Can We Predict Future Temperatures? Update

Ken Stewart, 5 April 2011

Updated 15 April, 1 May 2011

[The March 2011 UAH anomaly has come in at -0.1C, which makes the 12 month mean +0.27C.  0.02 out- not too bad!

My prediction for April is +0.23C.]

This is an interim post to flag an upcoming article.  I am working on an hypothesis- still in the “prototype” stage- concerning the relationship between long term SOI values and global temperature anomalies.

As a test of the predictive capability of this hypothesis, I have made an estimate of the running 12 month mean of the global anomalies to March 2011.  The estimate will be checked against the March figure to be announced on the UAH website at http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt in the next few days.

I estimate the 12 month running mean of UAH anomalies will be 0.29.   If this is wrong, I’ll have to rework my calculations.  If right, I will continue to fine tune formulae so as to make further estimates.

Here is the background.

This is the SOI since 1876 inverted, to show the relationship with temperature more clearly.

The inverted values show the SOI, and, this hypothesis will show, temperatures as well, trending down.

The running 12 month mean of SOI values with the UAH figures which begin in 1979.

The strong possibility is that a new 10-12 year cycle of El Ninos will begin after the current La Nina finishes.

The 1979 – 2011 plot clearly shows the 5 to 7 month lag in temperatures.

When the SOI is advanced 7 months, the match is close- but still does not explain the high temperatures of 2010.  (Large volcanic eruptions in 1982 and 1991 depressed temperatures for years afterwards.)

Here is the running mean for a decade of SOI values- 120 months.  The Great Climate Shift of the late 1970s is clearly visible, showing the massive change to predominantly El Nino conditions.  Note also the repeated rise and fall over several decades, and what I call “the many horned beasts” of El Nino peaks (just to be a bit melodramatically Biblical).

I am interested in the apparent lag between these means and global temperatures- between 10 and 12 years.  My hypothesis is that by interacting with current SOI values through thermal inertia of the oceans, decadal means influence global temperature, to the extent that temperatures can be estimated with some accuracy 7 months in advance, and temperature trends for the coming decade can be indicated for a variety of scenarios.

This hypothesis can be tested and refined by comparing with monthly global means, which is why the March UAH anomaly is crucial.

Time will tell.

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4 Responses to “Can We Predict Future Temperatures? Update”

  1. cementafriend Says:

    Ken, Roy Spencer has updated the UAH. The average Apr 2010 to Mar 2011 is 0.29 but not sure if it is the running mean. Looking at the previous graph it can not be far off.
    The SH will get colder from now probably lots of snow in the ski fields. The big test will be what happens in the NH. Wil they have a cool summer?

    • kenskingdom Says:

      Yes I’m aware of Roy Spencer’s update, and if it’s the same as the “official” UAH it puts the 12 month mean at +0.27- not far off. But I’m waiting for the “official” numbers to go up on the UAH site as that’s the dataset I’m using. Roy Spencer’s figures are close but slightly different. But yes, I’m greatly encouraged, as this means I can now predict likely 12 month means to August.

  2. cementafriend Says:

    Apologies Ken, I messed up my calculation. I have now put Dr Roy’s figures in a spreadsheet. The average of the 12 months to the end of March is 0.15C, the 13 month figure is 0.23. The big drop in the tropics anomaly figure from Jan 10 to Mar 11 of nearly 1C is interesting

  3. Debate blog - Julio Says:

    Interesting your load and your theory.

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