So Wednesday was temperature series update day. The HadCRUT4, NOAA NCEI and GISTEMP time-series were all updated through to the end of 2018 (slightly delayed by the federal government shutdown). Berkeley Earth and the MSU satellite datasets were updated a couple of weeks ago. And that means that everyone gets to add a single additional annual data point to their model-observation comparison plots!
For people who had been paying attention to the data over the last year, the results were not surprising. With the mild La Niña conditions at the beginning of the year, expectations were that 2018 would come in slightly cooler than 2017 (and of course 2016), and so it proved. As in recent years there is a spread in the estimates based on how the Arctic is treated, with the products that don’t extrapolate coming in cooler than those that do, but differences are small.
There were some nice data visualizations out there. From Axios there were some spinning globes of the 40 year trends. The LA Times went with stripes:
The NY Times had their graphic on the front page, above the fold.
There were also updates to the excellent movies from GSFC SVS and the NASA Earth Observatory:
There were a couple of novelties to the presentations this year. Notably a comparison between trends from the in-situ analyses and remote sensing of ground temperature anomalies from AIRS (which is in press at ERL), and to the just released ERA5. Both of these comparison suggest that that patterns of trends are robust, but that the in situ product may still be underestimating change in the Arctic [but more on that another time].
83 Responses to "Update day"
Phil Scadden says
Must be time for another round of “Global warming stopped in 2016” posts on denialist sites. I wonder if any of them are accepting bets?
Nice to see things cooling down. Also nice to see the hiatus holding its own in the face of all the “myth busting” corrections.
[Response: Lol. – gavin]
Al Bundy says
Republicans don’t gamble. They think that a 0.00000001% risk to capital is deserving of 10,000% returns guaranteed by the government.
Sylvain Duford says
So will 2016 be the new 1998? Used by cherry-pickers as a starting point to show that there is no warming?
OMG! Warming stopped in 2016!!!!
MA Rodger says
While the 2018 global surface temperature putting 2018 as fourth-warmest calender year on record, a warmer 2019 temperature will presumably put-pay to all-but-the-most-ridiculous denialist chatter (although I note the presence of Victor the Troll @2).
To the end of 2018, all surface records set 2016 in top spot, 2015/2017 in second-or-third, 2018 in 4th and 2014/2010 in 5th-or-6th.
So what should we be expecting from 2019? That will very-much depend on how ENSO behaves through the coming months and an El Niño is expected through the year to the autumn, abet a mild one. This would (assuming MEI averaging +0.5 which it has for the months which will impact the start of 2019) perhaps boost the 2019 temperatures by +0.06ºC and pushing the year into second place, just ahead of both 2015 & 2017 but behind 2016 with its big El Niño.
Of course, this is a very simplistic analysis & so probably should be considered as speculation.
For you I have three words: Fooled by noise
Physics Victor, it’s just physics.
Kevin McKinney says
How clear can it get? (Not clear enough for Victor, obviously.)
Frank P. Johnston says
The time data series is often made tactile as a rather nice scarf.
Kevin McKinney says
Funny you should mention that:
Climate Change Ireland says
Thanks for the summary.
WMO Confirms Past 4 Years Were Warmest on Record
It already is! You have no idea how many people I’ve had to confront on this claim. To make it even better, it was predicted in 2016 that people would start in on the no warming/cooling since 2016 mantra. The denial community is nothing if not predictable. I actually enjoy when I get a new argument from them!
And for the umpteenth time anti-science Victor flaunts that he knows absolutely nothing about statistics, statistical significance or trends. Of course it is the one area he has claimed in the past to know. As Bugs Bunny famously say and it sure fits here, “What a maroon!”. :-)
Vic still owes an apology to every math and science teacher who ever taught him from primary school on. Seriously.
#2 “Lol. – gavin”
I’m pleased to see my posts are still capable of eliciting amusement, especially from Gavin, usually so dead serious. As I’ve often insisted: humor is a science, not an art. So it’s good to see a scientist responding appropriately.
But seriously folks. Looks to me as though the glass can be as easily seen half empty as half full. When I see 2018 coming in as cooler than the previous three years (NOT exactly the same as fourth warmest), it looks to me as though the Earth is cooling down. For Gavin and his mates over at climate change central, however, it’s a sign things are heating up. In other words, regardless of what the actual evidence is telling us, it’s always possible to spin things in any direction one might like.
Reminds me of an old song:
You say “up”
I say “down”
You say “warming”
I say “cooling”
You say “hurricanes more intense”
I say “no major hurricanes for over 10 years (making relative intensity irrelevant)
You say “unprecedented sea level rise”
I say “average rise holding more or less steady over the last 150 years or so”
You say “more rainfall AND more droughts”
I say “whaaaa????”
You say “long-term trend”
I say “no correlation”
You say “noise”
I say “too soon to tell”
You say “science”
I say “spin.”
Let’s call the whole thing off.
Brian Marriott says
#14 If we’re going to misquote songs, I quote Paul Simon:
“… still a man hears what he wants to hear / and disregards the rest” [The Boxer]
Wheras true scientists hear what the data tell them, whether they want to hear it or not.
And the data here goes back a lot more than two years.
MA Rodger says
Victor Grauer of Pittsburgh PA,
“But seriously folks,” you tell us. The analogy you then invoke, that of glasses half full or half empty, includes the blithering idiot who sees the glass half empty as being an incredibly good thing – more room for more beer. I thought that you having demonstrated blithering idiocy on this site many many times in the past, you would appreciate the thought.
As for your grand analysis that “it looks to me as though the Earth is cooling down” perhaps the following simplistic analysis will assist you in understanding why you have it oh so wrongly wrong wrong, yet again!!
The global temperature wobbles about and most of that wobble is due to ENSO. See here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) which graphs the global temperature wobble alongside the ENSO wobble (represented by MEI).
So let’s take GISTEMP and subtract that ENSO wobble. This analysis uses annual data which is not as precise as monthly but it does provide a monotonic temperature increase when averaged over 5-year periods.
Year … … … GISTEMP … … Adj for MEI … … . 5-yr ave
2000 … … … +0.41ºC … … … +0.47ºC
2001 … … … +0.54ºC … … … +0.57ºC
2002 … … … +0.63ºC … … … +0.62ºC … … … +0.55ºC
2003 … … … +0.61ºC … … … +0.56ºC … … … +0.58ºC
2004 … … … +0.54ºC … … … +0.52ºC … … … +0.59ºC
2005 … … … +0.68ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … … +0.59ºC
2006 … … … +0.63ºC … … … +0.64ºC … … … +0.60ºC
2007 … … … +0.64ºC … … … +0.62ºC … … … +0.63ºC
2008 … … … +0.52ºC … … … +0.60ºC … … … +0.64ºC
2009 … … … +0.64ºC … … … +0.66ºC … … … +0.65ºC
2010 … … … +0.71ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … … +0.65ºC
2011 … … … +0.59ºC … … … +0.69ºC … … … +0.67ºC
2012 … … … +0.62ºC … … … +0.64ºC … … … +0.68ºC
2013 … … … +0.65ºC … … … +0.66ºC … … … +0.70ºC
2014 … … … +0.74ºC … … … +0.72ºC … … … +0.74ºC
2015 … … … +0.87ºC … … … +0.79ºC … … … +0.79ºC
2016 … … … +1.00ºC … … … +0.86ºC … … … +0.83ºC
2017 … … … +0.91ºC … … … +0.90ºC
2018 … … … +0.83ºC … … … +0.86ºC
And it demonstrates that 2018 is actually 2nd warmest on record (slightly ahead of 2016) when the ENSO wobble is subtracted from the data. This is hardily cause for pronouncing that “the Earth is cooling down.”
And while “it’s always possible to spin things in any direction one might like,” such spin only holds true when a blithering idiot is justifying his denial of reality.
Mike Roberts says
Oh, Victor, can you hear yourself?
I see Tamino posted on a ridiculous article at the GWPF, an article which I’m sure Victor would think is fact. I wonder if he can see the the obvious error right at the start.
Ray Ladbury says
Victor: “I’m pleased to see my posts are still capable of eliciting amusement,…”
Oh come, now, Weaktor, I’m sure you’ve been laughed at your entire life. You ought to be used to it by now.
Victor: “When I see 2018 coming in as cooler than the previous three years (NOT exactly the same as fourth warmest),…”
except that it is EXACTLY the same as being the 4th warmest, because there were only 3 years that came in warmer.
Look at the record highs in the temperature record. What typically happens? After a record, the next year is cooler. Records still arise due to fluctuations–it’s just that the fluctuations occur about an undeniable rising trend, not a flat distribution. You would be funny if you weren’t so pathetic.
Barton Paul Levenson says
V 2: the hiatus holding its own in the face of all the “myth busting” corrections.
BPL: In your dreams, Victor.
Barton Paul Levenson says
SD 4: So will 2016 be the new 1998? Used by cherry-pickers as a starting point to show that there is no warming?
BPL: Already happening on Facebook. Tons of idiots claiming the world is now “cooling down” and excoriating scientists and the press for not “admitting” it.
Barton Paul Levenson says
V 14: it looks to me as though the Earth is cooling down.
BPL: And one of the tons of idiots signs into Realclimate.
“Also nice to see the hiatus holding its own in the face of all the “myth busting” corrections.”
If you actually look at the graph, you’ll see that 2018 was actually warmer than any of years in your so-called “hiatus”.
I’m rather amazed that people are asking when denialists will latch on to the “no warming since 2016” meme, when Victor did so right here in the 2nd comment on the post! We know that Victor’s not capable of making anything up himself, so clearly he poached it from elsewhere, too …
Kevin McKinney says
Victor and numerous responses:
I begin to think Victor is a true troll (not just in the debased sense of someone who’s contentious and oppositional but does have an actual belief in play).
That is, his latest couple of comments are so gob-stoppingly gormless that I can’t quite believe he actually means them. That forces me to consider the possibility that he is just making stuff up in order to provoke, for the pure amusement of it.
If so, he appears to be succeeding brilliantly.
OK, first of all, what I actually did was state a fact. FACT is: the year 2018 was, on average, cooler than the previous three years. Yet, as Gavin reminds us, quoting the LA Times, alarmists are spinning it into evidence that the “Present is Warmer Than the Past.”
I get it: down is up — cooler is warmer. Typical of the group think regularly exhibited here.
That’s ALL I said. I never claimed this was the beginning of a trend, or that this particular dip in temperature, in itself, refuted AGW. You’re assuming I’m a typical “denier” but I’m not. In fact, contrary to the convictions of so many posting here, I see no reason to predict a trend in either direction. We’re just going to have to wait and see. In fact a great deal of what’s being claimed here is based on assumptions — assumptions regarding what exactly has been said, what exactly is being claimed — and assumptions about what the evidence might be telling us.
And yes, Ray, there IS a difference between “cooler than the previous three years” and “fourth warmest.” If you weren’t such a literal minded pedant I wouldn’t need to spell it out for you. A year can be “fourth warmest” and yet be the warmest over the previous ten, fifteen or 100 years. The other three years could have taken place at any time in the past. In this case, however, they happen to be the previous three. Evidence, in other words, that the Earth has cooled since the El Nino of 2016. Whether it will continue to cool is anybody’s guess.
As for the “hiatus,” all I can say is that yes, as illustrated very clearly by the graph presented above, there was indeed a hiatus from 1998 through, roughly, 2014-2015, a period of 16 or 17 years, during which temperatures rose only slightly — in comparison with the previous 20 years or so, when they rose steeply — the difference is clearly evident from the graph. While some details have been modified of late by Karl et al, I was interested to see that the current picture remains more or less the same. As for the El Nino generated spike we see in 2016, sorry but that looks like “noise” to me. Whether this is only a spike or a harbinger of greater warming to come, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for the updates Gavin. I particularly like the histograms at the bottom. They seem to me like the most informative way to look at the current status of models to data comparison.
Dan @ 13 stresses the importance of statistics, statistical significance and trends. That seems important to me too, because in the political arena, where people are asking for climate science to inform climate policy, you need some level of quantification to calibrate the precautionary principle.
So, my question is: What increment of quantitative information about future global temperature are you claiming that the models are providing? What the outsider sees is the hindcast/forecast line advancing every few years along with a new generation of models, suggesting rolling post hoc adjustment presented as model improvement. But Dan @ 13 will know that until proven by prospective out-of-sample data it remains an open question whether the models are adding quantitative information about future temperature response to increasing CO2.
Ordinarily, the usefulness of a method for measuring a physical quantity would be assessed in terms of accuracy and precision. Your average chemist looking at the model histogram/data means trend comparison would say, not particularly accurate and not very precise. They are tuned to follow the general trend but don’t appear to add statistically valid quantitative information into the future.
Instead of accuracy and precision you use the word skill, defined as “Predictive skill is defined as the whether the model projection is better than you would have got assuming some reasonable null hypothesis.” A definition remarkable for its lack of any quantitative element.
Ray Ladbury says
Well, in fairness, Weaktor is quite the dim bulb when it comes to understanding what a trend is, so it’s understandable that people would ignore him. I’m sure he is used to it.
Graphic of global warming from 1975- 2011 with enso cycle, 11 year sunspot cycle and volcanic activity removed. Figure 3. Rather illuminating, no sign of any “Hiatus”
Matthew R Marler says
I had forgotten that you do this regularly. Please keep it up.
Mal Adapted says
I haven’t figured out whether Victor is a sincere, seriously deluded AGW-denier or an expert Poe, either. That’s pretty much the definition of Poe’s Law, after all. If he’s sincere, it’s long been apparent no argument will persuade him. If he’s Poeing us, our best arguments merely encourage him to make up more outlandish denialist claims. In either case I’m no longer amused, and now just scroll past his comments and their responses without reading them. Y’all can decide how to spend your own time.
“That’s ALL I said. I never claimed this was the beginning of a trend”.
Well, actually, that’s not true. Earlier you said:
“it looks to me as though the Earth is cooling down”.
And even earlier:
“Nice to see things cooling down. Also nice to see the hiatus holding its own in the face of all the “myth busting” corrections.”
Own your words, don’t run away from them.
Kevin McKinney @23, “That forces me to consider the possibility that he (Victor)is just making stuff up in order to provoke, for the pure amusement of it.”
Tempting thought, but no. Victor clearly doesn’t understand graphs and scientific method, hes not faking that. So his motivation is more likely to be Dunning Kruger and attention seeking on a huge scale. Occams razor: what is simplest explanation consistent with the evidence.
Hank Roberts says
Victor publishes here first because he benefits from comments by people who recognize the more absurd claims, which he can’t distinguish by himself.
With that kind of help, he can moderate his claims to be less absurd, so fewer people laugh at them when he posts elsewhere.
MA Rodger says
Mal Adapted @29,
Steady now!! How can Victor Grauer of Pittsburgh PA can’t be a denialist troll? Don’t you remember when he first rolled up here. From the horse’s mouth, Victor said ” And no, I’m not a “denier,” but a card carrying lifelong Democrat, liberal to the gills.”
So how can he in any way be a “seriously deluded AGW-denier”?
No!! Victor the Troll is but a fish out of water, to his gills. So he presumably isn’t human, but is that his fault?
Al Bundy says
Thanks for learnin’ me that I shouldn’t expect the sun to “rise” tomorrow. If it happens it happens and there is absolutely no way to predict the future.
OUCH! I just stubbed my Poe.
(And my belief is that Victor is here solely to score “points” by scouring dictionaries for 6th definitions of words that can be twisted together with a few 7th and 8th definitions of other words and then whipping up a tasty sh*t stew to feed others. And others gets ever so much enjoyment out of complaining about the chef that they eat and regurgitate wholeheartedly. Tis symbiosis)
See? I’ll have a bite: Victor “is cooling” speaks only of the present, as in whether the planet is warmer or cooler than a Plank unit of time (whatever it’s called) ago. Period. To include yesterday’s data, last year’s data, or anything else is simply an error. This, of course, means that the oceans, the crust, the mantle, and the core of the planet must be included (for you, Vic, simply replace “included” with “excluded”) in the calculation, which means that the only piece of data one needs (to studiously ignore) is the instantaneous radiative imbalance of the planet.
Once again, the ridiculous troll “Victor” is leading everybody by the nose. His is the 2nd comment posted on this thread, and after that ALMOST EVERY COMMENT is about Victor.
Wonder why he continues posting his clumsy, clownish denialist BS here? That’s why.
It’s the sad state of climateball these days. The smarter deniers are too battle-scarred by previous encounters here and have disappeared. People are hungry for a game and are having to make do with Victor.
Brian Lux says
It appears to me that someone is getting far more attention than is deserved or warranted on an otherwise highly scientific and clear thinking climate web site.
SecularAnimist wonders why Victor continues posting.
I have to say, I wonder why he is allowed to.
I come to RealClimate for informed comment and discussion, to learn: not for the inane denialist claptrap that I can find (and rebut) on countless other forums.
RealClimate diminishes itself by failing to prevent such stuff appearing in its columns.
Yes Vic may be trolling. But willful denial, ignorance (Vic) and hate (KIA) should never be allowed to slide by.
Kevin McKinney says
But Victor doesn’t need to understand graphs or scientific method in order to understand that, while the last couple of years were not as warm as the record 2016 (which he himself pointed out was “spiked” by El Nino), they were nonetheless among the top 4 warmest ever–even though the El Nino is now long past. That’s understandable by anyone with an ounce of sense.
So, the logical alternatives are:
1) Victor doesn’t have an ounce of sense, or
2) He doesn’t really believe what he wrote.
At this point, I believe the preponderance of evidence suggests #2. I can of course only guess at motivation, but would suspect what you wrote: “attention seeking.”
As a side note, I’d agree that Victor does not understand graphs well. But at this point I think it much more likely that he doesn’t understand graphs because his aim here (and presumably elsewhere) is attention seeking, not understanding, than that his controversialism arises from innocent ineptitude.
Dan DaSilva says
Amazing how well these five graphs track. Looks like collusion, how else could five different sources produce graphs which nearly overlap. Something as hard to determine as the average global temperature that can not actually be measured but must be estimated and computed, yet five different sources match over 140 years that is unbelievable. If these sources did independent work how could anyone believe that the graphs would match so closely? It appears that climate science is all about believing.
[Response: That is such a BS argument. – gavin]
“…add statistically valid quantitative information into the future.”
Yogi Berra: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
But seriously, what would that be like? Your language is pretty ambiguous; it would be helpful if you could give an example.
For me, the information that there will be an increase in heat waves, or that seal level will rise, is demonstrably “accurate”. How do you propose to determine how precise it needs to be in terms of public policy?
Is “2 to 4” feet SLR more or less worrying than “2 to 8”?
Al Bundy says
I’m guessing that 97% of folks here agree with you. The owners of places where the public gathers are legally responsible (in the physical world) to keep the premises safe and habitable.
The moderators of RealClimate are seriously negligent. They should be ashamed.
The question is what to do to get them off their butts and maintain their site?
A strike? A petition? Offer to help? Mods, at least start discussing the glaring inadequacy you are in charge of.
John Boyd says
Surely the issue is the continuing imbalance between incoming and outgoing IR, last I read at about 0.6W/m2**2. That heat is going somewhere, presumably into the ocean as happened with the so-called 1998 ‘hiatus’.
Dan DaSilva says
Gavin, thanks for allowing my post and thanks for the reply. Producing a global temperature requires many judgment calls and extrapolation. These graphs look like they were done by groupthink. While my post may fit your definition of BS it is not BS in the classical definition of being done to trick or deceive.
[Response: Hey, have you ever wondered why all the measurements of the gravitational constant are similar? Maybe it’s a conspiracy. And wow! look at the way weather forecasts kind of agree on the chances for rain tomorrow! I’m sure it’s groupthink! And really, have you ever noticed that planes are all kind of the same shape? If the ‘science’ was so independent why aren’t they all sorts of different shapes? Yeah, the most obvious answer is that they’re all trying to deceive us. It can’t possibly be that there is an actual objective reality that multiple investigations reveal to be robust. Nah…. let me just adjust my tin-foil hat. – gavin]
Carrie Crypto says
41 Dan DaSilva says:
11 Feb 2019 at 10:04 AM
“Amazing how well these five graphs track”
How come 2200 crypto coins price movement graphs overlap almost exactly when there are millions of buyers and sellers exchanging $20 Billion worth of crypto coins every day and $6 billion of that is only one coin BTC?
If these millions of buyers and sellers did independent work/transactions how could anyone believe that the graphs would match so closely? It must be a conspiracy involving millions of people globally!
#44 of course vast majority of the excess heat is going to the ocean. Actually the imbalance is measured by the change in ocean heat content so there was not need to hedge it with ‘presumably’.
Kevin McKinney says
Dan, it is not surprising that the temperature records track so closely, partly because the data used is so voluminous. You have thousands of stations in the global climate network; the effects of an error in any one reading are thoroughly washed out. And people do try to do it right; observations are their job. (Of course, a lot of this is automated now.) The tough calls are mostly in dealing with historical data–not present measurements, which though still susceptible to error like anything else, are understood to need to be consistent over time. (“Homogenous.”)
You state that the task requires “many judgment calls and extrapolation”. But that isn’t really right, not for the contemporary record. Data quality control may call for some judgment at times, but it’s not going to be “many” in relation to the total amount of data.
Extrapolation is indeed used by some data sets (GISTEMP and BEST, the latter of which uses a more sophisticated extrapolative technique called “kriging”, which I don’t pretend to understand in any detail). Others, notably HADCRUT, eschew this. The difference it makes is principally in the polar regions, especially the Arctic, where relatively little in situ data is available. GISTEMP and BEST try to compensate for this; HADCRUT doesn’t, and the result is that, since the Arctic is warming faster than anyplace else, HADCRUT has a slower rate of warming than do the ones using spatial extrapolation to improve effective coverage.
The satellite datasets, RSS & UAH, are a different kettle of fish; remote sensing of temperature is an indirect business. What’s actually measured is microwave radiation; this must be converted into temperature via software algorithms, which must also account for other factors (notably time of observation, which can change as orbits decay over time).
They are also less precise spatially: they can only measure the microwave signal they receive at their orbital altitude, which is a mix of radiation originating basically from all throughout the atmosphere below. There are clever techniques that allow them to ‘focus’ on several different levels in the atmosphere, but still we’re talking about temperature averaged over several kilometers of height.
Finally, the upper air lacks the stabilizing effect of the thermal inertia of the ground (or water); so RSS and UAH are far more variable than are the members of the “instrumental record”, which measure the “2-meter temperature” directly.
So all in all, the satellite record is a much twitchier beast, hewing closer to your concept than the instrumental record does. That it matches as well as it does is a tribute to a hell of a lot of hard work.
Last word: as you note, the records do match well; they certainly tell the same basic story, which is that the planet is warming, and has been pretty consistently for the last 40 years or so. But if you look at a larger graph of the temperature records, you will see a lot of divergence in the higher frequencies that you can’t see in the small images above.
Perhaps you might find the differences in detail reassuring, so have a look at this graph comparing what I call the ‘Big 5’ temperature records. (And yes, this needs updating; I’ve kept up the graph itself, up until the recent government shutdown, but apparently haven’t shared it for a couple of years.)
Ignorant Guy says
#41 Dan DaSilva
You have really figured it out, haven’t you?. Either the scientific results agree and then it’s a conspiracy. Or else the results don’t agree and then the science “isn’t settled” and “there is no consensus”. That way either you win or the rest of us lose. And that’s why your argument is total bullshit.
I will chip in on the tin foil hat for DDS. Do we have a kickstarter open for that?