More Records Threatened….

The NCDC August report is in! My favourite monthly nerdfest.

(As we can see, the trough situation in central North America has calmed down a bit since earlier in the summer. Actually, since the beginning of September, we’ve had near-record highs in my area. I think July and September switched places.)

This has been the second warmest August on record; the oceans alone are the warmest on record.

Another interesting thing about this month’s report is that we can now see the summary for the season (June-August):

The third warmest on record, behind 1998 and 2005. The oceans were the warmest on record for June-August.

We’re approaching the top of the charts here. It’ll be interesting to see the GISS data when it comes out in January. I wonder how long until we surpass 1998 and 2005?

(Of course, I’d much rather that we never surpassed those years…..but since it seems somewhat inevitable, on the track we’re on……’s pretty interesting to watch and wonder.)

Question: are El Niños becoming more common – didn’t we just have one in 2007? – and are they expected to do so with climate change?

Update (22/9/09): Thanks to Joel, who tracked down some citations for the ENSO question – according to part of the IPCC AR4, “there is no consistent indication at this time of discernible future changes in ENSO amplitude or frequency”.

Update (23/9/09): Due to some confusion in the comments, I’d like to clarify that the comment policy for acceptable citations does still apply when we’re discussing ENSO and temperature trends.


13 thoughts on “More Records Threatened….

  1. This has been the second warmest August on record;

    …according to NCDC. I think this qualifier is important. GISS has reported it as the 6th warmest:

    UAH has it as the 7th warmest:

    September is shaping up to be a scorcher though according to AMSU channel 5:

    [citation needed – effect of climate change on amplitude vs frequency of El Niños]

    [Can someone please confirm the GISS and UAH rankings? Both sites are tables of raw data instead of an explicit conclusion, so double checking is always good. -Kate]

  2. It would be neat to see those anomaly maps overlaid with the jet stream to see how well it lines up with the blue spots. [Just from looking at the daily weather maps in the newspaper, it almost always lined up with the isotherms – however, I’m not sure if there’s a way to find the average position of the jet stream over several months. Any meteorologists out there who can give it a shot? -Kate]

    [citations needed – El Niño]

  3. Can someone please confirm the GISS and UAH rankings?

    In GISS txt data (Global mean monthly land-ocean) you can see these anomalies for August:

    1998 – 0.63 ºC
    2003 – 0.63 ºC
    2006 – 0.60 ºC
    2005 – 0.56 ºC
    2007 – 0.54 ºC
    2009 – 0.52 ºC

    Therefore, I also understand that, according to GISS, August 2009 is the 6h warmest.

    It’s also 7th in Spencer and Christy’s UAH 2LT analysis of MSU channel 2, though I prefer GISS or HadCRUT for surface temperatures.

  4. The quoted rankings are correct; August was 6th-hottest in the GISS record, 7th in UAH. [Out of interest, what are the sources of error that cause the difference in rankings between organizations? -Kate]

  5. I don’t understand. You asked when we could see a new temperature record and I just quoted and linked a post from Tamino and another from RealClimate that addressed that issue. You can find the refrences you ask for in their posts. Regarding this issue of citations, I think you are misunderstanding what a scientific statement is (I didn’t make any). It is a pity for your readers, because Tamino’s post was very interesting. As for me, I guess I just shouldn’t waste my time trying to address your questions, given that there is such a strict filter for publication.

    [Tamino and RC are great, but citing them doesn’t adhere to our comment policy, which specifically says, “Blogs don’t count. Most reputable blogs will reference all of their scientific claims, so all you have to do is take the extra step of checking out their citations.” I wasn’t sure whether or not you were making a scientific claim, but you seemed to be citing and endorsing these blogs as references on ENSO. Someone could just as easily say “Here’s some good stuff on ENSO” and link me to WUWT, without arguing a certain viewpoint in their comment. As you can see, I have to apply this comment policy equally and fairly to all readers. Just because your comment is deleted doesn’t mean I disagree with it. -Kate]

  6. As far as I recall, my citing and endorsing (you are right that I’m also endorsing it when I quote it) was not related to ENSO (may I have mis-linked?):

    (1) Tamino does a statistical analysis of the probability of reaching a new record given the warming trend and the standard deviation in the last record.

    -> The actual mathematical analysis is done in the post itself, therefore, the only “checking out their citations” I can think of is linking the data sets he used. Would that be enough? Linking the HadCRUT and GISS data sets?

    (2) Graph from RealClimate showing the probability of a new record as a function of time.
    *The second link to RC was just where the graph came from (the RC post), so that anyone could check the context in which the graph was shown.

    -> The (original) source of the graph is the IPCC models output. Would that be enough? Linking the website where you can download the IPCC model outputs?

    I apologize for my previous tone. I aknowledge that the boundaries of moderation are not as clear-crystal as I pretended, and setting them is just up to you.

    [Sorry, I don’t know why I wrote ENSO instead of temperature records. These analyses are absolutely fascinating, and if they’re published in the future, by all means we can discuss their implications. However, I have yet to learn what a standard deviation is (or what a derivative is for that matter!) so I still can’t assess them on their coherence. The sort of citations I was hoping for were statements from GISS, Hadley, etc as to when the next temperature record was expected….I’m trying to find them right now but jeez those sites are hard to navigate.

    Tamino and RC are excellent blogs which often give great explanations of harder-to-read scientific literature and/or common knowledge. If you cite GISS and then say “here’s Tamino explaining what they mean and the process behind it”, that would be absolutely fine. In that context, you’re getting into communicating established science. As long as we’re not relying on non-peer-reviewed sources for answers. -Kate]


    “Given our expectation of the next El Niño beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.”

    I don’t know if you’re going to find anything more precise than that.

    [There it is! I knew I’d read that somewhere on the GISS site, but I had a heck of a time trying to find it. Thanks. -Kate]

  8. >[citations needed – temperature trends]

    Sheesh, a citation is impossible, because it is Tamino’s own calculations. It’s not a scientific claim, but what to expect if you assume if temperature is treated as a linear trend plus random noise.

    I guess now I understand why seemingly simple papers end up in peer reviewed journals. Like a Rahmstorf paper that graphs temperature over the past few years.

    [I already addressed this issue here and here. -Kate]

  9. > If you cite GISS and then say “here’s Tamino explaining what they mean and the process behind it”, that would be absolutely fine.

    I did the same think with Pielke, and you killed it. I think I had it split up in two posts though.

    [If I remember correctly (once a comment is deleted I can’t get it back), you posted the transcript of a speech by Pielke saying that natural disasters weren’t increasing, which was deleted. Then you cited one of his peer-reviewed articles in your next comment, which was fine. Also remember that if the science education source (as I’ll call it) comes to an opposite conclusion than the peer-reviewed source did, it sort of defies the purpose. I’ve had a few people pull that on me recently. -Kate]

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