UAH Global Temperature Update July, 2011: +0.37 deg. C

August 1st, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

How ironic..a “global warming denier” reporting on warmer temperatures 😉

The global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly for July, 2011 increased to +0.37 deg. C (click on the image for a LARGE version):

Even though the Northern Hemisphere temperature anomaly cooled slightly in July, as did the tropics, warming in the Southern Hemisphere more than made up for it:

2011 1 -0.010 -0.055 +0.036 -0.372
2011 2 -0.020 -0.042 +0.002 -0.348
2011 3 -0.101 -0.073 -0.128 -0.342
2011 4 +0.117 +0.195 +0.039 -0.229
2011 5 +0.133 +0.145 +0.121 -0.043
2011 6 +0.315 +0.379 +0.250 +0.233
2011 7 +0.372 +0.340 +0.404 +0.198

For those who want to infer great meaning from large month-to-month temperature changes, I remind them that much of this activity is due to natural variations in the rate at which the ocean loses heat to the atmosphere. Evidence for this is seen at the end of the sea surface temperature record through last month, which has a down-tick during the recent up-tick in atmospheric temperatures:

Global Sea Surface Temperature through July:
Here are the SST anomalies from AMSR-E on the NASA Aqua satellite (note the different base period, since Aqua has been flying only since 2002…click for a larger version):

28 Responses to “UAH Global Temperature Update July, 2011: +0.37 deg. C”

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  1. Dave says:

    “much of this activity is due to natural variations in the rate at which the ocean loses heat to the atmosphere. ”

    In your opinion does this explain (at least partially) the overall pattern of the satellite record? The temperature anomaly seems to be split in two about the 1998 El Nino. It looks like the temperature was shifted upward after 1998.

    It would be hard to believe that carbon dioxide levels produced what is basically a step function response in the temperature.

  2. Andrew says:

    Dave-The patterns in the satellite data can be explained by ENSO variations, volcanic eruptions, and solar cycles, but there is a residual trend, see figure 2 here:

    Not a step exactly. However, there may be a few problems with this apparent residual:

    It is dependent to some extent on the solar irradiance data used. If the ACRIM composite had been used, some of the trend might be explained by that. Furthermore, the way the data is explained essentially assumes a simple time lagged reaction of the temperature to various factors, after which the full effect of the factor occurs instantaneously. This is less than satisfactory, as the thermal inertia of the system likely causes the response to be more like a low pass filter, with the high frequency response damped relative to the long term response. The other problem is the assumption that the ENSO effect of temperatures is adequately described by a simple index. If the effect of ENSO is not a linear, brief time lag then full response effect, ENSO could actually contribute to the trend.

    So the trend is potentially explainable by a (statistical) model that does not involved a “step” increase, but this isn’t proof as to what the signals in the data actually are.

  3. Houndish says:

    other hard to calculate factors include the distribution of energy within the top meter of the lithosphere and the true
    mixing/distribution of temporary events (how temporary are they?), such as deep basin landslides, local air & water current disruptions – via typoons, huricanes, depressions, as well as volcanic, ice & snow modifications, all ocurring under a wide variety of conditions either maximizing heat transfer with their counterparts, minimizing the heat transfer or moving somewhere in between.
    Along magnetic and electromagnetic lines, the photons (in all of their spectrums)received are variable every pico-second of the day over the entire surface of the planet. As such, the effects each photon has as it travels through all that is encompassed within the magnetosphere, varies!
    We have a short history of analyzing abrubt solar events and their true influence on our climate and those of nearby planets, in geological time-scales.
    Never rule out the obvious.

  4. cementafriend says:

    The news has been full of record low temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere such as snow in Brazil, early snow in Australia, glacier advance in New Zealand & Chile, more ice in the Antarctic etc. With reduced sea temperatures it is hard to believe that the Southern Hemisphere anomalies have increased. What exactly is being measured? Has the Chile volcanic eruption (which closed air traffic in Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina) and the general increased cloud cover affected measurements?

  5. Ray says:

    There did appear to be some areas of above average temperatures in the antarctic polar regions last month, which may have bumped up the SH average.
    On the other hand, UAH does seem to be showing higher anomalies than the other major series at the moment, being about 0.1c warmer than the others, relative to the same base period.

  6. cementafriend says:

    The supposed “hot” spot in the Antarctic is not far from Chile.
    Note it is winter in the southern hemisphere. Is an increase in measurement from say -50C to -45C regarded as a “hot” spot without question? I recall Dr Roy saying that clouds can have an effect on surface temperature measurements. What if the clouds are very thick and contain volcanic ash which I believe went up to more than 15,000m? What about the electrical discharges photographed in the volcanic plume?
    I am not saying that the measurements are wrong but as an engineer I have always questioned data that shows something unusual. Also, I have been a strong advocation in reporting and testing & retesting precision. Is the error at +10C the same as the error at -50C?

  7. Ray says:

    Are the AMSR-E Global Sea Surface Temperature anomaly figures for 2002-2011 available for download?
    Also, which base period are the anomalies relative to?

  8. Ray says:

    Looking in more detail at the June UAH anomaly file, it appears that most of the rise in the SH anomaly last month was probably due to a rise in the SoPole Ocean anomaly from -0.07c to +0.34c, although as far as the overall SoPole was concerned, this was offset by a fall in the SoPole Land anomaly from -0.16c to -0.65c. There was also a rise in the SoExt Ocean anomaly from 0.32c to 0.42c.
    Unfortunately the data file hasn’t been updated yet, so this detail isn’t yet available for July.
    Anybody know what “SoExt” stands for? It’s probably obvious to everyone but me.

  9. Items that really control earth’s climate are still moving more toward a colder mode. They are still phasing in that direction. It is playing out pretty much as I expect.

    Stephen Wilde’s articulation of how the sun might control earth’s temperature’s is spot on, yet I see this being largely ignored. It figures, but time, as they say will tell.

    The oceans in general are still off setting solar effects ,this will and is changing.

    Right now we have a quiet sun with some active spurts. An active spurt is going on now, but so far the k index ,a measure of geomagnetic activity on earth, has been k3 or less, so it has not impacted earth’s geomagnectic field as of now.

    If the k index should jump to 5 or higher for say 10 hrs or longer ,that would be a red flag for a possible increase in geological activity, to follow. The k index should be watched.

    The climate models as Dr. Spencer has just shown ,are not corrrect and this study by him is just more evidence of this. Not that we did not know before hand.


    This has as much merit as the running of climate models with an increase of CO2 to see what might happen to temperatures going forward.

  10. Andrew says:

    Ray-“Anybody know what SoExt stands for? Its probably obvious to everyone but me.”

    Southern Extratropics, about everything south of 30 S latitude, I think (I am not sure what latitude denotes “tropics” in these data).

  11. Ray says:

    Andrew, thanks.
    I thought it was something like that, just couldn’t work out the actual word.
    RSS actually quote the latitude values in their files, which is a bit more useful.
    Just to clarify, when I said “last month” in my previous post, I meant June.

  12. Bohous says:

    It seems from the graph that the temperature has risen somewhat since 1979. My naked-eye estimate is 0.3 deg. Celsius. Meanwhile the CO2 concentration has risen from cca 337 ppm to cca 390. If I make a logarithm and estimate the temperature increase for doubled CO2, I get 1.4 deg. It is not too far from 1.1 deg, which is Ron’s previous estimate.

  13. Bohous -Any correlation you think you may be getting between co2 and temp. is FALSE.

    All of the temperature increase from 1979 to say 2005 was due to natural processes those being a very active sun, warm pdo, very little volcanic activity and many El Ninos.

    That has since changed and your so called correlation between co2 increase and temperature wil be ANTICORRELATED before this decade is out.

  14. Kasuha says:

    There is one thing that I am always missing in the temperature graphs and it’s the standard deviation value. The average temperature anomaly is calculated from a set of temperature anomalies for each measured location in the world which I am sure are not uniform so it would be nice to know how much diverse the data used to calculate the average anomaly value are. I don’t mean temperature values, I mean temperature anomaly values, i.e. differences between current temperature and “normal” or “average” temperature for that month at each measured place.
    I believe adding sigma-1 range might bring us useful information e.g. about how representative in the scope of the whole world the average value really is.

  15. DR SPENCER – I say instead of trying to keep proving,the global warming models wrong over and over and over again, which you have done in a fine way,let’s move on to something else.

    Let’s say it this way ,anyone with any objective view of the climate and a knowledge of past climatic changes, pretty much already knows the climate models are BS.

    That has been known for at least a decade due to blunder after blunderthe climate models keep putting out, from the models predicting a more +AO ,reality is a more -AO has been evolving , from the models predicting stratospheric cooling ,reality is stratospheric warming ,especially near the poles, from the climate models predicting the lower troposheric hot spot near the equator,the reality is their is no hotspot, from the models predicting more El Ninos and drought ,reality is we just came off a very strong La Nina with record floods in Austalia.


    This is why DR. SPENCER ,you should direct some of your time to looking at the recent past climate ,let’s take the Dalton and Maunder Minimum periods and try to ascertain what natural processes were around at that time,and then apply that to this time and create a climatic model to approximate those conditions and see what kind of temperature response that model gives to earth’s climatic system.

    Why don’t you DR. SPENCER,DEVOTE some of your time to this ,instead of constantly trying to show us the global warming models are wrong. We know they are wrong, which is obvious . So I say ,why not INSTEAD, come up with a COMPETING global climatic model based on large part, on the natural flucuations in the items that control the climate, that were present during earth’s most recent prior two cold periods, the Dalton and Maunder Minimum.










  16. gw says:

    I think its safe to say this is probably the highest value we will get now for the next 11-12 months.

    So … the interesting question over that time will be … how low can it go ?

    Any guesses ?

  17. Tilo Reber says:

    The thing that concerns me is that the last El Nino caused UAH to carve out a huge area above the trend line. The last La Nina, however, carved out a very small area under the trend line. HadCrut3, by contrast, carved out a much more balanced response to the last El Nino and La Nina – much more in keeping with the size of those events. I realize that the satellite response to ENSO events is amplified over what the ground stations show; but that doesn’t explain the lack of balance in the response. Go back a couple of years and look at the UAH responses to ENSO prior to that; they were fairly balanced and in keeping with the size of the ENSO event. Why UAH is now at .37 is inexplicable. That’s about .2C above it’s trend since 98. Same goes for June, when HadCrut3 only got up to, but not above, it’s trend since 98. I’m not sure what is going on with the satellites – but I think that something is wrong. There is no reason why UAH should be so high at this time.

  18. Buzz Belleville says:

    Mr. Reber — Some really crazy people actually suggest that it is an increase in C02 levels that has caused the temp to go up like that.

  19. Ray says:

    Buzz Belleville,

    “Some really crazy people actually suggest that it is an increase in C02 levels that has caused the temp to go up like that.”
    And why would UAH be affected disproportionately?

    By the way, the AQUA CH5 anomaly (and by inference, UAH), has been back down at June levels for the last week or so.

  20. Paul K2 says:

    I have to agree with Buzz. This is the third highest July on record, and the dip due to the moderate La Nina was both shallow and short lived. The cooling effect of La Nina events seems to be having less effects. Global warming has built up too much heat in the oceans, and soils, and decimated too much ice (losing a heat sink), to see the same kind of cooling impact from La Nina event, as we did in the past.

    The response of the planet to this latest La Nina, is another nail in the coffin of the “lukewarmers”, and a spike to the heart of the deniers.

  21. Ray says:

    Paul K2,
    The point is that UAH currently appears to be out of step with the other temperature anomaly series.
    Most of the other series are currently showing a negative trend over the last 10 years (which of course doesn’t include 1998), and the negative trend is increasing, i.e. HadCRUT3, NCDC/NOAA and RSS. In fact the negative trend over 10 years in HadCRUT3 is the lowest since 1977. NASA/GISS isn’t negative yet, but probably will be within a few months.
    The UAH 10 year trend isn’t negative and it may take another 12 months to go negative, but it is lower than it has been since 1997.

  22. Dave says:

    The La Nina was certainly felt where I live, we had multiple severe cold snaps this winter including a bout of -11 degrees F and a very dry spring and early summer. I live in the southwestern US and I believe those are exactly the kind of things you would expect from a La Nina. I am not sure where all this “built up heat” is. Winter temperatures in the US are definitely on a downward trend and this is also showing up in other places (recent winter cold trends in Europe, cold winters in the southern hemisphere). While I agree it is an interesting question as to how much if any impact CO2 has on natural trends, my view is natural trends will be stronger and I think we are already seeing indications of that.

  23. Tilo Reber says:

    Paul K2: “The cooling effect of La Nina events seems to be having less effects.”

    You seem to be basing everything on one record, which until 18 month ago was trending negative since 98. RSS is still trending negative since 98 and HadCrut3 is still dead flat since 98. So I’m glad that the UAH record is getting you excited and speculative, but it may be an error.

  24. Tilo Reber says:

    Ray: “On the other hand, UAH does seem to be showing higher anomalies than the other major series at the moment, being about 0.1c warmer than the others, relative to the same base period.”

    I agree. And it may even be .2C warmer than HadCrut3 relative to the same base period.

  25. Ray says:

    Tilo Reber,
    You may be correct.
    The difference varies considerably due to the apparent volatility of UAH.
    The average for May and June was about 0.1c but it could be as high as 0.2c at the moment.

  26. The temperature trend up, has now leveled off and has for the past 10 years. The next trend is down, as all of the items that control the climate are phasing into a colder mode. This takes time to unfold due to the oceans which are slow to give up the heat they absorbed during the prior high solar activity period, which ended in year 2005.

    Low solar activity(with spurts of activity),increase in volcanic activity, a more -AO ,a cold PDO/AMO to follow, a more +SOI index,increase in cosmic rays, will translate into more clouds,snow cover,and precip. ,which will translate to a higher albedo ,thus lower temperatures,and greater climatic extremes. Especially for the N.H, and a distibution change in temperature as well. Perhaps the distribution change in temp. being more important ,then the decline.

    The more climatic extreme part, has started as early as 2008 and will continue. The decline in temperature has been slower, but will be in full force before the decade is out.

    The past warming trend from 1850-2002 was probably one of the more modest temperature changes for that given time frame, if one reviews past history. The last 20,000 years alone will show this to be the case. Many ,many temperature swings both up and down much greater then what had happened between 1850-2002.

    The global warmers trying to make something out of the recent warming, are just full of BS, as is everything they have to say about the climate. They are a bunch of clueless clowns.

  27. Ray says:

    The UAH data file on the NSSTC website has just been updated for July, and the global figure for last month is given as 0.38c, compared to 0.372c above. Also, the figure for May, quoted above as 0.133c above, is given as 0.14c in the data file, as it was last month.
    The largest difference in figures seems to be for the tropics, which is quoted above as +0.198c, while in the data file it is 0.22c.
    So why are the figures in the official data file only to 2 decimal places and slightly different to those quoted above, even taking rounding to 2 decimal places into account?
    I am sure that these questions have been asked before, but I am not sure if they have ever been answered.