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RSS AMSU: 2011 second coldest in this century

The RSS AMSU satellite temperatures have been updated repeatedly. Let me just add the new data and refresh the rankings.




The global temperature anomaly in November 2011 was +0.033 °C, so this November was just 0.033 °C warmer than the average November in the last three decades. Here is the total table with average anomalies of the first 11 months of all the years on the RSS AMSU record:

  1. {1998, 0.572},
  2. {2010, 0.499},
  3. {2005, 0.35},
  4. {2002, 0.326},
  5. {2003, 0.313},
  6. {2007, 0.279},
  7. {2001, 0.242},
  8. {2009, 0.228},
  9. {2006, 0.227},
  10. {2004, 0.216},
  11. {1995, 0.178},
  12. {2011, 0.151},
  13. {1991, 0.105},
  14. {1999, 0.101},
  15. {2000, 0.099},
  16. {1983, 0.091},
  17. {1988, 0.087},
  18. {1997, 0.084},
  19. {1987, 0.076},
  20. {1990, 0.063},
  21. {1996, 0.054},
  22. {2008, 0.042},
  23. {1980, 0.024},
  24. {1994, 0.02},
  25. {1981, 0.016},
  26. {1979, -0.108},
  27. {1989, -0.13},
  28. {1993, -0.139},
  29. {1986, -0.15},
  30. {1992, -0.177},
  31. {1982, -0.183},
  32. {1984, -0.211},
  33. {1985, -0.27}
You see that according to the first 11 months, 2011 was the 12th warmest year out of 33 on their record – pretty much in the middle of the pack. In the 21st century (which began in 2001), only 2008 was colder. 2004 was the third coldest year in this century so far and nothing will change about this top-3 ranking.

The overall ranking after 12 months will depend on the anomaly D for December 2011 which will be close to zero but is represented by "D" below. The overall ranking of the years is
  1. {1998, 0.55},
  2. {2010, 0.476},
  3. {2005, 0.334},
  4. {2003, 0.324},
  5. {2002, 0.316},
  6. {2007, 0.261},
  7. {2001, 0.245},
  8. {2006, 0.232},
  9. {2009, 0.226},
  10. {2004, 0.208},
  11. {1995, 0.159},
  12. {2011, 0.138 + D/12},
  13. {1999, 0.103},
  14. {1997, 0.102},
  15. {1987, 0.099},
  16. {2000, 0.091},
  17. {1991, 0.081},
  18. {1990, 0.074},
  19. {1988, 0.066},
  20. {1983, 0.066},
  21. {2008, 0.051},
  22. {1996, 0.047},
  23. {1994, 0.028},
  24. {1981, 0.022},
  25. {1980, 0.015},
  26. {1979, -0.094},
  27. {1993, -0.118},
  28. {1989, -0.12},
  29. {1986, -0.139},
  30. {1982, -0.172},
  31. {1992, -0.179},
  32. {1984, -0.224},
  33. {1985, -0.261}
You see that 2011 will probably remain the 12th warmest year according to the RSS AMSU dataset, cooler than all the other 21st century years except for 2008 and cooler than 1998 as well as 1995 (which was 16 years ago).

The December 2011 temperature anomaly would have to drop to -0.42 °C for 2011 to drop to the 13th place or jump to +0.252 °C for 2011 to jump to the 11th place. So most likely, the ranking above is the complete answer by RSS AMSU we will be able to repeat in a month.

The rankings of the other datasets are different which really means that it doesn't make much sense to give too much weight to them. The temperature evolution may be classified as noise.

I remember that 20 years ago, before I consciously saw my first graphs of the "global mean temperature", I was interpreting the newspapers articles about "global warming" as the implicit claim that each year, the temperature is measured as being higher than the previous year. I wasn't terribly impressed by this "fact" but I thought it was at least true. I was thinking that they just measure the temperatures, compute an average, and see an increase every year. What could be so difficult about it? They can't be lying to me, I thought. However, if this were the case, 2011 would have to be the warmest year: but there are a whopping 11 years that were warmer than 2011.

It seems to me that there are still many people who continue to believe that "global warming" exists i.e. that each year is fundamentally warmer than the previous one. What actually takes place are "random weather and climatic fluctuations". They are not white noise but morally closer to red noise, so the fluctuations may accumulate, and indeed, in a few decades, they accumulate to some "visible change". This visible change may go in both directions and it is just slightly more likely that in 50 or 100 years, we will see a warming, than it is that we will see a cooling.

2010-2011 saw a La Niña episode that impact the 2011 temperatures and we have entered a new season of La Niña conditions will will impact the 2012 temperatures. So when the lousy ranking of 2011 becomes inconvenient, the climate alarmists choose to emphasize the natural variability such as La Niña episodes which are "surely the culprits" behind the poor performance of the global warming in 2011. However, when they talk about the overall attribution and future predictions, they suddenly forget about La Niña's and all other natural factors. This double-faced approach is incompatible with the the scientific analysis and the rational appraisal of similar technical questions.

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Thanks to Honza!

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snail feedback (4) :


reader Alexander Ac said...

2011 is the warmest La Nina year (yet)...


reader Luboš Motl said...

Nope, Alexander, this statement of yours is complete rubbish. Check the history of El Ninos and La Ninas.

Among the years that have overlapped with a La Nina episode, the following five years were (RSS) warmer than 2011: 1998 (most of 1998 was La Nina, the second part), 2010 (the second part was La Nina as well), 2007 (the last 1/3 was La Nina), 2001 (the beginning of it was La Nina), and 1995 (the last 1/3 was La Nina).

Note that the years warmer than 2011 include 2001 which had a La Nina episode at the beginning, too. In fact, even the end of 2001 had a negative ENSO anomaly even though it didn't become an episode.


reader Alexander Ac said...

Luboš,

thanks for the link, I checked the history of ENSO and I completely agree that 1998 overlapped with La Nina - but that does not mean that it was "La Nina" year (I think).

For what I would suggest it that there should be a kind of "lag time" between ENSO index and global temperature (I think about 7 months, but not sure).

And my 2011 statement comes from WMO, see their article titled:
2011: world’s 10th warmest year, warmest year with La Niña on record, second-lowest Arctic sea ice extent
and their graph here

Now, I do not see a reason why would WMO claim 2011 was the warmest year with La Nina, if it where not... might the "lag time" explain the discrepancy between WMO and you?

cheers,


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear AA, their dataset may be inequivalent to RSS but according to RSS, 2011 can't be the warmest La Nina year regardless of the definition of a La Nina year. You either define it according to the beginning of the year, or the end of the year - you can't demand that the whole year is in La Nina episode because 2011 wasn't - and you will see that either 2001 or the other 4 were warmer than 2011.

Cheers
LM