U.S. Dec/Jan Temperatures 3rd Coldest in 30 Years

February 3rd, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

NOAA image of minimum temps on Jan. 6, 2014.

NOAA image of minimum temps on Jan. 6, 2014.

Yes, Virginia, it really has been a cold winter.

The winter months of December 2013 and January 2014 averaged over the contiguous 48 United States were the 3rd coldest Dec/Jan in the last 30 years.

The analysis is based upon ~350 NOAA/NWS stations that measure temperatures every 6 hours (or more frequently), many located at airports. This is different from the official NOAA temperature product (update not yet available), which is based upon daily max/min temperatures measured at 1,000+ co-op stations. Those stations have had large adjustments made due to (among other things) changing time of observation (TOBS) over the years.

Here’s a plot of the Dec/Jan averages for the last 41 years (click for large version):
DecJan-USA48-temps-1973-2014

An interesting feature is that 5 of the last 7 years have been below the 41-year average, which has happened only one other time in the 41-year period.

The data I use are adjusted for average spurious urban heat island (UHI) warming that increases with population density around the thermometer site. That relationship is shown at the end of this article. The analysis starts in only 1973 since that is the first year with a large amount of quality-controlled 6-hourly temperature data archived at NOAA.

So, does the cold winter disprove global warming theory? No more than an unusually warm winter proves the theory. It’s just what we used to call “weather”.

UPDATE: John Christy has been running NOAA’s USHCN station data, and with a couple days still missing from the end of January, it looks like the official data will have Dec/Jan (’13/’14) as the 4th (rather than 3rd) coldest in the last 30 years.


79 Responses to “U.S. Dec/Jan Temperatures 3rd Coldest in 30 Years”

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  1. M says:

    Your adjustment methodology is laughable. Go ask a statistician what he thinks of your linear regression model.

    • I know some about statistics. Yes, there is uncertainty in the regression slope underlying the UHI adjustment…could be larger, could be smaller (1 sigma error is about 25%). But if you have something more substantive to say, say it.

      And if you stand by it, quit hiding behind the letter “M”.

      • Cupsui says:

        Very childish response Dr Spencer.

        And believe it or not the world is bigger than the USA and Canada.

        Record temps in Australia, mild winter in Europe?! Another day another way for Dr. Spencer to manipulate his data

        • Scott Basinger says:

          Actually, it’s a pretty good response from Dr. Spencer followed by a childish attempt at changing the subject by Cupsui.

          Since you have issues with reading comprehension, there’s a hint in the title of the post as to what it’s about: “U.S. Dec/Jan Temperatures 3rd Coldest in 30 Years”. It doesn’t have anything to do with Europe or Australia. As for data manipulation, NOAA are masters at data manipulation, including changing TOBS over the years.

        • Colin Fenwick says:

          Sorry Cupsui, but how is your comment related to the original post? Talk about childish.

        • crakar24 says:

          What record temps?

          Cheers

          Crakar24 from Australia

        • Streetcred says:

          Localised and caused by a blocking high feeding NW winds across the hot central desert into the south east coast. This is not uncommon in our neck of the woods, like every year since I can remember.

          • Chris says:

            1939 had hotter days around where I live, even after those records were altered.

            Unfortunately it is no longer possible to compare current temperatures to the historic record where I live as the historic record has been altered.

      • M says:

        Says the guy hiding behind “Phd”. Because you have little to no impact in the scientific community, you cling to your title like it validates everything you do, but it doesn’t.

        http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/02/u-s-decjan-temperatures-3rd-coldest-in-30-years/#comment-103400

        There’s not much more to say, unless you can give more info about your methodology. How did you come up with the 0.2 labmda? Did you perform a box cox transformation?

        • Bill Sparling says:

          Parsons, did you change your name?

        • Chris says:

          M. Lets see your analysis, and then we can decide.

          • M says:

            I have no issue with the scientifically peer reviewed analysis already done, so what would be the point?

            Also, I’m not a statistician, but I have a basic understanding of regression, which seems to be more than Dr. Phd-Man Roy Spencer, Phd.

  2. Larry G says:

    The global warming people will always come up with why the changes in the earths climate didn’t go as they proposed it would. The fact is IT WAS BASED ON A THEORY MADE UP TO EXTORT MONEY FROM EVERYONE TO FEED THE POCKET OF THE FEW. AL GORE FOR JUST ONE! I do believe we have not been good caretakers of our planet. I also think we should try to do our best to clean it up. But to try this scare tactic to tack on fees and fines or to charge more for something to support a made up cause. Give me a break!. I know the sun has more to do with climate change than all the things they are blaming for it. Science has proved it over and over again. But go ahead and believe in this global scam if you want to. That said try to take better care of our planet….it is the only one we got. Your children will thank you for it! GOD Bless!

    • Hops says:

      Svante Arrhenius figured out the greenhouse effect circa 1896.

      The notion that this is about government control is a figment of the right wing imagination. If anything, governments are lagging behind.

      • llew Jones says:

        The problem with Svantes’ formula is that it doesn’t work. Probably because amongst other things he assumed positive feedback for water vapour/CO2 (even he had worked out that CO2 can’t do it on its own) and omitted other vital things like cloud effects. Give him his due though contemporary alarmist scientists are still stuck with about the same inadequate theory that Arrhenius started thinking about in 1896.

        Heard Lindzen recently tell a Brit panel that climate science doesn’t attract the brightest students. It seems the same can be said for the disciples of the alarmist global warming sect.

      • Threepwood says:

        That’s right, politicians have nothing but our best interests at heart, they are well known for their superior moral values and scientific understanding. I’m sure they cry themselves to sleep over baby polar bears every night, – the massive transfer of wealth and power offered by global warming is of no interest to them. What a wild conspiracy!

    • Cupsui says:

      “I know the sun has more to do with climate change than all the things they are blaming for it.”

      yeah absolutely, its the reason for all the energy on earth except that which comes from within. It is the very principle component of climate change. Sun high energy radiation comes in (on that wavelength it does not interact with GHGs) heats up the Earth. The earth being cooler re-radiates lower energy radiation at a wavelength that interacts with GHGs that trap the heat. Without those gases the world would be on average 18 degrees C colder. If we put in more we trap more heat.

      The solar cycle is accounted for in the climate models
      http://climate.nasa.gov/nasa_role/science

      And for the record I hate fees and fines as much an anybody (maybe more) but I also hate corporate greed and exploitation of the planet and its people. That’s the bottom line for mining and petroleum companies. Make money and leave the problems for others and future generations to deal with.

      • Aaron S says:

        The models do a very poor job of estimating the solar influence on Earth’s climate because (based on peer reviewed scientific literature), the sun can influence Earth’s climate both directly (as mentioned in the link) due to changes in radiative output, and indirectly, via the effects of the solar wind on Earths magnetosphere (Dobrica et al). The mechanisms proposed to explain how the Sun’s activities affect Earth’s climate are reviewed by (Rigozo et al, 2008) and include: 1) the variability of the total solar irradiance; 2) the variability of the uv emmisions and its effects on strat ozone and thermal structure; 3) the effects of coxmic rays on clouds; and 4) the effect of high-energy particle precipitation on mesopheric and strat oxone and thermal structure.

        The next failure in the way IPCC models deal with the sun is not linking feedbacks to the sun like they do for CO2! Thus, the models for the sun are: A) incomplete and B) analogous to if you decouple the water vapor as a feedback for CO2.

      • Chic Bowdrie says:

        If and after you answer Aaron S’s rebuttal on the influence of solar insolation, why not back up the following assertion of yours?

        “Without those gases the world would be on average 18 degrees C colder. If we put in more we trap more heat.”

        Without the possibility of measuring your 18 degrees with no IR absorbing gases, you are arguing an infinitely hypothetical position. Why not just deal with reality? How does CO2 et alia trap heat? Has anyone measured how much extra heat will remain after the sun sets on a day at 400 ppm CO2 compared to a day at 300 ppm, let alone zero ppm? Is there any conclusive experimental evidence that any further increase in CO2 will cause any further rise in global temperatures?

  3. An Inquirer says:

    As a Ph.D. statistician, I am not bothered by Spencer’s linear regression model. Is it perfect? NO. Is it the last word? NO. However, it is more plausible and statistically sound than the adjustments I see in GISS. The surface temperature record appears to be hopelessly entangled in unstable measurement control, observation changes, siting issues, UHI, questionable and convenient adjustment processes, and agenda bias. There is so much uncertainty about what the adjustment should be that anybody who wants to object about the outcome can certainly find legitimate reasons to question any adjustment process that I have seen to date. But make no doubt about it, the most suspicious adjustments are done by the “keepers of the official record.”

    • Scott Scarborough says:

      I give up! I don’t see a linear regression in the plot above. I see seasonal averages of temperature and an average line for the range of 1973 until now. Roy, You could have plotted a linear regression but you didn’t. Where does this linear regression model talk come from? Are we talking about your correction for UHI?

    • Hops says:

      Sounds like Muller’s opinion before he did a meticulous analysis of the data and found out the IPCC is basically about right.

    • M says:

      I would be very cautious using a model with an R-squared of 0.06. I know that isn’t the most important factor, but it sure is a red flag.

      It’d be nice to have his complete data and methodology available. Correlations, QQ plots, is the data normally distributed. There’s a lot left out. If I weren’t a statistician I would want my statistical models reviewed by people in the field.

      • Sven says:

        “If I weren’t a statistician I would want my statistical models reviewed by people in the field”
        M for Mann?

      • Steven Mosher says:

        M.

        The problems with the regression are numerous.

        1. it’s non physical. (its functional form)
        2. the population figures are not the best ( they disagree with us census tract data )and not recommended by the data providers for purposes such as this.
        3. The population changes over time in reality but not in his regression. That’s fixable in the US.
        4. Impervious area is a much better regressor
        5. The regression figures you get using population in the
        US differ from the figures you get in other areas.
        6. The implied UHI for small population areas is contradicted by other studies.

        That’s not to say that one couldnt introduce regressors for
        factors that contribute to UHI, but a proper treatment requires much much more work.

    • Sven says:

      STOP GAMBLING WITH YOUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS FUTURES!
      Exactly, Cupsui, I want my children and grandchildren to be also able to buy pencils

  4. Murray Allan says:

    As long as your data continues to be consistent in the manner that it is produced, then it will show meaningful relative data. I trust your data.
    Other sources that have smoothed and/or revisited ( molested ) their data have lost their credibility.

  5. Alanf says:

    The regression is in an earlier blog to which Roy has created a link in the text referring to it

  6. David South says:

    Why does the “Climate at a Glance” web page give such a dramatically different result? They have only 18 years (out of 118) with a warmer Dec-Jan!

  7. Bruiser says:

    @Cupsui
    The record temperatures in Australia in 2013 coincide with record levels of solar radiation (in excess of 2Mj/M^2/day in many cases). This hardly makes the case for AGW.

    • Cupsui says:

      oh so when its cold it counts against global warming and when its hot it is nothing to do with climate change.

      silly me…I have learned a thing for the endless propaganda bleatings of the mining and petro industries.

      Again solar variation and the solar cycle is accounted for in the models!

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        @Capsui

        What is incredible for me about the people like you and Hops, is how could you be honest accusing the people on the other side to do exactly the things you or the people on your own side always did and still do.

        “the mining and petro industries.”

        If you don’t have any other smarter things to say here, I suggest you that it’s much better you stop write silly banality and read and learn instead.

        I hope that both you are not scientist.

        Have a nice day.

        Massimo

        • Hops says:

          I’m not entirely on any “side”. I do think some people, including the infamous Mr. Gore, overstate the immediacy of the problem.

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            “I’m not entirely on any “side”. ”

            Really?
            Uhmmm… There should be an another omonimous poster who wrote here
            🙂

          • Threepwood says:

            You’re on the side that thinks the ‘solutions’ are great ideas regardless of the problem- That’s what this has always been about

      • herbivore says:

        one: how much warming has occured in the last 50 years?
        two: would you bet your life on your models and would you bet your retirement account on it?
        three: do you seriously think you can budget curbing the rate of CO2 production enough to make a difference that justifies the cost?
        four: the storyline modification from global warming to cimate change is a crafty attempt to obviate any retraction of the original global warming alarm.
        five: tu quo qui is a sign of a weak argumentive position from the AGW people who point the finger and say propaganda! it is the AGW agenda that has highjacked media, including the “unbiased” npr on PBS. it is the AGW agenda that practices the shameful tactics of which they accuse the “non-believing” AGW infidels. Their parlance is chicanery and they deal with the naivete of the masses who are destitute of scientific acumen.
        six: if the big oil people are colluding to obstruct the advancement of actionable climate studies and analysis, then why do the Koch brothers sponsor so many AGW programs on npr, NOVA, and PBS?

        • Hops says:

          1. The function is not linear; CO2 emissions have been rising at an accelerating rate with the industrialization of emerging markets, and it takes decades for temperature to reach a new equilibrium for a given level of CO2. Look forward, not backward.
          2. What I would not do is bet my children’s future against warming. But I have put a chunk of retirement money into a solar power ETF that doubled last year. (Meanwhile, Exxon stock is stuck because they are having to spend huge amounts of money for new reserves.)
          3. Yes, if we tax carbon instead of income, energy efficiency and renewables will make a big difference.
          4. There’s no need to retract anything. As soon as we have a moderate El Nino the whole argument about a pause will evaporate like warm water.
          5. The only people who prey upon the scientific naiteve of the masses are those who cherry pick 1998, which any real scientist would see as an outlier.
          6. Actually, the big oil people are coming to accept global warming, but the effects of earlier propaganda linger. I don’t know what goes on inside Koch industries, but Shell has an internal price of carbon, and Exxon publicly accepts the idea of a carbon tax.

          • Lewis Guignard says:

            Hops Says: I’m not entirely on any “side”. I do think some people, including the infamous Mr. Gore, overstate the immediacy of the problem.

            Then he says …. Looks like a “side” to me.

          • Sven says:

            OK, Hops. Leave out the El Nino/La Nina years and start with 2001. Ans the result is…?

          • Sven says:

            And even so, without leaving out the strong El Nino/La Nina years, I think 1998 is quite a legit starting point. Why is it always pointed out that it’s not legitimate starting point because it was an outlier El Nino year? So what? The two years that followed were strong La Nina years that out balanced the 1998 El Nino. The average temperature of 1998-2000 is still colder than 1997 (using HadCrut4 0,375 and 0,392 respectively).

          • Cupsui says:

            @Sven

            you can’t just pick the hottest year on record as your zero point and ignore anything before it and use it as a benchmark for what comes after?! are you blind? can you not see how that is an easy way to show that the last 15year (using 1998 as the starting point) there has been no warming. Yet we see 9 of the 10 hottest years there have ever been are in that 13 year period!?

            This is the exact data mining that genuine scientists are concerned about on this issue.

            @hops well put on the 6 points listed above. STOP GAMBLING WITH YOUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS FUTURES!

          • Cupsui says:

            @sven

            leave out el nino years 1998, 2003 and 2010 and la nina of 2008, 2011 and 2012
            1979 -0.170
            1980 -0.008
            1981 -0.045
            1982 -0.250
            1983 -0.061 out
            1984 -0.353
            1985 -0.309 out
            1986 -0.244
            1987 +0.013 out
            1988 +0.012
            1989 -0.207 out
            1990 -0.022
            1991 +0.020
            1992 -0.289 out
            1993 -0.245
            1994 -0.108
            1995 +0.013 out
            1996 -0.076 out
            1997 -0.049
            1998 +0.419 out
            1999 -0.056
            2000 -0.061
            2001 +0.107
            2002 +0.218
            2003 +0.187 out
            2004 +0.108
            2005 +0.260
            2006 +0.186
            2007 +0.204
            2008 -0.009 out
            2009 +0.209
            2010 +0.398 out
            2011 +0.130 out
            2012 +0.170 out
            2013 +0.236

            even manipulating the data (as seems to be the norm here) there is a pretty plain to see trend isn’t there?!

          • David Johnson says:

            I like you, you are funny.

          • Sven says:

            Ok Cupsui. Take a pencil (can be any color) and a piece of paper. Put the pencil to the lower left corner of the paper. Start moving the pencil (do not lift the pencil!) towards the right upper corner of the paper. You see the nice line it draws? You don’t? I told you do not lift the pencil, keep it nice and steady on the paper. About half way up make a pause and reflect about what you see. You see a nice line going up and up and up. So far so good. Now continue with the line, but do not go up any more but draw the line horizontally (horizontally meand parallel to the upper and lower edges of the paper). Go on until the right edge of the paper. No look at what you have achieved. You have a line that goes up and up and up and then suddenly it does not go up any more. All the points on the horizontal part of the line are higher than any point on the rising part of the line, but none of the points on the horizontal part of the line is higher than any other point on this part of the line. Wow!!! Now think about it. Think some more. What does it tell us? Don’t peek!

          • Sven says:

            “even manipulating the data”

            Cupsui seems to be a master for manipulating ENSO

            http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/ENSO/currentinfo/figure2.html

          • Cupsui says:

            @sven…

            wow now that is science!! I am humbled! Sven’s pencil line on paper science. Einstein would be flawed. Kepler stunned. Galileo…well he would believe it he was ever the observationalist 😉

            and on your second point. Are we talking see surface temperature or atmospheric temperatures?

            I was doing what YOU said Sven. Removing El Nino and La nina years from the good Doctors UAH data. Remember you said to do that. Now what is the trend you see on that remaining data Sven?

            @David Johnson…thanks I flattered. But seriously all you can do is laugh to not let the ridiculousness of how many ways people can come up with to slander this science without using science themselves

          • JohnKl says:

            Hello Hops,

            It seems you focused long enough to attempt something that appears to be a justification for CAGW action. Unfortunately, as illustrated many times it falls short. Let’s take each point you made.

            1. “…CO2 emissions have been rising at an accelerating rate with the industrialization of emerging markets, and it takes decades for temperature to reach a new equilibrium for a given level of CO2.”
            Hmmh! CO2 emissions and global atmospheric CO2 levels have increased since the 19TH CENTURY!! When exactly do you expect them to reach equilibrium?! To be accurate, TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENTS RECORD READINGS ALREADY SUBJECT TO WHATEVER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING ATMOSPHERIC GAS BALANCE, PRESENT AT THE TIME GENERATED!! You and others simply express panic that a little more gas will throw everything out of balance. It reminds me of the fat guy in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” movie. One more mint?!

            2. “What I would not do is bet my children’s future against warming. But I have put a chunk of retirement money into a solar power ETF that doubled last year..”
            Why would you bet the family wealth on weather and/or climate prediction to begin with?! You could get better odds in Vegas. Nevertheless, your investment confession seems to expose your real purpose behind support of climate legislation. Solar ETT’s have performed modestly with some gain in 2013, but government subsidies might boost those returns even further!

            3. “Yes, if we tax carbon instead of income, energy efficiency and renewables will make a big difference…”
            A big difference to whom and for what purpose?! Since many alternative energy technologies (i.e. – Solar hybrid cars (Ford Motor Company announced a concept car), solar cells, wind-mills, etc.) are composed to some extent of hydrocarbons (i.e.-plastics) and require fuel to transport over long distances to reach consumers your carbon tax will definitely increase the cost of “alternative energy” but maybe those Solar ETF’s can get a subsidy and it will all be worthwhile.

            Got to rush! I’ll finish later.

            Have a great day!

  8. Bruiser says:

    There in lies the problem, the models’ projections have diverged from the impirical data. The record temperatures have much more to do with a neutral ENSO, IOD and a strongly positive SAM. Either way it is just cyclical variation. 2Mj/M^2/day is an enormous amount of extra energy if you accept the calculation that just 0.4 W/M^2 is sufficient to cause the 290Km^3 annual Arctic ice loss.

  9. Craig Hearn says:

    While not even remotely in the scientific league of most commenters, I’d like to add my $.0125.
    First I must say that it never ceases to amaze me how many “Warmers” choose to avoid or even deny the history of their movement.
    The 20th century from easily the 40’s on is full of dire predictions from the same group as is making them now. Not one Cooler/Warmer prediction since the first one has come true. In 1979 the cover of TIME read “The Coming Ice Age!” After Katrina the hurricanes were to be more numerous and more deadly. Didn’t happen. After the ’12 tornados the tornados were to be morefrequent and deadly.Didn’t happen.
    Then we have the personalities headlining the MMGW movement. Potus Barack Obama. The most prolific pathological liar ever in American politics and certainly in the Big Chair.
    AL Gore. Former VPOTUS. One of the most delusional liars to ever hold the office of VPOTUS. Though Biden is rushing to the top.
    Gore writes a book and makes a movie that the British Parliament deems as having at least eleven serious factual errors.
    Gore owns 5(+/-) homes, at least two of which are on coastlines, a private jet and sold his failing cable channel to an oil funded network.
    Besides the indisputable facts of earths climate history relegating our current circumstances to within nearly ” been there, done that” why in God’s name would anyone believe and follow a movement that has paraded their ignorance and subservience to a political ideology and has as it’s spokespeople two of history’s most infamous liars and hypocrites!??

  10. David South says:

    Please ignore what I incorrectly said before…. I should have said something like…. the “Climate at a Glance” web page gives 8 years (since 1984) with a Dec-Jan avg temperature below 36.1 F. It will be interesting to see what temperature/ranking they give for Dec-Jan 2013-14.

  11. JohnKl says:

    Hello Dr. Roy Spencer,

    Thank you for the post. You mentioned that “adjustments” had been made to the data. Do you have the raw un-adjusted data? Or a link to access it? Please let me know I’d like to see it. Thanks.

    Have a great day!

  12. ree says:

    The following article was posted today, Feb 3, on phys.org

    Nature can selectively buffer human-caused global warming

    I’m just an average guy who is trying to separate the wheat from the chaff on this issue. It seems to me that the only disagreement the “experts” have is on the magnitude of the effect of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The models seem to overstate the impact by several degrees, at least over the past couple of decades. From what I read it seems to me that Dr Spencer is simply trying to suggest feedback factors that are not properly accounted for in the models. I believe that is what the above article addresses.

    I find it hard to understand why people result to using words such as “childish”, “manipulating”, “right wing imagination, when anyone disagrees with them.

    Can anyone answer these question for me?

    Do the models predict thermal runaway for the planet, or do they predict homeostasis at a much higher temperature?

    Historically the planet has experienced much higher global temperature. If the models predict thermal runaway what kept the planet from experiencing such a situation in the past?

    What caused the large variations before man’s greenhouse gas contributions became significant?

  13. Threepwood says:

    Yes, when people name-call, it betrays that their belief is based on emotion not science, that they can never change their minds no matter what the evidence, because that would make them all those things they called others.

  14. Hot Potato says:

    Hops said: Meanwhile, Exxon stock is stuck because they are having to spend huge amounts of money for new reserves.

    What does Exxon stock have to do with AGW THEORY (yes, it’s capitalized because it is still very much JUST a THEORY and a tenuous one at that)? Hops is trying to conflate Peak Oil with AGW THEORY. It reveals he’s a Collapsnik. Collapsniks like to fold any potential catastrophe (they make another one up once a week or more) into one big beef with the United States. Yes, the United States. It has nothing to do with China, or Russia or India or Africa….it’s White men in the United States who are to blame for everything bad that has ever happened and everything bad that will ever happen until White men are rendered brute and mute like the humans in Planet of the Apes. Tell me, who would want to disseminate and propagate such a racist notion? Who would want to blame all the ills of the world on one nation and one group of people, based on skin color, within that nation? I’ll tell you who. Agents of those countries who never are to blame for anything per the Collapsnik handbook. Collapsniks purposely seek to demoralize. Putin smiles. Xi Jinping does too and they both clap and applaud.

    Okay, enough of that digression. Exxon’s stock is irrelevant to this discussion, but since you brought it up, first, Exxon is but one company within the oil industry, so it’s not necessarily representative of the oil industry at large. Second, although Exxon’s production has lagged and its profits are down from 2010 highs, it still made over $30 billion in profit in 2013. In my estimation, $30 billion’s a lot of moolah. If you drill (pun intended) further into Exxon’s decline in profits from falling production, you’ll see they misjudged the production value of the XTO acquisition which means they overpaid. That means less revenue and more cost based on a serious miscalculation on their part. Too bad there aren’t any claw backs from the XTO shareholders and insiders who were made flush by the deal. They made out like bandits. I have a friend who works as an engineering manager for XTO. I imagine he’s under a great deal of pressure right now because some heads are going to roll after being released from a vindictive vice grip for this. Sounds like Exxon was sold a bill of XTO goods and the bag was more than half empty. Buyer beware.

  15. Hot Potato says:

    Hops said: Yes, if we tax carbon instead of income, energy efficiency and renewables will make a big difference.

    So, on top of forcing people to purchase ridiculously priced products like $20 light bulbs, you want to further place an onerous tax on that already overpriced energy item? Are you Al Gore’s portfolio manager? Are you a sadist? Do you realize what this will do to people on the margins? It’s clear to me so-called “environmentalists” are not “environmentalists” at all, they’re quite the opposite. People pushed to the margins who need energy and are priced out of the market for it, will resort to burning everything they can get their hands on for warmth and cooking. If the “environmentalists” have their way, the United States will quickly devolve into Haiti with people baking mud cakes and pies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and chopping down every last tree until the place is rendered a denuded, desert wasteland; A Land of Mudcakes and Ten Thousand Nukes. What a great combination. Maybe if we add some hops to our fermenting mud slurry, we can brew some mud beer with what little fresh water hasn’t run off into the sea with no trees to stall and sequester its journey.

  16. Hops says:

    Talk about being an alarmist! A modest fee on carbon, rebated per capita, isn’t going to hurt. In fact, since the poor consume less energy, they probably make out on the deal.

    Personally, I’ve make investments in energy efficiency, and the return on investment has been great.

  17. Hot Potato says:

    Roy said: it looks like the official data will have Dec/Jan (’13/’14) as the 4th (rather than 3rd) coldest in the last 30 years.

    What? 4th now instead of 3rd? This is unacceptable, I tell you!! It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a sham of a travesty. I motion for a mistrial. This miscalculation just might be enough to convince me to believe in AGW again!

  18. Hot Potato says:

    Sven said: Ok Cupsui. Take a pencil (can be any color) and a piece of paper. Put the pencil to the lower left corner of the paper. Start moving the pencil (do not lift the pencil!) towards the right upper corner of the paper. You see the nice line it draws?

    I know you meant for Capsule to do this, but I did too and I got a picture of a boy crying and a wolf….or maybe it was a hockey stick, I can’t be sure…it’s open for interpretation but either way, it spells carbon tax and boondoggle. My name is Simon, and I love to do drawings. I did what you asked again for a second time and got a picture of Al Gore in a Speedo and now I’m sick and need some Dramamine. No more drawings. Maybe I’ll sculpt instead.

  19. Tim says:

    Roy. Europe has had a mild winter after many cold ones. Have you any explanations why the gulf stream is so high at the moment here? I was expecting colder winters to continue now that the sun was going into a cooling face. Kind regards Tim

    • From year to year the longitudinal positions of the latitudinal ups and downs of the jet stream tracks varies around the globe due to a number of factors.

      This year there has been a deep plunge over the USA and parts of Asia with the upswing over western Europe.

      I don’t think it is the gulf stream that has changed but rather the angle from which the jet stream approaches Europe.

      That angle is more from the south west this year due to the deep southward plunge of cold over the USA.

  20. GMoney says:

    Why do we continue to use things like “hottest on record” when “on record” includes about 150 years.

    The earth is 4.5 billion years old, and I’m told that the “hottest on record” temps are global warming. Yet anyone would say that a single day in a 2-3 year span means nothing, yet 150 years in 4.5 billion means even less yet is utilized constantly.

  21. DougH says:

    Chic is right about the 300ppm vs. the 400ppm question. Almost nobody seems to know the answer to that question so here it is. Less than .06 C. CO2’s radiative forcing effect has long been saturated. It also changes with the log of the concentration so the effect of 400ppm vs. 500ppm would be even less. The warming was caused by another factor nobody has mentioned. Nothing to do with the sun or the oceans.
    Sven is also right about his pencil graph. No warming since at least 2002 and some say since 1998. Depends on which data set you use. That’s a flat line for between 13 to 17 years and a tad down since 2002. It will keep going down. GISS, UHA, Hadcrut4 or RSS. After Climategate and the “hide” thing, I trust Hadcrut4 more than before but I trust Roy the most. GISS with James Hanson at the helm, until just recently, is the most suspect. Hanson was arrested 4 times in anti CO2 protests and even though he’s gone, talk about a conflict of interest!
    JohnKl: Glad you made some money in the market with a solar play but, since it makes no economic sense in a connected society, it could go to zero pretty fast if government support were to suddenly evaporate. Keep an eye on developments.
    Also, if the US is cold you can bet someplace else is hot. That is called weather. All that matters is the Global trend. Still since the US is about to do some dumb things that will hurt our economy and the average American is not an expert in this area any kind of true post that can dissuade Americans from committing economic suicide is a good post. Get them to stop and think. China emits more CO2 yearly than North and South America and Africa Combined. Anything we do here, like tax CO2, is foolish and the good news is CO2 has no effect on the global temperature anymore anyway!

  22. chuck says:

    Mr. Spencer.
    ..
    The people from the great state of Alaska feel left out of your analysis.
    ..
    Please include us in your future work.

  23. Visiting Physicist says:

    If you would like to know exactly why there has been no warming since 1998 and how and why it is gravity trapping thermal energy throughout the universe I will give you a brief summary of what is in my new book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” available soon on Amazon.

    The original Clausius (hot to cold) statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to radiative heat transfers and also to non-radiative heat transfers in a horizontal plane where there is no change in gravitational potential energy. Physicists have realised that the Clausius statement is limited and the more general form of the law pertains to entropy. The law actually describes an evolving process whereby entropy will increase until it reaches a maximum determined by the constraints of the isolated system being considered. That state is thermodynamic equilibrium which is not necessarily an isothermal state. Rather it is a state of homogeneous total energy wherein there are thus no unbalanced energy potentials. In the absence of chemical reactions and any phase change, we need only consider the (gravitational) potential energy (PE) and the kinetic energy (KE) the mean of the latter enabling a temperature measurement. So at thermodynamic equilibrium (the state which the Second Law says will evolve spontaneously) there will be homogeneous (PE+KE) and this implies a temperature gradient equal to -g/Cp where g is the acceleration due to gravity and Cp the weighted mean specific heat. This temperature gradient (aka “lapse rate”) would be observed in a pure non-radiating gas, but inter-molecular radiation between so called greenhouse gas molecules has a temperature levelling effect (opposing the gravity gradient) and so the wet gradient is less steep, as is well known.

    By the way, the attempts to disprove the above-mentioned Loschmidt gravity gradient are all flawed because they overlook the fact that the temperature gradient occurs in solids, liquids and gases, so a wire also has a gradient and no perpetual energy circulation happens.

    Now all the above implies that an autonomous temperature gradient will be maintained in a planet’s atmosphere. But how, on Uranus for example, does the solar energy which is nearly all absorbed by the methane layer near its TOA move down into warmer regions? This “heat creep” process, as I call it in the book, is a direct corollary of the Second Law process whereby thermodynamic equilibrium evolves. When newly absorbed energy disturbs that equilibrium, that new energy will spread out in all accessible directions (like new rainwater in the middle of a lake) because that is how thermodynamic equilibrium will be restored. This process explains the temperature gradients observed in all planetary atmospheres, crusts and deeper sub-surface regions. That, in fact, is what keeps Earth’s core hot, and that of our Moon.

    The temperature plot in the atmosphere thus has a pre-determined gradient, whilst its overall level is set by the need for radiative balance. Where the plot intersects Earth’s surface determines the “supporting” temperature which, as is observed, slows surface cooling in the early pre-dawn hours. This means all climate change is caused, not by back radiation, but by natural variations in the overall level of the temperature plot. Local variations, such as those due to variable water vapour levels, are shown in a study in the Appendix to lead to cooler mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures in the more moist regions. Water vapour and all GH gases cause cooler surface temperatures because the temperature plot rotates in order to maintain radiative balance. However the total cooling effect of carbon dioxide is less than a tenth of a degree.

    Climate follows natural cycles, probably regulated in some way by planetary orbits. The most obvious cycles are a long-term (roughly 1,000 year) cycle which has been increasing by about half a degree per century over the last 300 years or so, and an overlapping 60 to 65 year cycle which had a maximum in the 1998-2003 period. At present the short-term cycle is dominating slightly, causing a small net cooling that will continue until about the year 2030. But the good news is that the long-term cycle will only increase by about half a degree for one more century before 500 years of long-term cooling sets in.

    • I don’t see that one can apply the gravitationally induced temperature gradient as seen in the atmospheric lapse rate to solids.

      That lapse rate is a feature of convective situations where density differentials in the horizontal plane allow less dense gases to rise above more dense gases in the vertical plane when heated from a solid surface below the body of the gas within the gravitational field.

      I can’t see how one can stretch the principle to an immobile solid or even to liquids where the liquid is dense enough to scatter the incoming energy within the body of the liquid so that no heated surface forms beneath it.

      With regard to the concept of convection swapping PE and KE around as necessary to maintain equilibrium then I concur but that is limited to gases above heated solid surfaces and is governed by the gas laws.

      That concept is one which I have been putting forward for some time already.

      • Visiting Physicist says:

        My book explains otherwise. Molecules still move and collide in solids. If they didn’t you would have no conduction. The temperature gradient requires no surface absorbing solar energy and no upward convection. Climatologists are very restricted in their view of things, and so they have explanation for the temperature gradient on Uranus, for example.

        When you, Stephen Wilde, are the first to answer the questions I have asked here (and on several other blogs including WUWT) about Venus and Uranus, then my impression of your understanding of thermodynamics will be greatly elevated.

        For the present you just don’t understand because you haven’t read the comprehensive (20-page) explanation. There are, however, comments in the Monckton “17 years 5 months of cooling” thread on WUWT (and some in a linked thread there) which may help your understanding.

        The gas laws are derived from Kinetic Theory which was also used successfully by Einstein and others. The temperature gradient (-g/Cp) can be derived in two lines direct from Kinetic Theory in a far more tidy and understandable proof not requiring the gas laws, and the same proof can be applied to solids and liquids. The temperature gradient is obvious in Earth’s outer crust, for example, and it explains the hot core of the Moon.

      • Visiting Physicist says:

        Correction: Climatologists are very restricted in their view of things, and so they have no explanation for the temperature gradient on Uranus, for example.

        • I don’t have a problem with pressure and conduction causing higher temperatures at the centre of a solid mass held within a gravitational field provided one also has an energy source within the solid.

          In practice, the energy source for the interior of large volumes of mass is radiative decay and friction caused when solids acquire liquid characteristics under pressure so that some limited convection can occur.

          It is true that a thermal gradient will develop within the solid in such circumstances with the highest temperature matching greatest density.

          That would then produce a lapse rate within the solid but it would not form part of a continuation of the atmospheric lapse rate.

          I see the effects of pressure and conduction within large enough solids as a separate physical process as compared to an external source of radiative energy heating a solid surface beneath a gaseous atmosphere which is much more free to circulate convectively.

          As for the surface temperature of Uranus that could well be the consequence of pressure and density of gases at the surface retaining energy that has been conducted to it from heat generated within the solid body of the planet by radiative decay and convection within that solid mass of the planet as with Earth’s mantle which is a solid with some liquid characteristics due to pressure.

          • Visiting Physicist says:

            You are entitled to disagree with the brilliant 19th century physicist, Loschmidt if you so choose, but you can’t prove him wrong, whereas I have proved him correct.

            I’m not talking about convection or pressure or solid surfaces absorbing solar radiation. Please explain why the base of the Uranus troposphere (altitude -300Km) is 320K according to Wikipedia (Uranus / Troposphere) as there is no surface there, no incident solar radiation, no internal energy generation and no reason for any net upward convection.

          • Visiting Physicist says:

            ” Uranus’s heat flux is only 0.042 ± 0.047 W/m2″
            Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus

            Furthermore, there is very close to perfect energy balance at TOA according to measurements from Voyager 2, so any internally generated thermal energy, which you seem to think is responsible for maintaining the 5,000K temperature in the small solid core (thousands of Km below the troposphere) would be far less than 0.042W/m^2. That’s a tall ask for so little energy. And it’s got to keep all that atmosphere hot too, or so you seem to think.

          • Visiting Physicist says:

            Now consider Venus. Its surface cools by about 5 degrees during its 4-month-long night. So its internal energy is not succeeding in keeping its surface at around 730K. But for the Sun’s energy, it could easily have cooled right down in a few centuries. So too could Uranus. But the Sun’s energy raises the temperature of the Venus surface by 5 degrees spread over the course of the next 4-month-long Venus day. But it cannot do that by direct radiation which is less than 20W/m^2.

            For the back radiation enthusiasts, such back radiation coming from that initial new solar energy would also be less than 20W/m^2. But you would need over 16,000W/m^2 of direct radiation to actually raise the temperature. That’s about five times the Solar energy that even reaches TOA, so obviously the energy cannot be amplified within the Venus atmosphere.

            The required energy does not come from radiation at all. Nor does pressure create energy and we have no reason to believe the pressure changes much at the surface anyway. For any increase there would be a cancelling decrease, and thus no net change in temperature due to pressure changes.

            So explain Venus temperatures while you are about it.

  24. max moose says:

    Some very diverse arguments above, from different perspectives, but I see Dr. Roy plays the usual game of the man-made-global-warming-greenhouse-gasses fanatics. When it’s cold — that’s weather. When it’s hot — that’s part of the pattern of global warming. And when they are really off their meds, severely cold weather is proof of global warming. So I will just fondly remember sitting on my family’s terrace in shorts and t-shirt, on Christmas day, 1965, in Brooklyn. Somewhere, there was a radio playing WMCA (now long gone), and the “Good Guys” announcing that the temperature was 66 degrees. Ahhh, the good old pre-global-warming days.

  25. Joe says:

    Dr. Roy,

    This is contradicted by your own satellite data, which show December 2013 and January 2014 to be the third coldest out of the last five winters! Also known as, the third warmest out of the last five winters! December 2009 to January 2010 and December 2010 to January 2011 were both colder such periods for US48.

    Counting Alaska, the two-month period was actually warmer than normal for the United States (US49). December 2013 checked in at +0.10C and January 2014 checked in at +0.35C. This makes your headline even more misleading (although you do limit it to the 48 contiguous states in the text).