Archive for December, 2015

The Pause: November 2015 Update

December 18, 2015

UAH v6.0 data for November were released a couple of days ago.  Here are updated graphs for various regions showing the furthest back one can go to show a zero or negative trend (less than +0.01C/ 100 years) in lower tropospheric temperatures.   For the second month of the climb towards the El Nino peak, there is still NO pause in the Northern Hemisphere trend.  However, in some regions the pause has lengthened.  Note: The satellite record commences in December 1978.  The entire satellite record is now 37 years long- 444 months.



nov globe

There has been zero trend for exactly half the record, (and for an increase in CO2 concentration of 37 ppm).

Northern Hemisphere:  No Pause

Southern Hemisphere:

nov SH

The Pause has lengthened again.  For more than half the record the Southern Hemisphere has zero trend.


nov tropics

The pause has shortened significantly.

Tropical Oceans:

nov tropic oceans

Unchanged from last month.

North Polar:

nov N Pol

The Pause has lengthened by two months.

South Polar:

nov S Pol

At -0.11C/ 100 years, the cooling trend is now undeniable.  For the whole of the satellite record, the South Polar region has had a negative trend.  So much for a fingerprint of warming due to the enhanced greenhouse effect being greater warming at the Poles!


nov aus

No change.

USA 49 states:

nov usa

One month longer!

The Pause lives!

Energy, Carbon Dioxide, and The Pause

December 16, 2015

Here’s an alternative way to view The Pause. Rather than analysing temperature trends over time, here I compare temperature with carbon emissions and carbon dioxide concentration, and on the way look at a couple of interesting facts that need highlighting.

I use energy data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015, CO2 data from NOAA, and Temperature data from UAH.

I need to get two important issues out of the way.

Firstly, total energy consumption. Figure 1 shows global energy consumption from all sources for 2014.

Fig. 1: Global Energy Consumption in Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent
energy 1965 2014

I aggregated coal, oil, and gas into one fossil fuel category. It is plainly obvious that fossil fuels are going to be around for a long time, unless there is a massive multiplication of (a) nuclear energy production, which may not appeal to some environmentalists, or (b) hydro-electricity dams, but that may not appeal either, and are there enough rivers?, or (c) windfarms and large scale solar, with storage, to produce 30 times what they produce now just to meet current demand. Cheap, reliable energy supply is going to depend on technological breakthroughs in the next 100 years and fossil fuels in the meantime.

Secondly, the recent increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is almost entirely anthropogenic.

Figure 2: CO2 concentration as a function of global energy consumption from 1965 to 2014:
Energy vs co2

99% of CO2 increase can be explained by energy use in all forms.

Now, before Global Warming Enthusiasts drool all over their keyboards, let’s look at how this relates to temperature.
I have calculated 12 month running means of CO2 concentration and TLT anomalies. From November 1979 to November 2015- CO2 concentration increased from 336.6 ppm to 400.57 ppm. What happened in this period to global lower troposphere temperatures- arguably a better indicator of global warming than surface temperatures because they show what the bulk of the atmosphere is doing?

Fig. 3: Tropospheric temperature anomalies vs CO2 concentration:
TLT vs CO2 78-15

43.5% of the temperature increase over the satellite era can be explained by/ is associated with the increase of about 64 ppm of CO2. The relationship is anything but linear, however the linear trend indicates, if warming continues at the same rate while CO2 increases by 100 ppm, that temperature anomalies will increase by about 0.63C. By this estimate, doubling CO2 concentration from 280 ppm (what many believe to be pre-industrial concentration) will result in a temperature increase from whatever the global temperature was 250 years ago, of 1.76C. According to HadCruT4, we’ve already seen about 0.8C increase since 1850, so we’re nearly halfway there! Not only that, but we’ll stay below 2 degrees of warming without the need for any emissions reductions!

But the temperature increase is not linear. The next plot shows the tropospheric temperature/ CO2 relationship while temperatures have paused.

Fig. 4: TLT vs CO2, from 363 ppm to 400 ppm:
TLT vs CO2 Pause

That, my friends is the true indicator of The Pause: while CO2 has increased by almost 37 ppm (out of 64 ppm), temperature has remained flat. The trend is +0.01C per 100 ppm CO2.

Finally, I’ve separated the record into three phases: before, during, and after the large step change in the 1990s culminating in the 1997-98 El Nino and the following La Nina.

Fig. 5: Temperature vs CO2 during the first phase, when CO2 increased by 20 ppm:
Phase 1

Fig. 6: Temperature vs CO2 during the second phase, when CO2 increased by about 14 ppm:
Phase 2
Fig. 7: Temperature vs CO2 during the last phase, when CO2 increased by about 29.3 ppm:
Phase 3

Therefore I conclude:

Barring a miraculous breakthrough, renewable energy has no hope of replacing cheap, reliable fossil fuels in the foreseeable future- thankfully!
Greenhouse gas increase is anthropogenic;

CO2 increase has probably caused some small temperature increase;

The relationship between CO2 and temperature in the satellite era is weak, with 58% of the CO2 increase occurring while temperatures have paused;

Therefore temperature change is probably caused mainly by natural factors;

Even if the long term “linear” trend continues, this rate is not alarming, and would lead to a temperature increase during a doubling of CO2 of less than 1.8C.

I find it amusing that Global Warming Enthusiasts pin their hopes for an end to The Pause on a strong El Nino- in other words, on natural variability, the very thing that is supposed to have been overwhelmed by greenhouse warming.

The end of the scam is nigh!

How Significant Is This El Nino?

December 3, 2015

For months we have been told how this is a strong El Nino, similar to the “Super El Nino” of 1997-98. How does it really stack up?

As data for sea surface temperatures are not available before 1950, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) data from 1876 are the best for long term analysis. In this post I am using SOI data from the BOM archive.

The Bureau uses sustained (three month mean) SOI values of 7 or less as an indication of El Nino conditions. This plot shows three month mean SOI values from 1876:

Fig. 1: Three month mean SOI values from 1876

3m soi
It is plain that as of November 2015 the three month mean is still nowhere near as low as it has been in several past El Ninos (and 1997-98 was not the lowest either!)

The next graph compares the length of El Ninos.

Fig. 2:  El Nino length

EN length -7

Plainly 1941-42 was the one to beat, and El Nino conditions will need to persist for another 18 months to compare. Another four to six months is more likely, and of course there could be a double up of another El Nino next year (as happened in the 1990s).

I next calculate the relative strength of El Nino conditions, by summing the (inverted) SOI values of all months in El Nino i.e. that have a three month mean of -7 or less.

Fig. 3:  El Nino cumulative strength

EN strength -7

Unless we get another six months of values below -20 we won’t beat 1997-98 into fourth place.

Of course, we are only in the seventh month of this El Nino- how does it compare with this stage of previous El Ninos?

Fig. 4: Three month mean SOI value for seventh month of cycle

EN strength 7th mth -7

The November 2015 value is the black dot- in sixth place.

Compared with the strength of previous El Ninos, the seven month value of this one is also in sixth place:

Fig. 5:  Cumulative strength in seventh month of cycle

EN strength 7th mth integral -7

Another interesting method of comparison is to change the definition of “El Nino” to “El Nino or Neutral” i.e. periods between La Ninas.

Fig. 6:  Length of El Nino or Neutral conditions

EN length EN or neut

Note the two periods of nearly seven years without La Ninas in the 1980s and 1990s, separated by a 12 month La Nina- immediately followed by the 1997-98 event, and then another five year period. 2014-15 is not unusual.

The integral of SOI values, as a measure of the strength of El Nino:

Fig. 7:  Cumulative strength, El Nino or Neutral conditions

EN strength EN or neut

Currently this event is in 12th place, and if it runs strongly for another six months it could sneak into seventh place.

Compared with other events, at the 22nd  month this event ranks fourth.

Fig. 8:  Cumulative strength at 22nd month of cycle

EN strength 7th mth integral EN or neut


The current El Nino event is not going to break any records, unless it continues for several years!

It is nowhere near the most intense, nor the longest, nor the strongest.

It cannot compare with the intensity of previous El Ninos, as measured by three month average values, such as in 1896, 1905, or 1983.

It cannot compare with the length of previous El Ninos, such as the 1941-42 event, or the series of years of El Nino and neutral conditions in the 1980s and 1990s.

Depending on the measure used, it is fourth or sixth strongest for this stage of the cycle. If it continues strongly, its final strength might reach seventh or perhaps even fourth place. But that is unlikely. According to the Bureau, this event will peak before the end of 2015, and finish by mid-Autumn.

Fig. 9:  Model outlooks for El Nino end

Despite the hopes of the global warming enthusiasts, this is just another moderately strong El Nino which may cause a spike in world temperatures in the first half of next year, but is nothing to get excited about.

Rain and Surface Temperature Part 3

December 2, 2015

I have recently shown how the difference between surface maxima for Northern Australia and Temperature of the Lower Troposphere (TLT) for Australia as a whole is very largely due to rainfall variation in the Northern Australian region alone.
Fig. 1:  Northern Australian rainfall compared with the difference between North Australian surface maxima and Australian TLT (120 month means)

Nth rain v nth diff 120m
Now I turn to comparison with another region: that of Tropical Land.  All but six degrees of Latitude of the Northern Australian region is in the tropics, so most of it will be covered by TLT for Tropical Land. How much influence does Northern Australian rainfall have on the difference between Northern Australian surface maxima and TLT for all land in the tropics around the globe?
Fig. 2: Northern Australian rainfall compared with the difference between North Australian surface maxima and Global Tropical Land TLT (12 month means)

Nth rain v tropic land diff 12m

Fig. 3: Northern Australian rainfall compared with the difference between North Australian surface maxima and Global Tropical Land TLT (decadal means)

Nth rain v tropic land diff 120m

Considering that the Tropical Land TLT measures temperature above large tracts of Africa, South Asia, and Central and South America as well as tropical Australia, this result is amazing: on a decadal timescale, Northern Australian rainfall variation alone accounts for the same proportion of the surface- tropospheric difference of northern Australia surface maxima- Australia TLT as northern Australia surface maxima- tropical land TLT.

Surface temperatures cannot be understood separately from rainfall, and especially tropical rainfall. We can also conclude that as the decadal comparison of North Australian rain and surface-atmospheric differences have similar results for both Australia and Tropic Land datasets, UAH Version 6.0 represents TLT in various regions very well. Further, if the rest of the world’s tropical land areas behave as Australia does, then the world’s climate is dominated by tropical rainfall.