NOAA Hottest

NOAA has joined NASA in releasing data for global temperature this March, and not only is the NOAA value a scorcher, it’s the hottest temperature anomaly on record.


It’s easier to see the March 2016 value if we zoom in the time axis; here’s data since 1975:


The latest value is in red.

We also hit the hottest 12-month running mean:


Yes, global temperature has been “off the charts” lately. We get a better idea of the trend if we smooth the data:


The residuals from this smooth tell us that the latest value is also the highest departure from the trend:


This doesn’t necessarily signal a change in the underlying trend. The residuals, although highest most recently, still follow the normal distribution:


It’s not implausible that the latest value is the continuation of the present trend (which for the last 40 years or so has been very near linear) plus random fluctuation — which in this case is from the combination of known (el Niño) and unknown causes.

Any way you look at it, Earth is hot.

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16 responses to “NOAA Hottest

  1. The “point” deniers will make, of course in the future just as they have in the past, is that if we start from a _cherrypicked_ high point, how many values that high or higher would you expect to see in the ensuing years before the trend has time to assert itself? That is, I expect we will see the “New Pause” soon enough.

    • Chris O'Neill

      I expect we will see the “New Pause” soon enough.

      If you have no memory then there is no global warming.

  2. Very nice. The fact that March 2016 residuals are not so far out of line suggests that this El Nino, although surely stronger than the 1998 one, is not drastically stronger.

    • On a what if… how will the strength of this El Nino be evaluated if there is not a La Nina this fall? Wouldn’t it have more substantial knock-on effects 97-98 did?

    • Jeff B.
      The measures of El Nino suggest to me that this 2015/16 event is weaker than 1997/98 but it will be longer-lasting. MEI has been lower and failed to match 1997/98. Ditto SOI which has been less negative. NINO3.4 has been higher but that is simple temperature and there has been 18 years of AGW since 1998. Mind El Ninos are not so easily compared as this, but using the global temperature anomaly is even less appropriate.

  3. As Jeff noted the residual plot indicates that the current El Niño is not extraordinarily out of the park, once the warming signal is accounted for.

    The implication is that many (and eventually most) future El Niño events, which within the parameters of their physics may not be extreme in and of themselves, will nevertheless be even more extreme relative to the historic baseline. Consider what such a trajectory would mean for droughts and floods around the world, for heatwaves and ocean warming and for the consequent damage to ecosystems.

    And then consider what will happen when such El Niño extremes become the norm, as the warming signal continues to increase to such an extent that itself manifests as El Niño-type climate…

  4. HadCRU4 March anomaly released.

    1.063 C

    Highest ranking monthly anomaly in the record, statistical tie with last month (1.061).

    • Thanks, Barry. And almost time to see about April in UAH! ;-)

    • Me too, Doc. In the 1998 el Nino year April was the hottest month for UAH and RSS (and the highest monthly anomaly in those records until last February). A month does not a trend make and all that, but the result will be a bit of talking point for Climateball data junkies.

      • …and we are down a couple of ticks, at 0.71 C. Still pretty toasty, and good for 4th highest monthly anomaly, apparently.

        Looks like this El Nino is definitely on the downslope–not that that’s a shock.

      • Very likely 3rd highest anomaly in v5.6. It’s just possible there will be another uptick in tropospheric temps due to lag with el Nino.

        In order for 2016 to break the 1998 record year in UAH v6, the average monthly anomaly for the rest of the year has to be 0.38 C. Averaged monthly anomaly from May to Dec 1998 was 0.43.

        Jan to Dec 1998 neatly encompasses the highest 12 month running average in the UAH record. Average monthly temps of 0.37 C from now through September would beat that record (October 2015 – Sept 2016).