We now have data for global temperature at earth’s surface (which is where we live) through June of this year, from both NASA and NOAA. Graphs are a lot less messy if we convert monthly data to yearly, simply by computing annual averages. This year (2015) isn’t complete yet, but I’ll plot the 2015-so-far averages anyway, to give you an idea of how the year is shaping up compared to previous years. I’ll also put them on the same baseline, more easily to compare the two. Without further ado, here’s the result:


Those in denial of global warming, its human causation, and/or its danger, have been trying their best to convince everyone that global warming has mysteriously “paused” or exhibited some “hiatus.” They do so by turning their focus on an all-too-short time span:


The frailty of their belief is even more obvious if we zoom in on the data since 1970, and add trend lines (by linear regression) estimated from data since that time:


The data during “denial time” continues to follow the trend, plus the same amount of up-and-down fluctuation that global temperature has always shown, and always will. But if you’re in denial, it’s all too easy to see random fluctuation as a meaningful pattern whether true or not. If you have an ideological motive not to believe in global warming, it’s difficult not to do that.

The last two years have made the “pausemaniacs” a bit hot under the collar; 2014 set a new record for hottest year, and — as is clear from the data — 2015 is well on its way to break that record. That leaves “pausemaniacs” only two choices: either ignore what’s happening recently at earth’s surface (where we live), or just refuse to believe the data, usually based on slandering the scientists who provide it. You know, all those scientists from NASA and NOAA who have spent their lives studying climate.

Of course to make that work, it’s not enough to accuse just NASA and NOAA scientists of being lying fraudsters, you also have to believe that of scientists from the meteorological office of Great Britain, and from the Japan meteorological agency, and yet more. Once you start down the slippery slope of making global warming into a giant conspiracy, you can’t stop with just the U.S.

But I digress.

Since 1970 global temperature has marched steadily upward (together with those up-and-down fluctuations that are always happening). The warming rate is, according to NOAA data, 0.0166 +/- 0.0027 deg.C/yr, while using NASA data it’s 0.0174 +/- 0.0027 deg.C/yr. The two estimates are well within each other’s confidence intervals. Applying the same tests used here, where I demonstrated just how non-existent the non-existent “pause” is, we find no evidence that the rate has changed since 1970.

Most land area is in the northern hemisphere while the southern is mainly ocean. The oceans have a much greater heat capacity than land, so it takes more heat energy to raise their temperature. On this basis, scientists predicted quite a while ago that the northern hemisphere would warm faster than the southern.

In addition to global temperature, both NASA and NOAA also provide estimates for earth’s two hemispheres separately, which enables us to check the predicted hemispheric difference in warming rates. Here’s the entire time span for the southern hemisphere:


Notice that it covers less total range than the global data. Here it is since 1970:


NOAA lists the year-so-far as hotter than any previous year, but NASA doesn’t.

Here’s the data for the northern hemisphere (where most of us live):


Note that it covers more total range the the global data. Here it is since 1970:


Not only do both data sets show this-year-so-far hotter than any previous year, they do so by a large margin.

It turns out that the southern hemisphere is warming at a “mere” 0.0109 +/- 0.0026 deg.C/yr according to NOAA data, 0.0109 +/- 0.0020 deg.C/yr according to that from NASA. The northern hemisphere, however, is warming considerably faster, at 0.0220 +/- 0.0030 using NOAA data, 0.0238 +/- 0.0034 deg.C/yr using NASA data. The larger error ranges for the northern hemisphere are because, dominated by land rather than ocean, it shows larger fluctuations than the southern.

NASA also provides zonal data, to inform about how different latitude bands are heating up. This enables us to check another prediction from long ago, that the Arctic would warm much faster than the globe as a whole. NASA’s zonal data are already annual averages, so they don’t include 2015-so-far data, but here is the data for the Arctic region (latitudes 64N to 90N):


As expected, the Arctic is warming quite a bit faster, at a whopping 0.0486 +/- 0.0093 deg.C/yr, more than twice the global average.

As I’ve often pointed out, global temperature is hardly the only evidence of man-made global warming. There’s lots. Really, a massive amount. If global warming were some hoax, a conspiracy concocted by the scientists who keep track of temperature data to bilk Exxon-Mobil out of their hard-earned billions and billions, then the lack of global warming would surely show in the vast bulk of that non-temperature data. But the truth is, that the vast bulk of that non-temperature data doesn’t contradict man-made global warming, rather it confirms it.

Yet for some reason (can you guess?) far too many politicians, especially Republican candidates for President, either say outright that they’re not convinced, or say outright that it’s a fraud. Funny how many of them start by saying “I’m not a scientist, but …”, then refuse to believe the scientists. By which I mean climate scientists, not some retired physicist or engineer.

When it comes to global warming, we know. It’s real. It’s man-made. It’s dangerous.

If you’d like some more information, I recommend this video by Kerry Emanuel, both informative and entertaining.

46 responses to “NASA and NOAA

  1. An odd point perhaps, but if you are going to look at annual averages, doing so in the middle of a year is always going to be an issue. However using a 12 month moving average of monthly anomalies avoids this and handles the annual variation.

  2. “Of course to make that work, it’s not enough to accuse just NASA and NOAA scientists of being lying fraudsters, you also have to believe that of scientists from the meteorological office of Great Britain, and from the Japan meteorological agency, and yet more. Once you start down the slippery slope of making global warming into a giant conspiracy, you can’t stop with just the U.S.”

    That doesn’t seem to have fazed the deniers one little bit.

  3. Reblogged this on Hypergeometric and commented:
    Love the “But I digress.”

  4. Ditto Eli’s comment about using a moving average.

  5. I actually needed to pull the reblog and simply put in a link because I wanted to include Professor Emanuel’s presentation and could figure out how to have both the reblog and that.

  6. Jeffrey Davis

    What’s the cause of that enormous hump and collapse of temps c. 1940? WW2? If it were WW2 why is it so pronounced in the S. Hemisphere?

    • It’s not clear that effect is “real”, but I’ll defer to those who might know better. I have seen an explanation that it had to do with an increased sampling by naval ships deployed around the world, but that their means of taking ocean temperatures was biased high, at least initially, since it was taken within the ship inside water intake pipes. I think they remedied it. There were no control measurements available otherwise.

      • TrueSceptic

        Yes, that seems to be the case. HADCRUT4 incorporates the revised ocean temperatures and you can see that the “collapse” is largely eliminated, as you can see in this WoodforTrees example. I haven’t seen a convincing explanation of the long increase until the 1940s, though.

    • The hump and collapse in the 1940s is most likely related to the fairly big El Nino at that time.


  7. Yet again, thanks for another excellent post.

    Couldn’t be a better time for the supposed pause to go bust so definitively. How many will smell the proverbial coffee?

  8. Interesting video. I’m amused at how much I agreed with:
    Nuclear power is very promising and safer than other choices.
    There is a low but significant chance of climate catastrophe.
    If climate change is not catastrophic it will still be expensive.
    We need more work on carbon capture, particularly from the air. I’ve seen cost estimates as low as 15 euros/ton. I don’t really believe that, but until we get some pilot plants going it’s hard to tell.

    • Would that be ton of carbon or ton of CO2? Makes a significant difference in the operational cost estimates (a molecule of CO2 masses 3.67 times an atom of carbon).

      • I don’t remember. Considering the lack of faith I have in that number, it really doesn’t matter. We’ll learn soon enough if we try to do it.

      • Fairly sure it’s CO2, other GHGS are not captured AFAIK.

      • So if it’s a ton of CO2, not a ton of C (using tonnes rather than tons here) that would actually make it about 55 euro/tonne of C. So 55 bn euro per gigatonne. Yikes. And that’s a “low” estimate.

        And at that, cheaper than the alternative, unless the alternative is to quit spewing the stuff. That might be cheaper.

      • In many cases it probably would be cheaper not to emit the carbon dioxide, but perhaps in some cases not.
        Wikipedia says a large passenger jet emits 100g carbon dioxide per km per passenger, or one ton per 10000 km trip. I think I could afford a $20 carbon surcharge on such a trip. If it ends up costing $2000, maybe we switch to hydrogen.

  9. Off-topic (mostly)
    This is a request for data analysis, or maybe for a new thread.
    Re: Climate sensitivity, specifically Roy Spencer’s.

    Spencer put a couple of posts on his blog saying that CS is 1.5° C & 1.3° C. He insists this is evidence of how low CS is, & his different methods confirm that.

    My problem is that both these methods appear to ignore the longer term feedbacks like lower albedo due to ice melt & Arctic methane release. We’ve had small amounts of both that have no doubt fed back on temps, but those are only small fractions of the eventual positive feedbacks. Of course water vapor feeds back quickly, so Spencer’s measuring that. But I don’t see the longer-term feedbacks.

    It appears that he’s calculating transient climate response, & since equilibrium climate sensitivity is typically nearly double TCR, a TCR of 1.5° would be decidedly un-controversial, & consistent with ~2.8° C, an accepted value.

    He give clues by saying that the “Karlized” (the T Karl paper where buoy temps were adjusted, etc) temps still mean a low CS. Well, DUH!!

    He brags about using the past 50 years of temps & CO2 rises as though that’s a large sample. Puh-leeze!

    Calculating CS during a PDO/IPO positive warming cycle vs a PDO/IPO negative cooling cycle should make NO difference to ECS, & CERTAINLY a few temps over a decade or so shouldn’t make a difference! 50 years isn’t nearly long enough. ECS needs to be assessed over much longer times.

    I’m asking you because of your skills with math, statistics, & general critical thinking (which are orders of magnitude more than mine). I asked Sou too, but she hasn’t answered me yet. :(

    BTW, my VERY primitive back-of-the envelope calculations are consistent with a CS of ~2.8° C. When Royer et al looked at CO2 & temps over the entire 543 M yrs of the Phanerozoic, they got ~2.8° C (per Richard Alley’s lecture).

    It’s accepted that doubled CO2 ALONE causes ~1.1° C warming. If H2O vapor feedback doubles that, you get to ~2.2° C. Reduced albedo due to snow & ice melt, plus methane, should easily get you to ~2.8° C. The cloud feedback is most difficult, but I’d argue it’s very close to zero.

    The next back-of-the-envelope calculation is to recall we’ve warmed ~0.8° C so far with ~40% higher CO2. The solar component of that is controversial, but multivariate analyses suggest it’s ~5%. So 0.76 x 2 = 1.52, & you’re again at ~1.5° C for TCR, which corresponds to an ECS of ~2.8° C.

    So 3 different approximations of ECS give you roughly the same number. I believe Spencer is wrong & (of course!) believe I’m right.

    PG Antioch

    • Franky, and with respect, I don’t see how the climate sensitivity analysis of Schmittner, Urban, Shakun, Mahowald, Clark, Bartlein, Mix, and Rosell-Melé (“Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions
      of the Last Glacial Maximum”) can be topped. (Also see Urban, Holden, Edwards, Sriver, and Keller, “Historical and future learning about climate
      sensitivity”.) That is a fully Bayesian analysis. The posterior they obtain is the definitive statement on climate sensitivity. I have several big problems with much of this sensitivity discussion. First, and worst, the Spencers — and some geophysicists, mind you — act as if the expected value of that posterior density is the only thing that matters. I have not looked at Spencer’s work but I bet the narrow, low range he gets is from the uncertainty in the mean of climate sensitivity based upon some set of data, which is irrelevant and misleading. My bet there is that any proper assessment of climate sensitivity is necessarily going to have a long tail. Second, climate sensitivity is generally assumed to be linear and independent of mean temperature above pre-industrial. Any climate text will describe how climate sensitivity is itself temperature dependent. The implication of a Spencer-like analysis is that “We’re fine and things won’t get (much) worse.” Yet we already have nearly a degree of warming from preindustrial and (even) going (just) another degree ain’t chump change. Sensitivity will probably be different there, we don’t know how much. Third, climate sensitivity is conditional upon where it is measured. The climate sensitivity for the oceans is not the same as sensitivity over land. The globe’s climate sensitivity is a weighted average of the other two, with oceans having the dominant effect. Just a peak at Schmittner, et al shows land climate sensitivity is much higher than oceans, so expressing sensitivity as a global one, although good geophysics, understates what’s happening on land, where most of us live and, therefore, where policy should be based upon. That these points are not made in these armchair denialist treatments is one of the reason why I get rapidly disgusted with them and consider rebutting them a waste of time and effort that could be applied to solving the problem.

      • Actually, although Schmittner et al disputed some of Fyke’s and Eby’s contradiction of “Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum”, they conceded that F&E may have a point, and that the ECS in “Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum” is too low.

        Hansen et al also point out that Schmittner et al used a low estimation of the LMC cooling (pp 22-23). Overall I suspect that Hansen’s et al 3 ± 1°C will be close to the mark, and that for longer-range definitions of ECS it might even be a little more…

  10. Why were the ’40s so hot and why was so much hotter in the northern hemisphere?

  11. I just want to point out that there are branches of engineering that overlap with climate science, so you can be both.

  12. “Once you start down the slippery slope of making global warming into a giant conspiracy, you can’t stop with just the U.S.”

    And you can’t stop with just climate scientists either. You have to include the world’s governments and national scientific academies. The ‘mainstream media’ too, of course.

    It’s easy to see that with each additional co-conspirator the probability that the ‘Big Conspiracy’ is true necessarily diminishes. Paradoxically though, in the conspiratorial mindset at least, the addition of each new co-conspirator seems to reinforce the validity of the existing belief.

  13. Another excellent post. Thanks.

    As for those non-temperature-record indications of CC, I think they’re a terrific way to communicate with newcomers. I often point people to phenology, the study of natural plant and animal cycles. We have a wealth of data regarding things like when ponds freeze or thaw in New England, when cherry blossoms bloom in Japan, animal migration patterns, etc. that cover not just decades but often centuries. When doing a presentation to a lay audience, all I have to do is point out some of these details and then ask if the conspiracist deniers really think the plants and animals are part of the plot. It makes the point and usually gets a small laugh out of the audience.

    • Agree this should be done more often. Lots of interesting stories to tell too (unsyncing of predator-prey or flower-pollinator cycles).

  14. I came to a rather disturbing realization. The reason the denialati see conspiracies and cheating everywhere is because it is how they would act. They wouldn’t hesitate to falsify data, distort or outright lie if it furthered their agenda–and they think everyone else is as corrupt and immoral as they are. They cannot comprehend that some people are simply motivated to work long hours because they want to understand–and that were they to lie, they’d never understand. Sad.

  15. Timothy (likes zebras)

    I think earlier in the year I made some snarky comment about expecting to hear “No warming since 2014” from fake sceptics sometime in the early 2020s, but I guess I will have to revise that expectation to “No warming since 2015”.

    C’est la vie.

    • Indeed. As Nancy Griffith put it, “It’s a hard life, it’s a hard life, it’s a very hard life.”

      (Please no embedded video. Watch video here)

      Tangentially relevant in several ways, possibly encouraging in general, and a reminder that some things actually do change for the better.

  16. Horatio Algeranon

    “denial time”

    aka “The Decade of Denial”
    aka “The Period of Pause”
    aka “The Hightimes of Hiatus”
    aka “The Era of Error”
    aka “The Eon (or Epoch) of Etcetera”

    aka “The Age that Will Bury US”
    — rendition of The Age of Aquarius (5th Dimension)

    When Will Soon is in the Random House
    And stupid is as stupid does
    Then rays will guide the climate
    And Lords will steer the stars
    This is the dawning of the Age
    That will Bury Us, the Age that Will Bury Us
    Will Bury Us, Will Bury Us
    Clime and sea misunderstanding
    Ignorance is just astounding
    Tons more falsehoods and derisions
    Tony having dreams and visions
    Sea-ice crystal recreation
    And the mind’s tergiversation
    Will Bury Us, Will Bury Us
    When Will Soon is in the Random House
    And stupid is as stupid does
    Then rays will guide the climate
    And Lords will steer the stars
    This is the dawning of the Age
    That will Bury Us, the Age that will Bury Us
    Will Bury Us, Will Bury Us

    Let Will soon shine, let Will Soon shine in
    Will Soon shine in, na na na na na….

  17. jgn, if I remember correctly, Beowulf was the hero, Grendel the monster, and Grendel’s mother the monster waiting in the background.

    • That’s what I meant…stupid me, my attention was not on what I was typing.

      Hopefully my point got across anyway.

    Looks like 2015 will be the first point in the “still warming” camp.

  19. I find it curious that from the eyeballing the graph perspective taking away the 1998 spike alone is good enough to make the ‘denial time pause’ period look much like the warming that preceded it. The extreme hottest year of it’s time has been the foundation of “warming has stopped” claims – how can anyone beat science like that?

  20. Adding to the seemingly never-ending discussion of “The Hiatus”, there’s now this:,
    M. Wei, F. Qiao, J. Deng, “A Quantitative Definition of Global Warming Hiatus and 50-Year Prediction of Global-Mean Surface Temperature”

    • Relies far too heavily on using past variation to define a physical “cycle” and using that–now physical–cycle to “predict” future variation because of that cycle for me to buy it. Way too circular for solid prediction in the absence of a real physical basis. But we’ll see, I guess.