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RSS AMSU: temperatures 1979-2014 grouped in many ways

Climate apparently jumped to a warmer basin of attraction in 1998, noise ever since

One month ago, I discussed the ranking of the global mean temperature in 2014 according to the UAH, RSS AMSU satellite datasets. The December 2014 figures weren't out yet but it turns out that my system of predictions always works very well and the ranking of the years may be more or less predicted before the last month is known.

RSS AMSU have published their December 2014 values. The global mean temperature anomaly was +0.284 °C, just 0.04 °C warmer than the value in November which increases the annual average estimate just by +0.0035 °C relatively to my previous expectations – a negligible figure. With this tiny correction, 2014 is pretty much tied with 2007 as the 6th-7th warmest year in the RSS AMSU dataset, after 1998, 2010, 2005, 2003, and 2002.

RSS claims that 2014 was a whopping 0.3 °C cooler than 1998. Please laugh out loud when someone will be telling you that it was the warmest year.

Amusingly enough, the RSS AMSU data are now available exactly from full 36 years since 1979 through 2014 (the difference between these two years is 35 which means that there are 36 years because the initial one is the extra "zero", and I hope that most of you have noticed this "anomaly by one" in the kindergarten, too). And because 36 is a nice composite number, I decided it was a fun enough idea to show the graphs (well, barcharts) for various periods whose length is a divisor of 36 years.

OK, here are the monthly data:

Click to zoom in. You see that it's some noise and one may still agree with Fred Singer that a more refined description is "one kind of noise" up to 1998 which was a warm year when the climate jumped into another basin, and the climate has resembled some warmer noise ever since. The climate apparently likes to do such things, stupid.

The quarters, three-month periods look like this. The frequency is still very high. Like on the previous graph, you may see that the recent quarters don't deviate from the "average ones" in the post-1998 period.

And these are half-years, six-month periods. As you can see, it's still a lot of noise and the redundant sentence you are just reading and the following one that you will be reading in 7 seconds was inserted into my blog post in order to separate the previous picture from the following one, the annual barchart. Even though it's just spam, I hope that I inserted it in such a form that was entertaining for you, despite the fact that you have just wasted 11 seconds of your life with this paragraph.

Yup, I have produced more spam than I needed! ;-)

Finally, these are the one-year, twelve-month periods. Because I recently received a significant financial gift from a TRF reader (thank you very much again), I decided it was appropriate to replace the BarChart command in Mathematica by BarChart3D. ;-) The years 2007 and 2014 are tied on the 6th-7th place among the 36 years. It's warmer than the average of the 36 years but almost exactly equal to the post-1998 average.

These are the 18 double-year, 24-month periods. You see that 1998 – well, 1997-1998 – dropped to the 2nd place after 2009-2010. The double-years 2001-2002 and 2005-2006 are pretty much tied on the 3rd and 4th place, 2003-2004 is on the 5th place, and after a big enough gap, 2013-2014 is 6th even among the 18 double-year periods! That's close to the average ranking although the recent temperatures were visibly above the average temperatures.

Among the 12 triple-year periods, 2012-2014 is tied with 2000-2002 on the 4th and 5th place. Again, close to the average.

There have been 9 four-year, 48-month periods. The recent one, 2011-2014, was cooler than the previous one, and that was cooler than one before that. And 1995-1998 was cooler than 2011-2014 as well, so even among the four-year periods, the most recent one was the 4th warmest one, just one spot away from the center of the leaderboard!

I really like the barchart of 6 six-year periods above because it supports Fred Singer's point beautifully. The temperatures up to 1991-1996 were increasing extremely slowly, then a jump occurred and 1997-2002 was significantly warmer, but the following 6-year periods 2003-2008 and 2009-2014 were almost the same as 1997-2002.

Here are the 4 nine-year periods. Again, you may see the jump around 1998. However, there's one more interesting thing I want to mention here. You often hear that the most recent decade was the warmest one. Well, if you look at "almost decades", the 9-year periods, the most recent 9-year period was actually cooler than the previous one.

Here are the 3 twelve-year periods. Because the jump around 1998 occurred near the middle of the middle period, you see a rather uniform warming trend from –0.06 °C to +0.24 °C in the final one. That's about +0.15 °C per 12 years or +0.12 °C per decade.

I won't post the excessively simple picture of the 2 eighteen-year periods. The first period had –0.04 °C, the second one had +0.24 °C which looks like warming by +0.28 °C per 18 years which translates to +0.155 °C per decade. Note that the warming trends I obtain in various ways don't exactly match and they have no reason to be exactly equal because the months and years are clumped differently – assigned to different "representative moments".

At any rate, you see that no trend-like change has been taking place in the more recent half of the 36-year-long satellite era.

Update, January 16th, surface weather stations

Today, it was happily announced that NASA's GISS and NOAA's NCDC show that 2014 was their warmest year. The "advantage" of NCDC is that the warming up to 2014 looks higher than in GISS where 2014 was about 0.02 °C warmer than their 2nd and 3rd years, 2010 and 2005. The heat is on, we read everywhere. We are literally frying the Earth, and so on.

You see the GISS temperatures from 1880 to 2014 above. I drew it from the GISS dataset via Mathematica. Note that the warming trend seems rather clear in the barchart above but the warming trend between 1900 and 1940 was about the same as the overhyped trend in the recent 40 years – even though the CO2 emissions were about 3.5 times lower then.

Because the satellites show that 2014 was about 0.3 °C cooler than the warmest year, 1998, and it seems to be the warmest one according to the weather-station-based NCDC and GISS, you might interpret it by saying that the global mean temperature is only measured with a huge mistake – and the error of 0.3 °C is rather common. From this viewpoint, you could then argue that the temperature has been constant for 30 or so years within the error margin.

Alternatively, you may argue that either the satellite data are wrong; or, more likely, the surface record is wrong (or manipulated). All these things are possible.

However, I would recommend a different take. These "global warming temperatures" are basically OK but they simply show the evolution of slightly different quantities. There is no "canonical" global mean temperature. It is a rough notion and there are many ways how to clarify the detailed questions what this quantity should denote and how it should be measured. And they simply disagree. They substantially disagree. Their estimated global temperature anomalies differ nearly by 1/2 of the declared "20th century global warming". None of them is much more important than its competitors.

My real point is that it is irrational to imagine that the global mean temperature – or, more sensibly, "a global mean temperature" – hides some important wisdom or you should look at it carefully at all. There is nothing important about this quantity. From a practical viewpoint, it's been constant in the recent century. The change has been smaller than what you could detect by your skin even if you were able to feel the globe directly (we can only do it by a careful averaging of many measurements) and even if you could accelerate the century to a minute.

If you care which datasets are better, anyway, I would say the following. The surface record is probably more relevant for the "place where the people live". We live near the surface, indeed, and not several kilometers above the surface. If you live in America or at the Bahamas, you may still prefer the U.S. or Caribbean data and not the global average that incorporates lots of irrelevant places.

However, perhaps more importantly, it's the lower troposphere as measured by the satellites that should show a stronger warming signal if it were caused by the increasing CO2 concentration and the expected positive feedbacks that amplify the greenhouse effect. Because the satellites seem to show that this warming rate of the troposphere is extremely slow, it is the most accurate measurement of the CO2-related greenhouse warming. And according to the data, the higher near-surface warming trend is probably unrelated to CO2.

This emerging claim has existed for years. But the greater will be the difference of the "total warming" shown by the surface record and the "total warming" seen by the satellites, the stronger will be the argument that the combination of the datasets indicates that most of these trends cannot be explained by CO2.

A special blog post is dedicated to the fact that GISS, NCDC only show the differences between warmest years that are comparable to the error margin, and this actually implies that 2014 was probably not their warmest year (the calculable probability is below 50%) although they made the media to claim otherwise.

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reader NumCracker said...

Dead Lubos: does "background indifference " also implies that all compactifications would let to same (low energy) physics in ST, or is this principle valid only for 4d spaces? Why?

reader NumCracker said...

Sorry, DeaR Lubos!!! Bad bad Android ;-)

reader Dilaton said...

Ouch, poor Lumo ... :-D

reader de^mol said...

Problem is, that the last graph can be used by the alarmists to show it continues to warm.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Right, except that the interpretation is sloppy. It is not continuing to warm "now". It's more accurate (but still misleading) to say that the graph shows that it was "continuing to warm" 10 or 20 years ago.

reader Luboš Motl said...

It was nice to find out that I am still alive, so far.

Numcracker, background indifference doesn't say that physics of all compactifications is the same, that would be bad. But it does say that you may always describe one vacuum (compactification) as an excitation (usually a complicated excitation) of another.

reader etudiant said...

Seems this recent short term data confirms the ice core evidence that the climate jumps from one state to another, rather than gradually shifting.
Of course, that makes prediction a bit more challenging.....

reader de^mol said...

yeah, but they'll use anything to sell their story

reader GuyFork said...

Hi Lubos, Nima Arkani Hamed has at least a dozen lectures, technical and nontechnical on that subject on youtube. There is a guy who records everything Nima said. Checkt it out.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi, I know, most of them have been embedded on this blog.

reader Luboš Motl said...

This "sale" doesn't mean that someone will actually buy it.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Right. Just to be sure, I don't really believe these "discrete shifts" to be a good fundamental description. It seems to me that there is no reason for the global mean temperature to be stuck in any "basin" - there is nothing wrong about its shifting continuously.

This theme was only mentioned because I think that the empirical data seem to be nontrivially compatible with the claim. Singer would tell me about this thought of his in CATO Institute in 2007 for the first time, and since that time, the empirical support for his claim has only strengthened! I still don't believe that there's any reason to think that this "piecewise constant", discrete description of the temperatures is anything more than a parameterization.

reader etudiant said...

Piecewise maybe, constant not so much.
My only point was that the ice cores indicate the transition to ice age was brutally abrupt, possibly within a single year. So the whole premise of 'global warming' seems silly, because the climate does not shift in a nice gradual way.

reader Robert Dylan said...

(Second try: my first comment was censored or fell due to technical reasons)

Yeah, sure, some Jewish ideas are in the crux of almost every aspect of Western thinking. So technically speaking the rather grotesque antisemitic comment by Baron is "correct". It's just that the same can be said about e.g. (ancient) Greek ideas, and their penetration into Western thinking. So are we going to say that "Greek pathologies" are behind "Western liberal decadence"? I don't think so.

Also, Baron's understanding of Nietzsche's seems limited. Nietzsche indeed used the term "Slave Morality", but he was in fact confirming Jewish ideals to a certain extent, while blaming Christianity for being the crux of "Modern Decadence".

By the way, I support most (though not all) of Lubos' post, and I'm Jewish.

reader namae nanka said...

He has a good view of the maw of the beast now; in the land of Nancy Hopkins and Marilee Jones with its push for computer science gender equality, how long before he gets the Lewin treatment?

reader Paul in Boston said...

Yep, it's a step function, just the sort of behavior that can come out of a chaotic system. I think that the peaks correspond to El Nino, which acts as the "noise".

reader Fred said...

That's big of you. And if I did it that would be bigamy.

reader dougproctor said...

Nice work! At a 12 year grouping, about 1.2C/100 years.

What longterm trend gives 3.5C more by 2100?

I'm baffled.

reader John Archer said...

Not necessarily. Best not jump to conclusions.

For instance, if a man is unfortunate enough to outlive his wife then marrying again might ease the loss and provide companionship.

But I don't know Rehbock's circumstances.

I doubt he's convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but he might be a Justice of the Peace in his spare time though. Some of them marry thousands of times. :)

reader callmeskeptical said...

This is good work. I took a different approach to get the same answer, and it supports the notion that the temperature increased in a stepwise fashion. I took a running 15-year average of the data - essentially your 18-year bar graph. But the result was three distinct areas: a region with flat temperature near your -0.04C from 1979 to 1990, a region with flat temperature near your +0.24C from 2005 to 2015, and a smooth, monotonically increasing region in between. This is exactly the graph you would expect to get from a step increase in temperature at about 1997-1998 - right at about the El Nino event.

reader Werdna said...

And just think, we're told our governments protect us from snake oil salesmen.

reader Tony said...

Why didn't my daddy don Vito have enough cash to send me back to Sicily when it mattered?!

reader davideisenstadt said...

youre a better human than I am.

reader kashyap vasavada said...

I am still trying to understand background independence and background indifference. Are these independent of whether you are using perturbative or non-perturbative formalism?

reader Dr Norman Page said...

The climate discussion needs to move on from discussing a pause to discussing the cooling trend because in fact we have had 11 years of cooling see

see my post

for details and cooling forecasts. This shows that the late 20th century rise is simply the rise to the peak of the millennial cycle which peaked in the RSS series at 2003.6 give or take a couple of weeks no doubt.
This corresponds to the peak in the solar activity driver seen at about 1991 in Fig 14 of the linked post. There is about a 12 year lag between the driver peak and the RSS peak. The lag will vary according to the climate metric used and the region under consideration.
For convenience skeptics might wish to celebrate the anniversary of peak heat which I calculate as 4th July 2003 at about 4pm.

reader davideisenstadt said...

I agree with you...there were certainly jews involved in the communist movement, as there were jews involved in the anarchist movement, jews involved in the development of capitalist thought, the Chicago school of economics, modern physics, chemistry and biology... and on and on and on.
Its funny how some focus on those jews who are associated with movements that accomplished great evil (communism, modern "progressive" thought in the US, and the like) yet continue to avail themselves and their kids of the fruits of "jew" labor when its convenient to them.
The ingrate is lower than the wild animal.
Its also funny how these people who "study" the jew and his influence on the the arc of history hold themselves to be somehow smarter and more aware than others...only they see the evil and cunning of the jew...only they can look through the veil of anonymity the jew employs to uncover the plotting scheming nature of the jew.
Its tired really.

reader davideisenstadt said...

lehrer flushed more talent down the toilet in one day contained in his urine than you will evidence in your lifetime.

reader davideisenstadt said...

It is interesting that you would quote is a link to a revisionist take on him...It turns out that some think that his rants weren't representative of brain damage caused by tertiary syphilis; the result of having sex with a prostitute in his teen years. Whether the prostitute was a man or a woman is open to discussion.
No, rather a delusional syphilitc crank, this guy maintains that Nietzche was delusional and insane from an early age...that he was an undiagnosed schizophrenic, that he heard and perceived voices communicating with him from his teen years.
This makes does some sense...usually people go bat shit crazy due to schizophrenia in their teen years. should read this before you go one quoting a certifiably insane putz.

Next thing youre going be quoting
Ted Kaczynski or Al Gore.
Way to hang your arguments on those pronounced by a crazy shit head a hundred years ago.
BTW: My favorite quote from the crazy old fart?
"All women good or bad want to be beaten"
from "beyond good and evil"
That you buy into his crap is interesting.

reader John F. Hultquist said...

Assume a person has to be about 8 years old before starting to be aware of trends in weather (hot or cool summer; snowy winter) and that the person was born in 1990. Because 1998 with its major El Niño was promoted as warm and having wild weather, our hypothetical person might have started paying attention then. He or she would be about 25 years old this year.
The poor soul would not know what warming is like and might be forgiven if global warming is not at the top of the list of serious challenges.

reader JollyJoker said...

Who is that guy? I find lots of hits on both Arkani-Hamed and Amplituhedron but none of the posters seems concentrated on that subject specifically.

reader Omerbashich said...

So the latest (final?) forgery in the series "How physicists robbed Omerbashich of his epochal discoveries piece-by-piece" is in progress. Here come Nima & Leonard, with a model (=BS) for "suddenly" avoiding the Einstein's concerns with entanglement... You almost closed it, almost there, almost... yeah right. What a bunch of sterile losers. In the mean-time, in the real world, by a real scientist:,

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi Omerhašiš from the Royal Family, I posted this comment of yours so that one may check what was the last droplet that made you banned.

The paper you vaguely mention was written by Juan and Susskind, not Nima and Susskind, and it brought a solution to a problem proposed by Polchinski et al., not Einstein et al.

And so on. Your knowledge and intelligence is virtually zero and your arrogance is nearly infinite. I just hate this combination. You are banned.

reader OM said...

Ad hominem & typos... typically Jesuit. The post was written in about 10 seconds or less. Which is more than any sane person (not counting your fake profiles) would spend reading your mental diarrhea you like to call a blog. Or just about enough time to see through your peanut-size Jesuit brain accompanied by 2 millennia-deep evilness. Care to enlighten us some more about your weirdo Jesuit lunacy/fanaticism that got you expelled from Harvard, loony?

reader OM said...

Almost forgot: happy little butterflies aka angels & demons season, or was it Easter bunny season, or was it jingle bell jingle bell... or quantum mechanics... or any other idiotic fairytale you believe in... lol

reader bonzono said...

your claim here is that it's noisy.....okay, that is true, and that is why we do statistics..

so, can I just check I understand what appears to be a failure of basic statistical understanding.

Referring to the data organised in yearly bundles - because that's a nice easy one to count.

we have 22 consecutive years of those 38 years over the mean. and the remaining 16 years are consistently below the mean.

now - stop me if I'm wrong here - but the most basic algorithm in statistical regression analysis to fit a first order trend (stop me if I'm using words and concepts you're unfamiliar with) is to

1. break the data in halves
2. find the mean of the first half
3 find the mean of the second half
4. connect the dots.
am I wrong here?

okay, now if we do this by eyeball, to the data that is consistently BELOW the average - we will obtain a value BELOW the average.
we do this to data consistently ABOVE the average, we will obtain a value ABOVE the average.

so - again, stop me if I'm wrong here, but my highschool level math here shows, with rather tiny errorbars, that over 38 years, we have an increasing trend...

sorry, its noise? based on what, your demonstrably inept grasp of statistics? Could you even compute the 'noise'? do you know what that word actually means REALLY?

next time you go wobbly with words beyond your grasp, sit down, take a breath, and actually find out how to measure them - any goof can bin up data in excel or mathmatica. not any goof can come up with something so clearly sub-par even for highschool mathematical literacy!

go on, compute the noise, compute the trend, figure out the line of best fit with errors, then get back to me.


reader bonzono said...

a step function does not come out of a chaotic system - if it did, then by definition, the system would not be chaotic.

reader bonzono said...

there is no numerical trend analysis you can make from these data that refute the claim that the climate is warming.
ALL these data show it is doing exactly that.

If you want to show I am wrong, please do so.
What I find most interesting about your comment is that throughout this post, the author frequently makes the claim "there is a lot of noise" and there is - but the author does not bother to quantify it - which can be done in a single line in mathematica, excel, idl, python, or even with pencil and paper.

Trend analysis helps us understand what is going on - you do not have the intellectual freedom to both claim "there is a lot of noise" and then "but the data show it is cooling/stagnating".

I hate to present myself as someone you would call an alarmist - I call myself mathematically competent and intellectually honest. I go where the data points. and the data, in this case, easily points up.

Need the proof? I'd be happy to show you.

reader dave1964b said...

Details like these will be ignored because looking at what the data really says doesn't fit the agenda. I predict that NOAA and Gavin Hansen Schmidt will be telling us a year from now that 2015 was the hottest year ever.

By the way there is an amusing article on Washington Post today about a paper published in Science that asserts the planet will soon be uninhabitable.

"At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of anew paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world."

reader dave1964b said...

Young people have been so brainwashed by the climate police in the education establishment they will believe in global warming regardless of what their own eyes tell them. Schools teach global warming from very young ages and have been doing so for awhile. I would imagine this is even worse in Europe.

reader dave1964b said...

The climate system is chaotic on short term scales but not so much on longer term scales.

reader dave1964b said...

The younger dryas might be an excellent example of this.

reader dave1964b said...

They are hoping silly government leaders like Obama will buy it, literally by sending more money to the scientists and cash payments to third world countries supposedly suffering from the US and Europe being industrialized.

reader Danielle Daniels said...

Yet the brain washed will name call anyone who see the false climate change data .

reader Nameless said...

One note about satellite data -- it does not cover entire earth. I.e. AGW cultists can claim that warming in upper latitudes is the reason of thsi discrepancy. But they won't mention that there are like two ground stations over there. ;-)