Global Temperature Trends

I last wrote on this back on 2nd Jan 2016. Today we have newspaper reports that 2016 is very likely to be hottest year on record. This may indeed be true. However, the reports persist in undermining the case for action on the environment by using discredited information. The terrestrial and oceanic surface measurement data [rightly] requires manual adjustment to avoid the “garbage-in-garbage-out” problem, and once given an inch the analysts doing this manual intervention have taken a mile – the historic record seems to change each time they present another graph. The only reliable global temperature data comes from satellites.

So, when the BBC reports that “October data indicates that 2016 is very much on track to surpass the 2015 level, which in turn broke the previous high mark set in 2014”, we should be sceptical.

If you want to make up your own minds, you can. The NOAA satellite data is available on the REMSS website. They give you the MSU/AMSU data and if you want to appreciate the scientific integrity of this then REMSS are happy to explain. (My data analysis is here). This shows that the 1998 average anomaly was +0.55°C, compared to +0.62°C for the first ten months of 2016. Even if the October reading of +0.35°C is repeated in November and December, 2016 will still average out at +0.58°C. 2016 is the first year to come anywhere near close to 1998.

The claim about 2015 and 2014 being record years is nonsense, based on the discredited terrestrial and oceanic surface data.  Using the satellite data you can see that the anomalies for 2014 and 2015 respectively were +0.27°C and +0.38°C. If you draw a straight linear regression through the data from Jan 1998 to Oct 2016 you find that temperatures are +0.33°C above the period Jan 1979 – Dec 1997, and increasing at +0.05°C per decade. That is not a typo. For the last 19 years global temperatures have been essentially static. The “pause” in Global Warming is a scientific FACT.

All of which means that the fuss over CO2 is an awful distraction from the task of conserving species and genetic diversity through conservation of habitat, very large bits of habitat. So, if and when Donald Trump concludes that the “CO2 emperor” has no clothes, he might just be giving an enormous boost to proper conservation.