2010-10-05 15:25:37Watching the satellite temperatures
Robert Way

I've been keeping an eye on the satellite temperatures and RSS is updated for september now. Warmest september on record.


Apparently this counts as meaning "coolest month this year"


From what I can see on the original data I plotted up (might differ from the link above). the most recent 12-month period is 0.04 degrees behind the maximum 12 month period achieved during 1998.

... The coldest month of the year this year was still 0.525 and this 12-month average is including 3 months from 2009 which were listed below:     Therefore I think this year is gonna be a very close one and if it does reach the level then we can knock one argument off the top of list in some ways. 
2010-10-05 15:46:26It'll be really close; possible photo finish
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Well, Motl IS from Reverse-World.

The Yooper



2010-10-06 06:34:49


So, Robert.  Let me see if I have this straight.  The coldest month of the year was also the warmest September on record? Impressive!

UAH, formerly every skeptic's favorite temperature record, also has September as the warmest on record.



2010-10-06 10:18:16Comment
Robert Way

UAH's 12 month running mean shows that currently we are tracking 0.01 behind the warmest 12-month period (1998).

That's prettttty close...

If the next month's anomaly is 0.481 or above then we will surpass the 12-month running mean from 1998. Also if the average of the next month is 0.406 then we will also see 2010 as the warmest year on record... Kinda brings me back to Goddard et al saying how the huge cooling was coming associated with the La Nina... its been like 2 months and no sign yet...
2010-10-06 11:22:00La Nina cooling
John Cook


I've been expecting cooling too as it's a pretty strong La Nina. Doesn't global temperature lag ENSO by a number of months though? I forget how many - that disastrous McLean paper said something like 7 months (give or take, I can't remember).

Anyway, I'm not holding my breath that 2010 is the hottest year on record. It may be but it depends on how much temperatures dip in the last few months. I doubt it will be hottest on record for the HadCRUT record either way in which case skeptics will continue to use that record to support the "1998 is hottest year on record" argument. They have too much affection for that argument to let it go that easily.

2010-10-06 13:09:20comment
Robert Way

hey... I'm just hoping for a month above 0.481 so we can officially say UAH shows 2010 as the hottest on record (12-month running means). That's a very effective comeback. 
2010-10-06 13:10:53there is a lag
Robert Way

there is a lag sure but according to Dr. Spencer the earth just "stubbornly" refuses to cool
2010-10-06 15:34:07NCDC
James Wight

In NCDC, if the next four months average 0.52 degrees then it will break the calendar year record. If the same four months average 0.58 degrees then 2010 will break the 12-month record. The 12-month mean came very close to breaking the record in July, but it's now started dropping.
2010-10-06 22:43:02
Mark Richardson

If July gets +0.7 C in HadAT2 radiosonde, then it will be the warmest 12 month period recorded too, at 850 hPa. A little higher up, at 700 hPa it's about the warmest on record (rounding to 2 sf it's +0.72 C up to latest data and +0.72 C for 12 month average over '98).


We've got temperatures as high as the '98 peak despite the significantly weaker El Nino (and a cooler average MEI over the last decade than in the '90s), and during the deepest solar minimum in a century. Also, there's evidence suggesting a drop in stratospheric water vapour which may or may not be cyclical/natural.

Despite those cooling factors, temperatures are within touching distance of '98. This adds confidence that we'll break the '98 record within about 5 years when we combine an El Nino with a solar maximum and another ~0.1 C of greenhouse warming.



Of course, knowing their luck we will also get hit by an asteroid that blocks out the Sun for a year and they will happily rant about how this disproves the greenhouse effect and shows we were always due global cooling!

2010-10-07 04:08:46Comment
Robert Way

It seems these El Nino events really affect satellites more than the ground measurements... I think I read somewhere about this before but perhaps I should ask a ph.d in remote sensing.... ahem... ned...
2010-10-07 04:17:27


Robert writes:

... ahem... ned...

Oho, you noticed.  Nice!

Sorry, I don't do "atmosphere," and don't work with MSU/AMSU.  I mostly work with visible/infrared sensors looking at the surface (land, oceans, ice).  Ideally, I'd like to do away with that pesky atmosphere entirely.

Taking off my professional hat and speaking just as a somewhat informed outside observer, though, you're entirely right -- ENSO shows up as a lagged signal in the lower troposphere.  We ought to be nearing the end of that lag, though, and seeing temperatures start to drop ... any month now.

2010-10-07 08:35:46
Robert Way

Visible/infrared sensors on Land, oceans and ice eh?

My background is remote sensing of the cryosphere from visible/infrared/radar and that is kinda what I spent a lot of my undergrad doing. Funny that you do ice stuff too...

I've heard before about this lagged signal in the lower troposphere but there was something else I thought I heard from a scientist one time (on youtube or something) regarding satellite measurements during El Ninos... perhaps something to do with increased humidity being measured by the sensors also in the tropics... can't really remember the specifics though. If you don't mind me asking, what sort of Land/ice work do you do? (I'll leave oceans out because I have not a clue about remote sensing of them).
2010-10-08 04:11:14


Robert, I have a pretty long history in remote sensing, and have worked at least a bit on almost everything (except the atmosphere, and no classified/military projects) at one time or another.  The cryosphere part has been pretty minor, basically providing some general remote sensing expertise for glaciologists in my department. 

I'd sort of prefer not to give too many specifics, just to preserve my anonymity (though I've probably given away enough in various comments all over the site such that a determined sleuth could identify me).  It's not that I have some particular concern, just a general desire not to have random denialist nutcases harassing me or badgering my employer or my family if I wrote something that offended them.

This concern was amplified when Pete Ridley showed up on the site.  He has a long history of engaging in pretty creepy, "stalker-type" behavior elsewhere.  Here's an example of his comments on another blog:

  • What I find much more worrying that our disagreement on human made climate change or religion is that in a matter of 4 hours I was able to track you down over the Internet. I ended up in that short time knowing your full name, what you look like, where you work, who your wife and child are, what they look like, who are their friends and what their religious beliefs are and many of the activities you and they engage in. I started this search because of my anger over your accusations but my findings shocked me. Not anything that I found out about you, but about how easy it was for me to get all the details that I did in such a short time. If I was a vindictive individual I could have confronted you not simply on the Internet in debate but at you home or work in person or by proxy (I have family living very close to you). 
Fortunately Pete seems to have disappeared from SkS lately, but that left me even more determined to try to cling to some shred of privacy.
2010-10-08 05:42:51Comment
Robert Way

Yeah I understand why anonymity is important to some degree. I hide my name over at WUWT for good reason but I feel pretty safe here at SKS. Unfortunately if someone wants to know who I am or my life story it is pretty easy to find out. Sometimes I worry that people around me will realize just how involved I am in the climate change debate and perhaps look at me a little differently.
2010-11-07 18:08:38
Glenn Tamblyn



Wow man. "Sometimes I worry that people around me will realize just how involved I am in the climate change debate and perhaps look at me a little differently"

Apart from the creepy stalker types, if this concern of yours is something you feel more generally about people around you, what does that say about where we are now! I assume you are speaking from a US perspective, but even so.

I can't support you physically in your street & neighbourhood because I live on the other side of that pond called the Pacicfic. But we can all support you emotionally. Keep yout pecker up man. We are the white hats.


2010-11-09 02:59:19thanks for the kind words
Robert Way

Thanks for the kind words...

The truth is that I'm pretty young so sometimes I think that there are friends who would undoubtedly look at me very differently if they knew the degree to which I have been involved in all this. That is one of the issues with trying to separate work life with private life so much I suppose. Lets just say my private friends are much more focused on having a "good time" and I like having that escape, but issues such as climate change are not ones we ever have or will discuss because it can be nice to not always have to think of those things.

Hence why keeping a low profile is sometimes preferable.