO is a 'decadal' oscillation; how can a decadal oscillation introduce heat from the mid-20th century? At most it could only add heat stored from a decade or so previous.

    I'm sorry, but this just does not make sense.

  • Comment number 29.

    thanks for responding newdwr54
    My post was a result of reading various different accounts of how ocean and atmosphere may interact and is more exploratory in nature than usual. I'll admit that I'm struggling to get a grip on this.
    The PDO can be roughly described as an oscillation with a cycle period of around 70 years, wherein, for half of that period (warm PDO), more energy is released from the oceans into the atmosphere through dominant el ninos. The other half (cold PDO which we are now into) being dominated by la ninas. The predictable effect of this would be generally warmer atmospheric temps for 35 years followed by generally cooler temps for a similar period when smoothed. That much is, I think, not particularly contentious.

    However, whilst related, OHC is not a direct function or resultant feature of the PDO. It could be seen as the baseline around which the PDO oscillates. Therefore, if the OHC is trending upwards so will SSTs and thereby, atmospheric temps. Whereas, if the the OHC trended down, so would the SSTs and atmospheric temps.

    "But the 'O' in both PDO and AMO stands for 'oscillation'. An oscillation cannot add heat energy to a system."

    I'm not sure that this is totally correct - although on the face of it, it does make sense. The reason being that oscillations can create feedbacks in themselves which, in a chaotic system would be hard to track. So for example, a warm PDO and AMO might combine to 'force' ice extent lower which in turn would reduce albedo. This feedback being a result of natural variation. This could only reverse or equilibrate when all natural factors were opposed to the original conditions. Since for this example, the PDO and AMO are not in perfect sync, the opposite original conditions would not necessarily occur consecutively.

    Also, I'd be genuinely interested to know how you think OHC can trend upwards, other than through solar activity.

  • Comment number 30.

    SAN ANTONIO -- Climatologists say the La Nina weather conditions that contributed to the drought affecting most of Texas may re-occur later this year and prolong the misery for the state's farmers and ranchers.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/04/3816862/new-la-nina-watch-issued-worrying.html

  • Comment number 31.

    The UKMO has put out a News Release regarding two "independent" studies, which explain the recent pause in warming of the upper 700m of the oceans.
    It now appears that Climate Model simulations show that such pauses occur regularly as part of natural variability.
    My question is, did these models make this prediction before the pause actually occurred?
    If they had, then presumably we would not have had to wait until now for the explanation.
    How many more pauses can we expect before the end of the century, and what effect will that have on "global warming" predictions?
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/ocean-warming

  • Comment number 32.

    29. lateintheday:

    There is no explanation for OHC other than the amount of solar energy coming into and being re-circulated within the atmosphere, as far as I am aware. Venting from MORs, etc contributes only a negligible amount of heat.

    The oceans are warmed directly at their surface by solar radiation. Additional IR heat from the atmosphere, which also ultimately derives from solar, is entrained in the wind-mixed layer of ocean, mostly at lower latitudes I think, and circulated.

    OHC has increased strongly since the 1970s. Solar output has not increased in that time, but more solar radiation has been coming in than has been re-emitted as IR during that time. This energy discrepancy is not yet fully reflected in surface temperatures. Therefore the only feasible explanation is that most of the 'missing' heat is being stored in the oceans (confirmed by measurements).

    Once the oceans warm up (remember they take longer than the atmosphere to react to changes in heat content), this heat will gradually be released to the atmosphere. Therefore surface warming is bound to increase, even if we stop all human CO2 emissions today.

    The oscillations you refer to are recurring ocean circulation patterns; they do not generate new heat by themselves. They can only transport heat that is already present in them due, ultimately, to solar input.

  • Comment number 33.

    31. QuaesoVeritas:

    The first paper says that the up-welling of warm water that occurs during an El Nino event allows a vast amount of stored heat energy to escape from the oceans directly to space.

    Presumably this is in excess of the amount that is re-radiated by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causing the warming seen in El Nino years.

    If so, then the predicted 'pipeline' warming estimates may need to be revised downwards since, as far as I know, these are modelled on a gradual release of ocean heat content, where most of it is retained in the atmosphere.

    On the downside, the more GHGs in the atmosphere the less heat will escape to space with each passing El Nino.

  • Comment number 34.

    QV - thanks for that. Unfortunately both papers appear to be pay walled so only the very brief outline is readily available. Since I'm unlikely to be able to critically assess these papers myself, there no point in paying for them.

    Interesting that they refer to ENSO as a possible cause of the flattening in OHC. Maybe I'm just thick, but my understanding was that when the PDO went into cold phase, this would (over time) show itself as a reduction or dampener to atmospheric temps since there would be less heat exchange between sea surface and lower atmosphere. This reduction of heat transfer to atmosphere would then (theoretically) trap more heat in the ocean. Therefore OHC should be going up during the cold PDO since this, like la nina, is essentially the oceanic charging phase.

    This is what I'm trying to unravel with my earlier exchange with newdwr54. It seems to me, that a cornerstone of AGW must be that longwave IR back radiation is capable of adding to OHC rather than simply increasing SSTs. The radiative physics are well and truly beyond me, but I've read countless articles/posts from people who purport to understand this, and they generally agree that longwave IR cannot possibly get past the skin layer - the top metre or so.

    If this is the case, then variation in OHC can only be explained by shortwave variations in solar output and/or cloud cover.

  • Comment number 35.

    newdwr54,
    Thanks, I haven't had time to read the actual reports yet.

  • Comment number 36.

    newdwr54
    "The oscillations you refer to are recurring ocean circulation patterns; they do not generate new heat by themselves. They can only transport heat that is already present in them due, ultimately, to solar input."
    Yes - generally agree with this. However, the bit I'm trying to get my head around is that OHC is not a level playing field. If we imagine for one moment that the PDO is sinusoidal (which strictly speaking it isn't), an analogy might be along the lines of a bouncing ball representing the SSTs. Bouncing the ball along a level path (OHC) would see SSTs increasing and decreasing, and over time, there would be no trend.
    However, if the path is sloping upwards, the bouncing ball (SSTs) would be increasing height (above level) for both top and bottom of the bounce. Result, still no trend when compared against the sloping path, but a definite trend when compared against a level path.
    One might presume that the rise in OHC, which ultimately effects SSTs and atmospheric temps though ENSO events is a major climate driver. However, the potential cause of the rise in OHC has not been clearly defined by AGW theory as far as I can see. That is, unless the back radiation (longwave IR) can penetrate beyond the skin layer. As I said earlier - this physics is beyond me.

    That shortwave radiation is believed to penetrate much further into the ocean depths is reason to believe that the OHC is determined largely by the balance between direct solar insolation and whatever physical constraints there are to energy transfers between ocean and atmosphere.

  • Comment number 37.

    A final thought. If the cold PDO is the charging phase, then the lower than originally predicted solar cycle 24 may not be sufficient to re-charge OHC to any great extent. This could show itself by a continued flatlining of OHC and continued high, but not rising atmospheric temps. Successive low solar cycles would be expected to produce a gradual reduction in OHC and thereby, a reduction in atmospheric temps.

  • Comment number 38.

    #34. - lateintheday wrote:
    "QV - thanks for that. Unfortunately both papers appear to be pay walled so only the very brief outline is readily available. Since I'm unlikely to be able to critically assess these papers myself, there no point in paying for them."
    Sorry about that, I hadn't yet attempted to read the papers myself. I have sent an e-mal to the MO complaining that it doesn't appear to be possible to access their paper.
    Sorry, this isn't an area that I have put a lot of thought into, so I haven't really been following your discussions. However, I will try and give it some thought and get back to you, for what it's worth.


  • Comment number 39.

    Thanks to the BBC R4 programme "More or Less", I just learned what the correct term is to describe the fact that the amount of "evidence" to support "climate change" is increasing.
    It's "Confirmation Bias":
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
    However, I am sure that "sceptics" are as guilty of this as "believers".
    Everyone seems to be guilty of a lot of the terms used in the Wiki article too, i.e.
    "attitude polarization" (particularly applicable I think), " belief perseverance", "illusory correlation" and "wishful thinking". In fact, this article seems to have been written specifically to apply to the "climate change" debate.

  • Comment number 40.

    Oops,
    The first paragraph should have read:
    "Thanks to the BBC R4 programme "More or Less", I just learned what the correct term is to describe the fact that the amount of "evidence" to support "climate change" APPEARS TO BE increasing."

  • Comment number 41.

    Further to my #27, I have noticed that if you try to post too soon after another one, your post seems to disappear, whereas in the past, you got a warning message and a count down.

  • Comment number 42.

    Also stumbled across this a few days ago. The Repeatability of Robert Woods 1909 experiment on the theory of greenhouses by Prof Nasil Nahle. Link below to the study.

    www.biocab.org/Experiment_on_Greenhouses__Effect.pdf

    I'd followed the link as someone had posted that this was 'groundbreaking' etc. Took me to the Steve Goddard site which I usually ignore. It was given the full treatment there of course. This is the end of AGW, final nail etc etc. Seems like nobody else has made much of a fuss about it though, so can I assume that it's either total rubbish or in some other way, totally irrelevant?

    Lazarus might want to comment on this in light of his postings a couple of threads ago about lab experiments.

  • Comment number 43.

    QV Confirmation bias
    "However, I am sure that "sceptics" are as guilty of this as "believers"

    I plead guilty as charged. Wish the other side would admit this occasionally.

  • Comment number 44.

    36. lateintheday:

    IR only penetrates the ocean at the very near surface, however this near-surface layer is thoroughly mixed down to 40m and even 200m in places. It is called the 'wind-mixed layer'. This absorbed heat can then be transported over vast distances.

    As I recall it can also become stratified more deeply in the water in some circumstances. So plenty of IR energy from the atmosphere can pass into the ocean (provided the atmosphere is warmer than the ocean at the sea surface).

    When surface air temperatures are higher, more heat can be absorbed by the oceans; i.e. heat that is additional to that which is normally absorbed.

    Where your bouncing ball analogy is useful is in looking at the long term trends in PDO, etc. No one is denying that there is a cyclical pattern of surface temperature rises and falls influenced by ocean cycles (at least I'm not).

    It is, as you say, as though a ball were being bounced along an incline. Here is a HadCRUT3 graph from 1900, smoothed to 5 year averages for clarity: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1900/every:60/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1900/trend:60 The trend line represents the incline, the peaks and troughs represent the bounces. The natural cycles are clearly there - but so is the incline.

  • Comment number 45.

    37. lateintheday:

    If the maths behind AGW theory is correct (such as 3 oC per doubling of CO2), then even a maunder minimum would not be sufficient to avert serious climate warming by 2100. The MM would not have anything like enough impact to slow the warming that is projected by AGW, never mind reverse it.

  • Comment number 46.

    thanks for the mixing/layer explanation newdwr54.
    While I'm still in favour of the solar mechanism for increasing OHC (confirmation bias in tact!) at least I now understand how back radiation might also be a culprit despite the radiative physics/skin layer issue.

  • Comment number 47.

    39. QuaesoVeritas:

    As I'm sure you know, the scientific method exists exactly in order to reduce confirmation bias as far as possible.

    You are right of course that we all tend to be swayed by it to some extent.

    However, if AGW evidence is simply the result of confirmation bias, then it begs the question - why hasn't it been dismantled in the scientific literature during the past two decades?

  • Comment number 48.

    46. lateintheday:

    Just to clarify something: the amount of IR ocean heating is minimal compared to direct solar heating. It's the sheer vastness of the ocean surfaces, especially in very hot regions such as the mid Pacific, that makes it significant over time.

  • Comment number 49.

    #47. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "However, if AGW evidence is simply the result of confirmation bias, then it begs the question - why hasn't it been dismantled in the scientific literature during the past two decades?"
    To be fair, I didn't say that all AGW evidence was the result of confirmation bias, but despite "scientific method", I have seen what I consider to be examples of it in scientific papers. However, I was mainly referring to more informal "evidence" put forward by the supporters of AGW than more formal scientific evidence.

  • Comment number 50.

    There are some comments about the papers in the UKMO news release on Roy Spencer's website:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com

  • Comment number 51.

    New research by Lancaster University suggests that climate forecasts are flawed:
    http://news.lancs.ac.uk/Web/News/Pages/Climate-change-forecasts-flawed-says-new-research.aspx
    Well, I could have told them that!
    Unfortunately not much detail about the actual research.
    This seems important but it hasn't been given much publicity in the media.

  • Comment number 52.

    49. QuaesoVeritas:

    If scientific papers have come to unfounded conclusions then it is the job of other scientists to rebut them in the scientific literature. That's the beauty of it.

    Either anti-AGW scientists are not up to the task, or else there are no serious rebuttals of the main conclusions of AGW theory (yet).

    I agree with you that the 'green brigade' can be very irritating. There are a lot of political hangers on. But scientists need only be concerned with what is true.

    If AGW theory is true, as it increasingly appears (to me) to be; then that's just the way it is.

    As it happens, it doesn't suit me that AGW theory is true. Only this week I travelled 4,000 miles by aircraft. My livelihood mostly depends on air transport. AGW theory is a bummer for me, to be honest.

    But if it's true, then it's true, and no matter how much I wish it wasn't, I am just stuck with the same facts as everybody else.

  • Comment number 53.

    #52 newdwr54,

    It appears that you and I are polar opposites.
    I actually consider myself to be a "green" in most areas, and I should be pre-disposed to agreeing with the AGW lobby, it's just that I don't think that much of the "evidence" put forward to support it, stacks up.
    I don't even disagree with much of the theory, but I think that much of the evidence is suspect and conclusions drawn from it are exaggerated, particularly the reliance on computer models to "prove" the theory.
    I have found that when you examine each individual claim in detail, the conclusions often do not stand up to scrutiny.
    An example is the following research on "extreme rainfall events", which found that such events had become more frequent since the 1990's, compared to the previous 30 years, and concluded that this was evidence of "climate change":
    http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/item/?ref=1157358561
    I agree entirely that such events have increased over the period in question, but that is far too short a period to draw any conclusions. No attempt appears to have been made to look further back, to see if the recent increase is nothing more than short-term variability. My own research using UKMO data suggests that heavy rainfall events were probably just as common during the 1950/60's, 1880's and 1770's.
    In my opinion, the paper in question is a definite example of "confirmation bias", and is only evidence of "climate variability", not "climate change".
    Why no "proper scientists" challenged these findings, I have no idea. Probably because there was no incentive to do so and a reluctance to bring the work of other scientists into disrepute.

  • Comment number 54.

    53. QuaesoVeritas:

    I agree that it seems a bit of a leap to take 50 years of data and come to such far-reaching conclusions.

    My local weather station has accurate records going back to 1973. From then until end 2010 there was a slight increase in summer precipitation and a slightly higher 'decrease' in winter. There has been no statistically significant correlation between rainfall and the passing of time.

    However the temperature trend is +0.17 per decade over that time, and is statistically significant at the +99% confidence level. This despite 2010 being the joint coldest year in the whole set.

    As to what conclusions I can draw from this: just that the temperature change in my local area between 1973 and the present is consistent with AGW theory. It may on the other hand be part of a long term natural local fluctuation, as yet unexplained.

  • Comment number 55.

    #54, newdwr54

    One problem is that there aren't enough data with adequate spatial and/or temporal precision to prove anything one way or another, but that doesn't seem to stop scientists jumping to conclusions, if short-term trends appear to match computer model predictions. In my view they are deluding themselves.
    I see that in this case the findings were part of a presentation held at the UEA Festival of Science. Hardly a critical audience I would have thought. I wish I had been there.

  • Comment number 56.

    QV N54

    interesting exchange. I am with QV on this. I cannot find anything from the CAGW armoury to convince me there is a problem. And everything about the way the story is told trips my BS meter. I only want to hear the science not the BS.

    Strange no-one appears to have mentioned Murry Salby who is suggesting that a basic cornerstone of AGW is not well-founded - namely that increases in atmospheric CO2 are caused by human emissions. As a sceptic I am sceptical but it is making a lot of noise on all the blogs. Anyone interseted go to Bishop Hill or WUWT

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 57.

    It turns out that the "official" UAH figure for July was 0.38c, not 0.372c as quoted on Roy Spencer's website.
    This is equivalent to an anomaly of 0.633c relative to 1961-90, although that is probably not a reliable estimate of the likely HadCRUT3 July figure.
    A more reliable estimate, based on the actual ratio between UAH and HadCRUT3 July figures for 1999-2010, would be about 0.53c, although that isn't my final estimate calculated by the same method as my estimated June figure.
    I am still awaiting some data to make that calculation.
    I should also point out that as a result of the revised July figure, the 10 year linear trend in UAH has actually increased from +0.027c/decade to +0.031c/decade.
    However, I don't see this as other than a temporary reversal in the direction of the trend, which has been generally falling since reaching a peak of about 0.4c/decade in 2002. The latest figure only takes the trend back to roughly where it was in April.

  • Comment number 58.

    I noticed that a "climate change" spin was even put on the recent incident of the Polar Bear attacking the student on Svalbard, by the BBC, with one reporter saying:
    "As Polar Bear habitat's are melting, encounters with humans are getting more common." In reality, this is nothing to do with loss of habitat, but is due to humans increasingly invading the natural habitat of the Polar Bear, and if you do that, what do you expect?
    In fact, the students were camped near the Von Post glacier, about 25 miles away from Longyearbyen and I don't like the way that the bear is being portrayed in the media as being the "villain of the piece", as if it had no right to attack humans who had invaded it's territory.
    Another factor may be that apparently Polar Bear populations may be at an historic high, despite the "threat" of "climate change".
    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/190805/20110802/polar-bear-global-warming-extinction-climate-change-research-world-wide-fund-wwf-geological-survey-s.htm

  • Comment number 59.

    56. Spanglerboy wrote:

    "I cannot find anything from the CAGW armoury to convince me there is a problem."

    It's interesting that you use the term "CAGW", in which the 'C' of course stands for 'catastrophic'. Therein may lie the problem in fact.

    The words 'catastrophe' and 'catastrophic' are not contained anywhere within the IPCC WGI AR4 report. The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which really would be catastrophic, is put at being most likely centuries or millennia in the future - and only *if* we continue to store carbon in the atmosphere in our current cavalier way.

    The 'C' in 'CAGW' appears to be a straw man invention of 'sceptics'.

    The IPCC reports are a lot more tame than their critics make them out to be.

  • Comment number 60.

    57. QuaesoVeritas:

    Exactly the same thing happened last month, when Spencer posted 0.13m on his blog when in fact it was rounded to 0.14.

    Spencer's blog is duplicated as a 'guest post' on WUWT, which I suspect is where it is most widely read. No one on WUWT wants to read about warming. No one there wants to see the actual trend line that runs through UAH's temperature chart - so trend lines are omitted (unless they suit).

    Let's hope Spencer isn't dancing to the WUWT tune.

  • Comment number 61.

    New54 #59

    given that if you type more than x words into this box you can lose them all, one has to keep it brief

    the C stands for 'anything to be worried about'

    smoke me a kipper

  • Comment number 62.

    The 4 main institutions that publish global temperature anomalies

    http://junksciencearchive.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html

    Gisstemp, HadCRUT3 and the 2 satelite anomalies all using different zero time periods. Makes it hard to compare.

  • Comment number 63.

    re: Murry Salby
    One voice, an important one perhaps but still only one voice.
    Much of what he is saying is not new, although it was something of a revelation to me that the various carbon isotopes are not as uniquely 'traceable' as we have been led to believe.
    I don't think the full paper is out yet, but this is one to follow.

    I suppose that from the 'consensus' viewpoint, even if his paper stands up to scrutiny there is an argument that if atmospheric CO2 is increasing from natural causes, we really shouldn't be adding to it. There is absolutely no doubt that by burning fossil fuels, we are putting previously 'stored' carbon, back into circulation.

    Personally, I don't think that's a problem since I believe that CO2 levels are almost irrelevant. I use the word 'believe' since I recognise that I'm unqualified to use the word calculate.

  • Comment number 64.

    62. mjmwhite:

    The temperatures are all (except NCDC) amalgamated monthly by the 'woodfortrees temperature index', here: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/plot/wti/trend

    You can either use that or you can plot the individual data sets and offset them as described on the site to adjust for the different anomaly reference periods.

    It's a very useful and impartial site.

  • Comment number 65.

    63. lateintheday:

    I think Salby's argument is that temperature rise causes atmospheric CO2 increases, and not vice versa? If so, then a temperature rise of 0.8C corresponds to a CO2 increase of about 115 ppm, since that is what has been observed since 1880.

    But if warming temperatures increase atmospheric CO2, then cooling temperatures must reduce it.

    Global temperatures during the last glacial maximum were about 5C cooler than today. Using the above reasoning, the atmospheric CO2 concentration 20,000 years ago would have been considerably less than zero, which is an absurdity.

    I think prof Salby is in for a hard sell when his paper comes out.

  • Comment number 66.

    #62. - mjmwhite wrote:
    "The 4 main institutions that publish global temperature anomalies
    Gisstemp, HadCRUT3 and the 2 satelite anomalies all using different zero time periods. Makes it hard to compare."
    This is true, and I think it confuses many people.
    The way I got around this was to adjust everything to the HadCRUT3 period 1961-90. I do this by finding the mean HadCRUT3 anomaly for base period of the series being compared and adding/subtracting that figure from the other series.
    It is only a rough guide, since even the HadCRUT3 anomaly for 1961-90 isn't zero, and in theory it needs to be adjusted itself.
    Another complication is that UKMO and CRU produced different annual anomalies using the same monthly data.



  • Comment number 67.

    mjmwhite,
    Another complication is that temperature anomaly projections are often relative to different base periods.
    IPCC climate model projections are supposed to be relative to 1980-1999, (i.e. only 20 years), but there is some doubt about that.
    Sometimes (presumably when the aim is to make things sound worse), the change is quoted relative to "pre-industrial" times, which I believe is 1861-1900.
    Often the base period is not clearly stated.
    I suspect that politicians and campaigners often quote anomalies without knowing what period they are relative to.

  • Comment number 68.

    newdwr54 re Salsby

    "I think Salby's argument is that temperature rise causes atmospheric CO2 increases, and not vice versa? If so, then a temperature rise of 0.8C corresponds to a CO2 increase of about 115 ppm, since that is what has been observed since 1880."

    I don't think that's what he's saying at all but we'll have to wait for the paper.

    My understanding is that while there may be variations in atmospheric CO2 levels seasonally and yearly (depending on ENSO and current temps), the trend driver for CO2 is something like an 800 year ocean oscillation. So, rather like our recent bouncing ball/gradient discussion, the CO2 levels overall are governed by this extremely long term ocean response.He's not the first to suggest this.

    Apparently Salsby has a sound background in atmospheric physics so it would be surprising if the paper doesn't stand up to expert criticism - he's well published and should know what's expected.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Global temperatures during the last glacial maximum were about 5C cooler than today. Using the above reasoning, the atmospheric CO2 concentration 20,000 years ago would have been considerably less than zero, which is an absurdity."

    I think you'll find that less than zero would be an impossibility!
    I'll let you off that one since it's the weekend.

  • Comment number 70.

    69. lateintheday:

    Thanks. I was conscious of the weekend myself, so I downgraded 'impossible' to 'absurd'. I'm getting soft.

    I suspect that Salsby's reviewers will be less kind. We shall see soon enough.

  • Comment number 71.

    #9 QV asked about error bands. The UK Met Office quote +/-0.5C to their raw data. Technically speaking any rise/fall quoted within the error band cannot be treated as correct. This quoted rise of 0.41C is calculated by adding all readings and dividing by the total number of readings. This method will produce an average that falls within the error band in most circumstances. In the case above it should be rounded down to 0.0C.

  • Comment number 72.

    #71. - John Marshall

    Thanks for your reply,

    My question was in relation to you comment about the UAH figure of 0.37c, not any UKMO figure, and in any case, the latest HadCRUT3 figure was 0.426c, not 0.410c, which sounds like my "prediction" of the June figure based on the average of NH & SH anomalies.
    I am not sure what the UAH uncertainty range is, but as well as the best estimate anomaly, which is the one normally quoted, the UKMO also quote figures for the upper an lower 95% uncertainty ranges, which in the case of the June anomalies were 0.442c to 0.411c, so even based on these figures, I think we can be reasonably sure that the actual anomaly wasn't 0.0c., and also that temperatures are rising, even taking into account the uncertainties.
    I am not sure if you answered my question about what you meant by "computer generated" figures.

  • Comment number 73.

    John Marshal,

    Sorry, the figures I quoted were based on the 95% uncertainty ranges from the station and grid-box sampling uncertainties.
    However, the figures for the uncertainty ranges from the combined effects of all of the uncertainties are 0.572 and 0.281c, so 0.0c is still very unlikely.
    Clearly, no matter what the uncertainty range, the figure of 0.426c is still the most most likely one.

  • Comment number 74.

    72&73. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "I am not sure what the UAH uncertainty range is..."

    As far as I know error bands in their monthly published data start at the 1/100th mark (0.01). So in July, for instance, UAH is accurate to 0.3-something... (Assuming the 'rounding' rule applies, the actual figure is likely closer to 0.4.)

    I remember Spencer mentioning this in one of his posts, but I can't find a reference to it now.

  • Comment number 75.

    The RSS global anomaly figure for July is 0.328c, compared to the revised June figure of 0.297c (previously 0.277c). Adjusted to 1961-90, this is equivalent to about 0.475c, and is lower than I would have expected based on the AQUA CH5 and UAH anomalies. The NH anomaly is 0.415c, compared to a revised June figure of 0.373c (previously 0.352c), and the SH anomaly is 0.237c, compared to a revised June figure of 0.218c (previously 0.198c). Adjusted to 1961-90, these are equivalent to 0.576c and 0.374c respectively.
    Consequently, unlike UAH, the RSS NH anomaly has shown an increase since last month, and the SH anomaly has increased far less than UAH.
    As a result of the above, the RSS global anomaly 10 year linear trend has gone from -0.0636c/decade to -0.0646c/decade.

  • Comment number 76.

    It also moves 2011 'year-to-date' (Jan-Jul) from 17th to 11th warmest in the RSS database in a single month. Since the ENSO officially entered 'neutral' in mid-May, global temperatures have soared.

    What might be the cause of this? No one knows.

    For completeness, I would also add that the UAH SH anomaly (decadal since 1979) rose from +0.7 to +0.8 as a result of July's data.

    I realise that this means very little to anyone normal, but it means a lot to nerds, such as QV and me.

  • Comment number 77.

    I misspoke myself.

    July places 2011 as 12th warmest year-to-date (ytd) in RSS, not 11th, as I said above.

    Still, up from 17th warmest ytd (Jan-Jun), this is an important update. It brings RSS closer into line with the other global data sets, which all show strong warming since ENSO went neutral in May.


 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.