Earth the same temperature now as 30 years ago — and decreasing

UAH Update for January 2011: Global Temperatures in Freefall


59 Responses to “Earth the same temperature now as 30 years ago — and decreasing”

  1. Holdren Says:

    This so-called UAH satellite temperature graph is an obvious denier fabrication meant to discredit the true giants of science and saviors of the human species; Al Gore, Hansen, Jones, Mann and the brave scientists of the UN IPCC.

  2. Doug Barrett Says:

    The graph is labeled as the “T (temperature?) departure from the average between 1981 and 2010”, which is the red line, where 1981 is the 0 mark? It’s a little busy right there but it looks right. Yet the average (red line) for 2010 is just below +.4 (perhaps +.38?) so it shows an increase in the delta (departure). How does this substantiate the title “Earth the same temperature now as 30 years ago”?

    The graph also labels a specific end point (blue line, not an average value) at Jan 2011 as -.01, while the corresponding beginning plot for 1981 looks to be around –1.4 or –1.5 which is colder (30 years ago).

    As for “and decreasing” in the article title, that seems to use the dip at the end of the graph (blue line) to make it’s point, which are all winter months, so it should be decreasing.

    Please explain this to me or let me know how I’m reading it wrong.

    If anything, this graph is showing me that the El Nino in 1998-99 really jacked with the temps because the enitre trend pattern aftwards (to the right) is completely different from before (to the left).

  3. Sunsettommy Says:

    Surely you jest!

  4. climate sceptic Says:

    true giants of science Al Gore,(politician) Hansen, (going to jail) Jones, (clmategate)Mann (going to jail)and the 7 Greenie policy makers of the UN IPCC.

  5. Lawrie Says:

    It’s OK. Global cooling is just another manifestation of global warming. It will cause more frequent and more powerful storms and longer droughts and snowy winters. It can be fixed by taxing the rich and giving money to despots.

  6. Robin Pittwood Says:

    Reality bites – the numbers are the numbers.

  7. Powers Says:

    Holdren, The fabrication started with the IPCC, an organization established by the UN for the sole purpose of establishing a link between Man and the erroneous THEORY of unstoppable Global Warming, until the global surface temperature data began to reflect the myth of the theory at which point the brave scientists you speak of came out of their monthly conference call and said “wait, wait we really meant to say unstoppable climate change not global warming.”

    This whole thing has been a masterful brainwashing campaign perpetrated on the unsuspecting public by the Government, scientific community and the primary media outlets for the sole purpose of justifying the extortion of billions of dollars from the private sector to the aforementioned perp’s. Your heroes starting with Al Gore and Hansen need to be locked up. You are aware that they are millionaires many times over thanks to this extortion scheme.

    Help me understand what you believe to be the motivation of us so called “deniers?”

  8. jblethen Says:

    Doug Barrett wrote, “As for “and decreasing” in the article title, that seems to use the dip at the end of the graph (blue line) to make it’s point, which are all winter months, so it should be decreasing.”

    The graph is planetary temperature, not northern hemisphere. It is summer in the southern hemisphere. Planetary temperature is sharply decreasing.

  9. Seven degrees Says:

    Holden a comedian on Saturday Night Live…or should be…

  10. Alfred Burdett Says:

    I haven’t done the regression analysis, but just eyeballing either the red or the blue line, I’d say that over the thirty years there’s a clear and statistically significant upward trend of about 0.1 C per decade. So what exactly are we supposed to conclude?

  11. Holdren Says:

    As a scientist, I doubt most of the people responding on this blog have the ability to understand the complexity of atmospheric science. You wish to ignore increased man-made carbon levels in the atmosphere and call the ravaging storms of late here in North America “typical” while many parts of the world are experiencing historic flooding. As readers of a certified denier’s blog you will probably accept solar activity as the culprit with your heliocentric bias.
    My guess is that you are Sarah Palin fans and watch Fox News. You probably also deny that our first great President in many decades, Barack Obama, is a citizen and blame foriegn workers for America’s unemployment issues. I guess it will take a 300 mph hurricane flattening your mobile homes to wake you up!!

  12. Doug Barrett Says:

    Dr. Blethen, thank you.

  13. jblethen Says:

    Re Alfred Burdett: We can conclude that after warming until ~1945 and cooling ~1945-1976 the Earth warmed again since the satellite record began (but still not as warm as the 1930s) and cooled again since 1998. The temperature data alone allow no conclusion about causation, other than the observation that AGW theory predicts monotonic warming. If you were to look at the 1934-2010 trend it would be cooling.

  14. Lazarus Says:

    I must be missing something fundamental here.

    How can the Earth be the same temperature as it was 30 years ago and decreasing if the last 10 years were the hottest on record?

    Is it just because you picked a single months temperature that you can say this?

  15. Mike Says:

    Interesting. The spike at the el niño reference lines up perfectly with the solar maximum that took place in 2000. All the more evidence that the sun drives the climate and not us puny carbon belches.

  16. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: what makes you think the last 10 years were the hottest on record?
    Before Hansen’s “adjusting” raw data show US temperature warmer in the 1930s and 1940s.

    There are many more examples.

  17. theresa Says:

    Global warming is a recycled myth, they have been interchanging fear for the past 60 years. Back in the 50’s they said there was an ice age coming in all of the newspapers, because our planet was in its cooling cycle. Then the earth entered its warming cycle, and they pushed the whole global warming propaganda.
    Now the earth is cooling again once more.

    Not now, OR ever has WARMING ever caused SNOW…and not just normal snow fall in the North East, but snow falling in climates that don’t support that sort of weather, IE. Arizona, Florida, etc…

    Think about it..the only ones making a profit off of this are all of the environmental lobbyists that mail out their letters asking for donations, or receive money from the gov. The whole polar bear crisis was a farce. The photojounalist who actually took that landmark image of the bear trapped on a tiny piece of snow, intentionally cropped out the rest of the image showing the rest of the glacier that was TOTALLY Fine.

    We are being used to make money, over and over. They use fear not data to control people. There are scientists who are coming forward and admitting they either changed or omitted data that didn’t fall into the story of global warming to keep the fears up.

  18. Boris Winterhalter Says:

    WRONG! This temperature graph is the most correct depiction of global lower atmosphere temperature. Roy Spencer together with John Christy are responsible for the development of the satellite technique for NASA at University of Alabama in Huntsville.

    Since 1979, NOAA satellites have been carrying instruments which measure the natural microwave thermal emissions from oxygen in the atmosphere. The signals that these microwave radiometers measure at different microwave frequencies are directly proportional to the temperature of different, deep layers of the atmosphere.

    If you want to know more about the method you could start with Googling “MSU temperature”.

  19. jblethen Says:

    What’s your point, Boris? Are you saying I should have said “Earth’s lower troposphere temperature” instead of “Earth’s temperature”? The lower troposphere is the layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface. This is what thermometers are supposed to measure. Or do you have a problem with UAH’s method of conversion of the MSU data to temperature? Independently, RSS MSU data show basically the same thing. Are they “WRONG!” too?

  20. m_astera Says:

    I’m as suspicious of anyone naming themselves a scientist as I am of those calling themselves artists. Despite making my living “doing” science and writing about science, I prefer to have others decide if they wish to call me a scientist.

    It has long seemed to me that there are far more serious problems in our environment than the beneficial gas CO2, and I’ve often wondered why these “heroes” don’t address pollution with toxic chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides, pharmaceutical drugs, and depleted uranium, and the uncontrolled release of genetically tweaked mutant organisms into the environment. Could it be because their corporate sponsors make money off of the above-listed poisons?

    BTW, I think Sarah Palin is a brainless twit, I haven’t watched TV in over twenty years, GW Bush was not a legally elected president, and the employment problems in the USA are due to offshoring of all the good jobs by the same corporate psychopaths pushing the AGW money-making scheme.

  21. Lazarus Says:

    jblethen says:

    “Lazarus: what makes you think the last 10 years were the hottest on record?”

    Because that is what the data says.

    So are you agreeing with me that IF the last decade was the warmest on record then the statement; “Earth the same temperature now as 30 years ago — and decreasing”, must be false?

  22. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: look at the graph. What part of the title of this post do you deny?

  23. David Barrow Says:

    In other words, you could draw multiple conclusions from this graph (or any graph of any data set). As they say on the mutual fund prospectus, “past performance is no guarantee of future results”. You can build all the computer models you want and interpret data any which way with different bias, weighting, etc. Some models predict the future (or do they?) and some don’t. You could send out a newsletter to 10,000 people, 5000 predicting an upwards trend, 5000 predicting a downwards trend. Which ever group gets the “wrong” prediction, forget them and take them off the list. Now, send out 2500 upwards trend letters and 2500 downward trend letters to the remaining 5000 people. Repeat this process a few more times. Now, with the remaining people that have gotten a 100% correct set of several newletters, you can off them a subscription to your super accurate prediction newsletter for a huge chunk of change.

    There just no way politicians and other swindlers would ever try to dupe you with a scheme like this, tweaked computer models, vague predictions that can’t be tested for many years, etc., especially if they are getting rich off your fear.

  24. TokyoTom Says:

    Dr. Blethen:

    You say that “AGW theory predicts monotonic warming”.

    With so many lying government-paid alarmist scientists – in the US and across the world – surely you can point me to which climate scientist said this, and where?

    Does the “AGW theory” “predict” that anthropogenic CO2 trumps all other climate factors and variability, and produces straight-line temperature increases related solely to increases in CO2?

  25. TokyoTom Says:

    Didn’t temps fell off a cliff after the 1998 el Nino peak as well, Dr. Blethen?

    Roy Spencer says that “this, too, shall pass, when La Nina goes away” — – so isn’t the question: when are we going to get back down to the lows of our Mt. Pinatubo and earlier troughs?

  26. Lazarus Says:

    I don’t deny anything I just question your conclusions.

    The data from the graph appears to show that the last decade was the hotter than the two before – there is a lot more of it above the 0.0 line.

    So it seems that you have just taken a single month in a very variable data set and looked back to see if some other time had a similar temperature to justify the claim that the Earth is the same temperature now as 30 years ago. But months this cool and a lot cooler have occurred many times in the previous data, but the over all trend has been warming.

    Call me a sceptic but don’t you just mean that Jan 2011 is the same temperature as some of the months around 1981?

    How you claim that global temperature is decreasing I have no idea unless you are using a similar technique of just picking the last few months – during an La Nina – and a series of cooler months has happened many times over the last 30 years in what has been an overall warming trend.

  27. jblethen Says:

    Tokyo Tom: all the AGW computer models predict roughly monotonic warming as CO2 increases because CO2 is the dominant variable programmed into the models. Look at any graph of, e.g., Hansen’s models’ predictions. The models can’t hindcast the 20th century variations, let alone the last two millennia.

    Lazarus said, “I don’t deny anything I just question your conclusions.” I made a simple observation of fact embodied in the title of this post. I made no conclusions.

  28. Doug Barrett Says:

    Dr. Blethen Wrote “Lazarus: what makes you think the last 10 years were the hottest on record? Before Hansen’s “adjusting” raw data show US temperature warmer in the 1930s and 1940s.,”

    You cited US temperatures rather than global temperatures.
    Here is a link showing global temperatures have clearly increased since the 1930’s.
    If you have data showing this is incorrect please post it. (Not trying to sound rude, I only spent about 5 minutes finding this link so there may be something out there.)

    Lazarus wrote: “So it seems that you have just taken a single month in a very variable data set and looked back to see if some other time had a similar temperature to justify the claim that the Earth is the same temperature now as 30 years ago. But months this cool and a lot cooler have occurred many times in the previous data, but the over all trend has been warming.”

    Here is a link to the raw data this graph was generated from:

    Go down a bit in the body where it says “Every month, John Christy and I update global temperature datasets (see here and here)”, click the “here” links to get the raw data in text format.

    Jan 2011 has not been updated into the raw data yet but it was on the graph so we’ll use the -0.01 value. If you compare Jan 2011 to Jan 1981, Jan 2011 was actually a little cooler than Jan 1981. However, if you look back in the data this is THE ONLY monthly comparison where this is true all the way back to the initial data set beginning Dec 1979.

    At this point I’m going to have to agree with Lazarus.

  29. jblethen Says:

    Doug Barrett: The NASA GISS, NOAA, and HadCRU data are continually “adjusted”. The first link I gave shows the U.S. adjustment. The second link shows many other examples The worldwide data are subjected to the same “adjustments”, which in aggregate cool the past data and warm the recent data. Read the linked examples and tell me how much you trust the adjusted data.

    In addition to the “adjustments”, the raw data themselves are increasingly corrupted since WWII by failure to properly account for the UHI (urban heat island) effect. Many thermometers are at airports or other urban sites. Instead of adjusting these data down they adjust the rural data up. There are many examples of this. Here’s but one: GISS Providence In Urban Temperature Adjustment?.

    Here’s a couple of links to read about this: A new must read paper: McKitrick on GHCN and the quality of climate data. About half the observed upward trend over land since 1980 is spurious:

  30. Doug Barrett Says:

    Dr. Blethen: So you are saying the prior data itself was incorrect and was adjusted in favor to show global warming. And yes, I went though your second link but found nothing saying why it was adjusted. Until I research their reasons and the validity of the adjustments, I can’t comment on that. I would however, ask you to revisit your answer to Lazarus showing (global) data you feel is accurate.

    As to the second part of my post? ” If you compare Jan 2011 to Jan 1981, Jan 2011 was actually a little cooler than Jan 1981. However, if you look back in the data this is THE ONLY monthly comparison where this is true all the way back to the initial data set beginning Dec 1979. ”

    I’m still going to have to agree with Lazarus.

  31. jblethen Says:

    Doug Barrett: you ask me to show data but the data have been shown to be corrupted by warm-biased “adjustments” and UHI. Catch 22. The only reliable data is satellite, but only started 1979.

    Second part of your post: would you prefer the title of this post be changed to “Earth a little cooler than 30 year ago — and decreasing”? The title is a simple (true) observation, nothing more.

  32. Doug Barrett Says:

    Dr. Blethen: I’ll agree with “The only reliable data is satellite, but only started 1979.”

    I’ll also agree with your second point. “Nothing more.”

  33. jblethen Says:

    Doug Barrett: although the land-based data are corrupted, some stations are less corrupted than others. Here is a global temperature analysis based on the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN) which concludes:

    [T]he average temperature from 2000 to 2009 was lower than the average temperature from 1930 to 1939 for all station types except Urban.

  34. Lazarus Says:

    jblethen says:
    ” I made a simple observation of fact embodied in the title of this post. I made no conclusions.”

    The title of the post is extremely misleading.

    Jan might be the same temperature as it was thirty years ago but Dec o.2 Degrees higher. So when you have to cherry pick a single data point what value has your observation other than to mislead? The average temperature of the last decade, and even more so the last year is nowhere near the same temperature as it was three decades ago.

    To say it is decreasing is also very misleading because it has only been decreasing for a few months from one of the highest points on record so this is to be fully expected. It had decreased this amount and more in 2009, 2008, 2006, 2004 etc. but there is a background of over all temperature rise on average. Do you do such a meaningless observation every time this happens?

    As a physicist (retired) you must understand how to evaluate data and that this is not a valid way to do it. Any truly sceptical person should call you out on this and wonder why.

  35. Lazarus Says:

    Doug Barrett

    I understand what you are saying and thanks for agreeing with me but it doesn’t really matter for the point of this post if or how temperatures were adjusted.

    jblethen makes no reference to any adjustment in his original post in support of his misleading observation. He supplies graphed data that even with a casual glance does not support his observation except in a very narrow and specific way. It is certainly not a scientific observation.

    Regardless of someone’s position on global warming, no one should accept such misleading observations without criticism.

  36. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: the title is true. It appears the truth upsets you.

  37. Lazarus Says:

    I am not upset. I just think a scientist should not make misleading statements.

    Most people who would read your blog headline would assume that it refers to global trends over decades not just comparing a few very select data points that you must know can provide no really meaningful information on climate change.

    What you have said is the truth but only through the very narrow interpretation as I have outlined previously and you have not denied.

    But the link to this post from Climate Depot says; ‘Warming goes Poof!’, Which is definitely untrue.

    What I don’t understand is if you are an honest person, why you appear so unconcerned that lay people such as myself might misinterpret what you say.

  38. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: What is misleading about the truth? Most people would look at the graph and make their own conclusions.

  39. Lazarus Says:

    You know very well it is misleading, deliberately now it seems. You are doing the same as saying the world is flat and not mentioning that you are only talking about some airfields on it.

    So truth or not, it is hardly the whole truth when it is only true for a very small subset of the whole and you make no mention of it in that context.

    Unfortunately most people will not make their own conclusions from a graph. Most will not get past the headline if they think they understand what it means. I suspect only a few will do as I have done and stop to look at the graph and wonder why what you appear to be saying, does not appear to be represented by it.

    I think your apparent deliberately failing to provide the context of your claim is wrong but I have little desire to discuss the integrity of this with someone – a scientist – who sees nothing wrong in it.

  40. jblethen Says:

    Lazurus: It appears you think “most people”, unlike you, are too stupid to read a graph and make their own conclusions. It also appears something about a simple fact bothers you in the extreme. It is what it is. Deal with it.

  41. Boris Winterhalter Says:

    My comment 02/06/2011 at 9:54 am “WRONG” was directed to Holdren who says:
    02/04/2011 at 6:19 pm

    “This so-called UAH satellite temperature graph is an obvious denier fabrication meant to discredit the true giants of science and saviors of the human species; Al Gore, Hansen, Jones, Mann and the brave scientists of the UN IPCC.”

  42. Lazarus Says:

    Too stupid or too busy the result is the same. People are easily misled by statements that cherry pick data out of context. I think it is you lack of integrity that you need to deal with.

  43. jblethen Says:

    ‘Sorry you feel that way about “most people”. I’ve cherry picked nothing, the graph shows all the data, you just can’t deal with it.

  44. Lazarus Says:

    Of course you have cherry picked. The Earth is not the same temperature as it was 30 years ago – not this month – because you only cherry picked last month to make that statement.

    Perhaps show some honesty and say what the Earth being the same temperature in Jan as it was 30 years ago even while global temperature have increase on average over that time means for climate change. In other words as a qualified scientist what meaningful information can you deduce from your very narrow subset of the data,(two points three decades apart), what conclusions can you draw from it?

  45. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus, you are boring and repetitive. The graph is true, the title is true, end of story.

  46. Lazarus Says:

    The story – the real story – is what does your analysis of the graph mean in context of climate change?

    Given your last dismissive answer I think the sceptics among us can conclude – ‘Not a lot’.

  47. jblethen Says:

    There was no analysis, just a true graph and a true title. Apparently you can’t handle the truth. What can we conclude from that?

  48. Lazarus Says:

    “If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a microtrend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,”

    John Grego, Professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina (not retired).
    ‘Statisticians reject global cooling’ – Associated Press 10/26/2009

  49. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus, what is it with you? You repeat the same thing again and again. How many more times? Nothing was cherry picked, nothing was trended. An observation was made. What part of that do you refuse to understand?

  50. wrangler Wayne Says:

    Nice graph. If you count the little squares above the 1980 reference line and also the ones below it, you find they appear to be in agreement to within a single grid square. So where in the #%$&* is the effects of increasing levels of CO2? There aren’t any. Unprecedented warming, that has to come from the book of scientific stupidity.

  51. Lazarus Says:

    wrangler Wayne

    I’m not sure what you mean. Most of the squares below are from 1979 to 1998. Most of the ones above are from 1999 to present. That would indicate a warming trend from 1979 to present. During that period Co2 level have increased.


    How about a deal? We both use your graph.

    You say; “Earth the same temperature now as 30 years ago — and decreasing.”

    I’ll say; “Earth’s temperature on average has increased over the last 30 years — and the trend is increasing.”

    Both are the truth according to the graph. We will leave it up to any truly sceptical people here to decide which statement is the most significant with regards to global warming. Deal?

  52. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: only one problem: the trend is not increasing, it’s decreasing.

  53. Lazarus Says:

    “Lazarus: only one problem: the trend is not increasing, it’s decreasing.”

    Can we all have some clarification and context of this statement please. Over what time period are you saying it is decreasing? Not the 30 years mentioned in your title surely?

  54. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: you said, “Earth’s temperature on average has increased over the last 30 years — and the trend is increasing.” The trend from the beginning of the graph (1979) to any subsequent year has been decreasing since 1998 when it peaked. The trend from 1979 to 2011 is less than the trend from 1979 to 1998. The trend has been decreasing for over 12 years. Your statement that “the trend is increasing” is factually incorrect.

  55. Lazarus Says:

    “The trend has been decreasing for over 12 years.”

    What a cracking cherry pick!

    Take the UAH data and plot it with a trend line. It can be done here;

    You are right that 1998 – 2010 gives a negative trend. But 1998 – 2011 does not. So since your graph actually shows some of 2011 it is you that is incorrect when the most recent data is considered.

    It is also worth noting that you really do need to cherry pick 1998, because such a statement is untrue for 1997 and 1999.

    So what you are really saying is;
    “The trend has been decreasing for over 12 years if you ignore this years data, but been increasing for 11 and 13 years.”

  56. jblethen Says:

    Interesting that you should mention “most recent data”. The data on wordfortrees ends with October 2010. You can see this by entering “2010 to 2011” in the graph, changing “processing step 3” to “normalize”, drawing the graph, and observing that the graph ends at 2010.833 (end of October). It doesn’t include data for November (colder than any preceding month in 2010) or December (colder than November, coldest month of the year). Nor does it include January (colder than December) and February (colder than January) of 2011. The trend graph you plotted for “1998 to 2011” leaves out the two coldest months of 2010 and the first two, colder still, months of 2011.

  57. Lazarus Says:

    I didn’t notice that but it matters not. The last few months of cooling due to La Nina will not affect the overall long term warming trend.

    Are you denying that 1997 – 2010 is a warming trend? (And every preceding year in the UAH record it seems).
    Are you denying that 1999 – 2010 is a warming trend?
    Are you prepared to admit that 1998 is really the only year except for the very recent that your claimed decline in global temperatures works?

  58. jblethen Says:

    Lazarus: here is a graph of the RSS satellite data from 1998 to 2011 (I don’t have a graph of the UAH data but the RSS and UAH records are very similar). I have nothing further to add to this post. You are welcome to the last word if you want it.

  59. Lazarus Says:

    As long as we both understand that the same graph started from either 1997 or 1999 would show a continuation of the long term warming trend.

    I’m just sorry you didn’t answer any direct questions but at least this exchange has provided some material for my own humble blog.

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